There are all kinds of smarts in the world, from book smarts to street smarts, but however you define it, we all want to trend toward the top of the intelligence curve.

In an attempt to identify where the brainiacs reside in America, Best Life looked at the latest data from the World Population Review for the average IQ score in each state, as well as SAT and ACT numbers from test-taking preparation sites Prep Scholar and On to College, and college graduation figures from the United States Census Bureau and the National Science Foundation.

Those scores were combined to give each state an 'Intelligence Index Score'.

In South Dakota, our ranking put us in a very respectable spot - 17th overall - which is among the top-third most intelligent places in the country.

Here's how the Mount Rushmore State's rankings broke down:

  • Average IQ score: 102.8 (the national average is 98)
  • Average SAT score: 1218
  • Average ACT score: 21.6
  • Percentage of college graduates: 34.7 percent
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  1. Massachusetts
  2. New Jersey
  3. Vermont
  4. Connecticut
  5. Minnesota
  6. Virginia
  7. New York
  8. New Hampshire
  9. Colorado
  10. Kansas

Interestingly, South Dakota's average IQ score of 102.8 is on par with, or better than, the IQs of five of the top ten states (Kansas and New Jersey - 102.8, Virginia - 101.9, Colorado 101.6, New York - 100.7), but each one of those states has a higher percentage of college graduates and therefore moves ahead of the Mount Rushmore State on the list.

As for the dimmest bulbs in the United States, look South and West for the most part:


  1. West Virginia
  2. Oklahoma
  3. New Mexico
  4. Nevada
  5. Mississippi
  6. South Carolina
  7. Alabama
  8. Louisiana
  9. Arkansas
  10. Florida


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