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These US States Have the Lowest IQs

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There has been a long history of controversy and debates surrounding the idea of IQ scores. Some people believe that IQ scores provide an accurate assessment of intelligence, while others believe that they are misleading and prejudiced. 

A picture representation of IQ test
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However, IQ scores remain relevant for measuring intelligence estimates and following the variability of intelligence in various populations. It is in this context that we will look at the US states that have been ranked as having the lowest IQs.

About the IQ Test

It’s helpful to learn more about IQ before finding out where your state stands. People are measured for their capacity to reason and solve problems using an intelligence quotient, or IQ. 

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A picture representation of IQ test
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An IQ test gives you a number that can be used to compare your mental capacity to that of others. Though opinions on the validity of basing an individual’s intellect on a single test such as this one are split, it is a valuable tool for general comparisons.

Average IQ

Having an average overall statistic to compare against is vital to provide some perspective as we move state by state. 

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Individuals have an average IQ of 85 to 115, while the average IQ worldwide is 82. The average IQ of Americans is 97.43, which places them 28th in the world.


According to research, Mississippi remains among some of the lowest mean IQ states in the United States. Mississippi is ranked 47th out of 50 states with an average IQ of 95.8. 

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A picture representation of Mississippi
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It would be ludicrous to suggest that people in the state could find it difficult to spell “Mississippi” given their IQ level, yet the state does fairly well in terms of education, coming in at number 35. Also, The Home of the Blues does not appear to have comparatively low IQ scores due to a lack of education.

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After a little diversion from the bottom of the list, Texas ranks at 42. They may be the biggest state, but they aren’t always the smartest. 

A picture representation of Texas
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They are somewhat in line with the national average, with a 97.4 score. Remarkably, their IQ level (which comes in at number 29) is substantially lower than their overall schooling ranking.

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West Virginia

West Virginia has an IQ average of 84. 4 points. 

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However, the state has faced poverty and poor economic performance in the recent past, this could be an indication of low average IQ scores among the population.

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According to a report, the average IQ score in Arkansas is 85. 1, which is among the lowest scoring in the country. 

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It also has high levels of poverty and a significant portion of its population with low levels of education.


Alabama is ranked even lower, with an average IQ of 96.4. Only three states have average IQs below the national average. 

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Also, the state’s poor educational achievement may be caused by the low ranking. Alabama is ranked 45th in education, with only 37.8% of its citizens holding a college degree.

South Carolina and North Carolina

South Carolina is the 41st most brilliant state in the US, with an average IQ of 97.8. It is also one of the least educated states, coming in at number 43 for higher education and 41 for Pre-K–12 schooling. There might be a relationship between average IQ and state-level education once more. Economic opportunity is another area in which South Carolina lags.

A picture representation of North Carolina
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North Carolina has an average IQ of 86.3, this IQ score is above some of the southern states, but still below the average for the rest of the states.

Georgia and Missouri

Georgia has an IQ average of 86.5. Though the state has a relatively improving economy, its education levels are still lagging as compared to the other developed states.

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However, the average IQ score in Missouri is 86. 7 making it a relatively low number in comparison with other states within Midwest and West Coast areas.

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New Mexico 

With an average IQ of only 95, New Mexico is at the bottom of the rankings. This is just another example of the state’s often dismal rankings. 

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It has the 45th-best economy, the 48th-worst crime and incarceration rate, and the lowest state education score. Besides, should a state’s average IQ and educational quality be correlated, New Mexico would be the clearest example, scoring the lowest in both categories.


Louisiana has an average IQ score of 87. 1, which is a low result compared to other states.

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Also, it is a state that provides few education opportunities and has very high levels of poverty, which could well be a partial explanation.

Ideal Means of Measuring IQ

It can be argued that IQ scores are not the ideal means of measuring intelligence, but they can be useful when it comes to determining the distribution of intelligence among different populations. 

A picture representation of IQ test
Source: Pinterest

These US states are however at the bottom of the average IQ score pyramid — a situation causes my a number of things including poverty, poor education, and economic downturns.

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