This Is the Smartest State in America, According to Data

From IQ scores to college degrees, data deems this the most intelligent state in the country.

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A person's intelligence can be displayed in a number of ways—after all, we've all heard of the difference between street smarts and book smarts. Generally speaking, however, it's relatively common in the United States to associate intelligence with test scores and education credentials. So at Best Life, we looked at metrics on these subjects to determine the smartest state in America.

We started with 2021 data from World Population Review of the average IQ score in each state—for reference, the highest score possible, in theory, is 200, but a score of 140 or higher is considered genius-level intelligence. Then we consulted test-taking preparation sites Prep Scholar and On to College for each state's most recent average SAT and ACT scores, which have max scores of 1600 and 36, respectively. Finally, we used U.S. Census Bureau data, via the National Science Foundation, on the percentage of adults between 25 and 44 years of age in each state who have a bachelor's degree. We then gave each metric a weighted value before running them through our exclusive algorithm to see how each state scored on our Intelligence Index, where 100 is the most intelligent and 0 is the least.

Of course, it is important to acknowledge the sad truth that countless communities across the U.S. just don't have the same opportunities and access to a quality education that others do. This ranking is strictly based on the metrics explained above and does not account for socioeconomic disparity. Keeping that in mind, read on to discover the smartest state in America and to see where yours ranks in comparison. And to learn more about the places where you need to keep your wits about you, This Is the Most Dangerous City in America.

50
West Virginia

huntington west virginia
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 98.7

Average SAT score: 936

Average ACT score: 20.8

Percentage of college graduates: 24.6 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 0.01

49
Oklahoma

Oklahoma Sooners fans
Gau Meo / Shutterstock.com

Average IQ score: 99.3

Average SAT score: 971

Average ACT score: 18.9

Percentage of college graduates: 27.2 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 0.96

48
New Mexico

cityscape photo of buildings and trees in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 95.7

Average SAT score: 1055

Average ACT score: 19.3

Percentage of college graduates: 25.3 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 2.25

47
Nevada

cityscape photos of building, casinos, and streets in Las Vegas, Nevada at night
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 96.5

Average SAT score: 1150

Average ACT score: 17.9

Percentage of college graduates: 24.8 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 4.30

46
Mississippi

cityscape photo of the Old Mississippi Capitol Building in downtown Jackson, Mississippi
iStock

Average IQ score: 94.2

Average SAT score: 1203

Average ACT score: 18.4

Percentage of college graduates: 25.3 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 9.69

45
South Carolina

Aerial view of Rainbow Row in downtown Charleston, SC
iStock

Average IQ score: 98.4

Average SAT score: 1026

Average ACT score: 18.8

Percentage of college graduates: 30.8 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 11.89

44
Alabama

cityscape photo of a highway, homes, and buildings in Mobile, Alabama
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 95.7

Average SAT score: 1127

Average ACT score: 18.9

Percentage of college graduates: 27.9 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 12.22

43
Louisiana

cityscape photos of bars and restaurants on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana at twilight
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 95.3

Average SAT score: 1170

Average ACT score: 18.8

Percentage of college graduates: 26.9 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 13.03

42
Arkansas

cityscape photo of Little Rock, Arkansas at sunset
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 97.5

Average SAT score: 1157

Average ACT score: 19.3

Percentage of college graduates: 25.7 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 13.84

41
Florida

The skyline of Miami, Florida from the water at sunset
iStock

Average IQ score: 98.4

Average SAT score: 992

Average ACT score: 20.21

Percentage of college graduates: 32.2 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 17.43

And for the place where it pays to have street smarts, This Is the Most Dangerous State in America.

