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Smartest Dumbest States: US Top 50 Ranked

With tuition increasing and the gap between public and private education widening, new families are starting to become more strategic about where they locate to ensure their child receives the best education possible. But does each state really differ that much educationally? There are many aspects to measuring a school, city or state’s educational merit, which makes this a complex question to answer. In addition, there are many factors – such as a state’s economic environment – that feed into how a state performs educationally. The educational aspect we’re going to look at is college education.

Looking at IQ scores from the 2015 SATs, and the percentage of college graduates in each state (an accumulation of data collected by the Washington Post).

Here’s the following 50 states, ranked by intelligence:

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Minnesota
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Connecticut
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Kansas
  7. Vermont
  8. Iowa
  9. New Jersey
  10. Colorado
  11. South Dakota
  12. Nebraska
  13. Virginia
  14. North Dakota
  15. Illinois
  16. Missouri
  17. New York
  18. Ohio
  19. Maine
  20. Maryland
  21. Michigan
  22. Montana
  23. Washington
  24. Utah
  25. Wyoming
  26. Pennsylvania
  27. Rhode Island
  28. Oregon
  29. Delaware
  30. Oklahoma
  31. Kentucky
  32. Indiana
  33. Tennessee
  34. California
  35. Idaho
  36. Arkansas
  37. Alaska
  38. Georgia
  39. Texas
  40. New Mexico
  41. Arizona
  42. North Carolina
  43. Louisiana
  44. West Virginia
  45. South Carolina
  46. Florida
  47. Alabama
  48. Mississippi
  49. Nevada
  50. Hawaii

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what leads to some states ending up with the highest amount of adults with bachelor’s degrees versus not, but one important aspect is educational funding. College enrollment across the United States increases every year, along with tuition. Wealthier states are more likely to have their residents attend college than those who live in less wealthier states and higher college attainment rates are associated with higher income levels because high-paying jobs usually require high levels of education. However, levels of educational funding prove that more educated states spend more on public education than residents who live in less wealthier states. This creates a cycle where sustainable economic environments are both a consequence and precursor to a good education.


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