The States With The Highest (And Lowest) Average IQ

By Kathy Morris - Mar. 24, 2021

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IQ tests can be a controversial measure of intelligence.

Critics point out they often strictly define intelligence, favor test taking skills, and under value creativity and other assets. After all, if you ask a super smart dolphin to answer a multiple choice test it will probably just swim around happily in the ocean.

However, despite controversy IQ remains a popular measure of intelligence. And boy, do Americans care about intelligence. From GPA to standardized tests and degrees, how you use your brains will impact how you make your money.

We found the average IQ in each state to find which states have the most brain power– or are at least really good test takers. Keep reading to see how your state stacks up!

States With The Highest IQ

  1. Massachusetts – 104.3
  2. New Hampshire – 104.2
  3. Vermont – 103.8
  4. North Dakota – 103.8
  5. Minnesota – 103.7
  6. Montana – 103.4
  7. Maine – 103.4
  8. Iowa – 103.2
  9. Connecticut – 103.1

Northeastern and midwestern states dominate the top 10, with impressive IQs ranging from 104.3-to 103.1. At 104.3, Massachusetts has an average IQ over 10 points higher than the bottom state.

States With The Lowest IQ

  1. Mississippi – 94.2
  2. Louisiana – 95.3
  3. California – 95.5
  4. Hawaii – 95.6
  5. New Mexico – 95.7
  6. Alabama – 95.7
  7. Nevada – 96.5
  8. Arizona – 97.4
  9. Arkansas – 97.5
  10. Tennessee – 97.7

Mississippi has the lowest average of IQ at 94.2. Mississippi is closely followed by many of its southern neighbors, along with some Southwestern states and tropical Hawaii.
Did your state not make the top (or the bottom…) 10? Keep scrolling to see where it landed.

How We Figured This Out

Our data on average IQ comes from the Washington Post.

The researchers primarily looked at factors related to education. In particular, they took into account standardized test scores (including SAT and ACT) and high school and college graduation rates. As all of these factors can be correlated to intelligence, they provided a good rough estimate for large populations.

Average IQ For All 50 States- From Most To Least

Rank State Average IQ
1 Massachusetts 104.3
2 New Hampshire 104.2
3 Vermont 103.8
3 North Dakota 103.8
5 Minnesota 103.7
6 Montana 103.4
6 Maine 103.4
8 Iowa 103.2
9 Connecticut 103.1
10 Wisconsin 102.9
11 South Dakota 102.8
11 New Jersey 102.8
11 Kansas 102.8
14 Wyoming 102.4
15 Nebraska 102.3
16 Washington 101.9
16 Virginia 101.9
18 Ohio 101.8
19 Indiana 101.7
20 Colorado 101.6
21 Pennsylvania 101.5
22 Idaho 101.4
23 Oregon 101.2
24 Utah 101.1
25 Missouri 101
26 New York 100.7
27 Michigan 100.5
28 Delaware 100.4
29 North Carolina 100.2
30 Texas 100
31 Illinois 99.9
32 Maryland 99.7
33 Rhode Island 99.5
34 Kentucky 99.4
35 Oklahoma 99.3
36 Alaska 99
37 West Virginia 98.7
38 South Carolina 98.4
38 Florida 98.4
40 Georgia 98
41 Tennessee 97.7
42 Arkansas 97.5
43 Arizona 97.4
44 Nevada 96.5
45 New Mexico 95.7
45 Alabama 95.7
47 Hawaii 95.6
48 California 95.5
49 Louisiana 95.3
50 Mississippi 94.2

Look, IQ Tests Aren’t Perfect

If seeing your state’s score made you frown (or reminded you of an unpleasant personal score), don’t worry. As we talked about prior, IQ scores are not perfect or a complete measure of your skills and abilities.

These are also large population numbers. While 10 iq points may make an individual difference, for a group the difference may not be as profound. All the scores fall between 90-110. Since the Woodcock–Johnson Test of Cognitive Abilities deems anything in that range “average.”

So Mississippi shouldn’t be wallowing in defeat and maybe Massachusetts shouldn’t be bragging.

Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.
Kathy Morris

Author

Kathy Morris

Kathy is the head of content at Zippia with a knack for engaging audiences. Prior to joining Zippia, Kathy worked at Gateway Blend growing audiences across diverse brands. She graduated from Troy University with a degree in Social Science Education.

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