There are two kinds of smarts in this world: book smarts and street smarts. Both have their advantages, but one is a lot harder to measure accurately than the other.

We'll leave the street smart debate for another day and focus now on what we learned in school from our instructors and textbooks in the academic world.

When judged on that criteria, South Dakota is in the bottom half of the most educated states in America.

Get our free mobile app

Stacker examined data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates to rank each state's average academic achievement in seven different categories.

The numbers show that The Mount Rushmore State is 30th overall.

The state's numbers included the 17th highest rate of high school graduates (30.2 percent) and 25th highest rate of people with either an associate's or bachelor's degree (31.4 percent).

South Dakota's other numbers:

  • Less than high school education: 3.0%
  • 9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 5.3%
  • Some college, no degree: 21.1%
  • Graduate or professional degree: 8.9%

Nationally, geography and economics played a big role in ranking the smartest states. Poorer states, mainly in the South, were at the bottom of the list, while more well-to-do states in the North and Northeast dominated the top of the list.

One of the biggest disparities was in college education, where top-ranked Massachusetts saw nearly a third of residents with some sort of higher education degree compared to fewer than 20 percent of residents in bottom-ranked West Virginia.


  1. Massachusetts
  2. Colorado
  3. Maryland
  4. Connecticut
  5. New Hampshire
  6. Vermont
  7. Virginia
  8. Minnesota
  9. Washington
  10. New Jersey


  1. West Virginia
  2. Mississippi
  3. Louisiana
  4. Arkansas
  5. Kentucky
  6. Nevada
  7. Alabama
  8. Oklahoma
  9. Texas
  10. Tennessee

See the Must-Drive Roads in Every State

More From KYBB-FM / B102.7