40
Arizona

An aerial shot of skyscrapers that make up the skyline of Phoenix, Arizona
iStock

Average IQ score: 97.4

Average SAT score: 1139

Average ACT score: 19

Percentage of college graduates: 29.8 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 19.44

39
Alaska

Anchorage Skyline with a winter reflection
iStock

Average IQ score: 99

Average SAT score: 1098

Average ACT score: 20.1

Percentage of college graduates: 29.4 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 21.43

38
Texas

cityscape photo of buildings, highway, and lake in Austin, Texas
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 100

Average SAT score: 1010

Average ACT score: 20.5

Percentage of college graduates: 32.1 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 22.18

37
Idaho

cityscape photos of mountains, moving cars, buildings, and the state capitol in Boise, Idaho at sunset
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 101.4

Average SAT score: 984

Average ACT score: 22.5

Percentage of college graduates: 29.2 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 23.91

36
Hawaii

An aerial shot of downtown Honolulu, Hawaii from the water looking inland.
iStock

Average IQ score: 95.6

Average SAT score: 1095

Average ACT score: 19

Percentage of college graduates: 35.3 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 25.20

35
Tennessee

The skyline of Chattanooga, Tennessee
iStock

Average IQ score: 97.7

Average SAT score: 1186

Average ACT score: 19.4

Percentage of college graduates: 31.2 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 28.48

34
Kentucky

An aerial view of downtown Lexington, Kentucky on a clear day
iStock

Average IQ score: 99.4

Average SAT score: 1207

Average ACT score: 19.8

Percentage of college graduates: 29 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 29.22

33
North Carolina

cityscape photo of Raleigh, North Carolina
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 100.2

Average SAT score: 1096

Average ACT score: 19

Percentage of college graduates: 35.7 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 30.95

32
Ohio

columbus ohio
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 101.8

Average SAT score: 1070

Average ACT score: 20

Percentage of college graduates: 34 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 31.11

31
Georgia

athens georgia skyline
Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

Average IQ score: 98

Average SAT score: 1053

Average ACT score: 21.4

Percentage of college graduates: 34 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 31.65

30
Delaware

cityscape photo of Wilmington, Delaware
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 100.4

Average SAT score: 978

Average ACT score: 24

Percentage of college graduates: 31.7 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 33.99

29
Wyoming

Panoramic aerial view of Jackson Hole homes and beautiful mountains on a summer morning, Wyoming.
iStock

Average IQ score: 102.4

Average SAT score: 1220

Average ACT score: 19.8

Percentage of college graduates: 29.3 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 34.12

28
Indiana

The skyline of Indianapolis, Indiana
iStock

Average IQ score: 101.7

Average SAT score: 1074

Average ACT score: 22.5

Percentage of college graduates: 31.5 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 36.85

27
California

cityscape photo of Riverside, California at sunset
iStock

Average IQ score: 95.5

Average SAT score: 1049

Average ACT score: 22.6

Percentage of college graduates: 36.9 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 39.88

And for the least kind place in the country, This Is the Most Hateful State in America.

26
Montana

cityscape photo of downtown Bozeman, Montana
iStock

Average IQ score: 103.4

Average SAT score: 1185

Average ACT score: 19.8

Percentage of college graduates: 34.2 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 42.35

25
Michigan

detroit michigan skyline
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 100.5

Average SAT score: 998

Average ACT score: 24.4

Percentage of college graduates: 34.3 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 42.97

24
Oregon

city skyline of and the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 101.2

Average SAT score: 1104

Average ACT score: 21.2

Percentage of college graduates: 36.7 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 44.22

23
Missouri

cityscape photo of Kansas City, Missouri
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 101

Average SAT score: 1212

Average ACT score: 20.8

Percentage of college graduates: 34.6 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 47.30

22
Utah

cityscape photo of Salt Lake City, Utah at dusk
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 101.1

Average SAT score: 1204

Average ACT score: 20.3

Percentage of college graduates: 36.2 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 47.91

21
Rhode Island

cityscape photo of pier and building in downtown Providence, Rhode Island
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 99.5

Average SAT score: 990

Average ACT score: 24.7

Percentage of college graduates: 37.3 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 48.78

20
Maine

tall buildings and houses in downtown Portland, Maine at dusk
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 103.4

Average SAT score: 995

Average ACT score: 24.3

Percentage of college graduates: 36.1 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 49.08

