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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
- Massachusetts – 104.3
- New Hampshire – 104.2
- Vermont – 103.8
- North Dakota – 103.8
- Minnesota – 103.7
- Montana – 103.4
- Maine – 103.4
- Iowa – 103.2
- 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
- Mississippi – 94.2
- Louisiana – 95.3
- California – 95.5
- Hawaii – 95.6
- New Mexico – 95.7
- Alabama – 95.7
- Nevada – 96.5
- Arizona – 97.4
- Arkansas – 97.5
- 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
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.
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