19
Wisconsin

city skyline in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 102.9

Average SAT score: 1243

Average ACT score: 20.3

Percentage of college graduates: 35.5 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 51.73

18
Washington

cityscape photo of a church, buildings, and trees in Spokane, Washington
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 101.9

Average SAT score: 1073

Average ACT score: 22.1

Percentage of college graduates: 40.1 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 53.21

17
South Dakota

downtown area of Rapid City, South Dakota in the afternoon
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 102.8

Average SAT score: 1218

Average ACT score: 21.6

Percentage of college graduates: 34.7 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 53.55

16
North Dakota

A view of buildings in Grand Forks, North Dakota
iStock

Average IQ score: 103.8

Average SAT score: 1231

Average ACT score: 19.9

Percentage of college graduates: 37.9 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 54.92

15
Iowa

cityscape photo of buildings, a street, and statue from behind in downtown Des Moines, Iowa at dusk
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 103.2

Average SAT score: 1220

Average ACT score: 21.6

Percentage of college graduates: 35.4 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 55.41

14
Maryland

baltimore skyline
iStock

Average IQ score: 99.7 percent

Average SAT score: 1029

Average ACT score: 22.3

Percentage of college graduates: 43.9 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 55.86

13
Nebraska

cityscape photos of buildings and streets in Omaha, Nebraska
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 102.3

Average SAT score: 1229

Average ACT score: 20

Percentage of college graduates: 39.3 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 56.52

12
Illinois

Buckingham fountain lighting up in Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois at night
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 99.9

Average SAT score: 1007

Average ACT score: 24.3

Percentage of college graduates: 41.4 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 57.52

11
Pennsylvania

city skyline and the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at dusk
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 101.5

Average SAT score: 1078

Average ACT score: 23.6

Percentage of college graduates: 39.4 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 58.20

10
Kansas

cityscape photo of downtown Manhattan, Kansas
iStock

Average IQ score: 102.8

Average SAT score: 1237

Average ACT score: 21.2

Percentage of college graduates: 37.3 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 58.72

9
Colorado

city skyline of Denver, Colorado at night
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 101.6

Average SAT score: 1012

Average ACT score: 23.8

Percentage of college graduates: 43.5 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 61.97

8
New Hampshire

city skyline of buildings in Manchester, New Hampshire
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 104.2

Average SAT score: 1055

Average ACT score: 25

Percentage of college graduates: 40 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 66.28

7
New York

cityscape photo of buildings and the skyline in New York City, New York
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 100.7

Average SAT score: 1058

Average ACT score: 24.5

Percentage of college graduates: 45 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 71.17

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6
Virginia

The downtown skyline of Richmond, Virginia just after sunrise
iStock

Average IQ score: 101.9

Average SAT score: 1116

Average ACT score: 24

Percentage of college graduates: 43.2 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 71.57

5
Minnesota

cityscape photo of downtown St. Paul, Minnesota at sunset
iStock

Average IQ score: 103.7

Average SAT score: 1257

Average ACT score: 21.4

Percentage of college graduates: 42.7 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 73.53

4
Connecticut

fast moving traffic on a highway and buildings in Hartford, Connecticut at dusk
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 103.1

Average SAT score: 1039

Average ACT score: 25.5

Percentage of college graduates: 44.6 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 75.48

3
Vermont

Vermont
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 103.8

Average SAT score: 1103

Average ACT score: 24.1

Percentage of college graduates: 44.7 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 75.99

2
New Jersey

New Jersey, Jersey City skyline
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 102.8

Average SAT score: 1081

Average ACT score: 24.2

Percentage of college graduates: 47.5 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 79.30

1
Massachusetts

cityscape photos of buildings and shops in Quincy Market in Boston, Massachusetts at twilight
Shutterstock

Average IQ score: 104.3

Average SAT score: 1119

Average ACT score: 25.5

Percentage of college graduates: 52.4 percent

Intelligence Index Score: 99.98

And for the place where people are green with envy, This Is the Most Jealous State in America.

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