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10 States with the Highest Average IQ in America

While states with the highest average IQ in America boast of being the smartest in the country, others argue that IQ is not a very reliable measure of intelligence.

Intelligence quotient is a universal measure of intelligence and is often to used to filter out smart people from a crowd. However, new research has found that since there are various types of intelligence, one consolidated IQ score is not only unrealistic, but impractical. Sources like The Telegraph and Web MD tell us that intelligence can be divided into three categories that cater to short term memory, reasoning and vocabulary, hence a single test is not sufficient to evaluate intellect. Some people may excel in one aspect of intelligence while others may be superb at another component.

So should the IQ score we have come to respect so much be considered obsolete? Well, I don’t think so. While the complex workings of the human brain may seem too oversimplified when encapsulated in a single number, it can still not be completely ignored. Since intelligence is not something tangible and concrete, it is hard to assign a number to it, something the general IQ test attempts to do. It is obvious that the number will not be accurate but it will safely be in the ballpark, thus providing a useful measure to assess an individual. This point can also be validated by the fact that some professions, that are firmly accepted as “smart” professions”, indeed contain people who have above average IQs, as clearly evidenced from our piece on the Professions with the Highest Average IQ per Employee.

However, the question here is not a profession-wise distribution of IQ, but whether the concentration of IQ is heavier in certain states of the country compared to others. To answer this query, we resorted to a study conducted in 2006 by Michael A. McDaniel of Virginia Commonwealth University. Since it is widely known that average IQ scores have been increasing over time, one might think that using a study as old as 2006 might be misleading, but it can be considered authentic for one simple reason. While the “Flynn Effect” (the name given to the gradual increase in average IQ) is indeed in action, psychologists actually revise IQ tests on a regular basis to keep the average score consistent. For example, let’s consider the United States. According to our source (linked above), the average IQ of the nation has exhibited an increase of 3 points every 10 years. So if the average IQ was 98 a decade ago (as it is now), it should now be 101, to account for the Flynn Effect. However, that’s not the case as the revised tests ensure that the average remains constant.

Keeping that in mind, let’s now look through the states with the highest average IQ in America.

10. Wisconsin

Estimated average IQ: 102.9

We start our list with none other than the originator of the all famous ‘Wisconsin Idea’, an ideology that gives the utmost importance not only to the absolute need for education but also the practical application of education for the betterment of society. With such a high average IQ, it’s no surprise that the state has been so progressive with their education system.

States with the Highest Average IQ in America


9. Connecticut

Estimated average IQ: 103.1

The Constitution State boasts an extremely high average IQ along with the presence of one of the best universities in the world: Yale University. This Ivy League School is the dream college for countless students, and is the pride of Connecticut.

States with the Highest Average IQ in America


8. Iowa

Estimated average IQ: 103.2

As per data released by the White House compiled by US News, the state of Iowa holds the distinction for being the state with the highest high school graduation rate in the country. The rate stands at a whopping 90.8 percent and while high school graduation rates may not be a great representation of the state’s average IQ, they still might be closely related to the latter.

6. Maine

Estimated average IQ: 103.4

After Iowa, comes Maine, tying at the number 6 spot with Montana. The Pine Tree State, famous for its lobsters and blueberries, is also quite smart. With an average IQ of 103.4, it surely deserves a spot on our list of states with the highest average IQ in America.

6. Montana

Estimated average IQ: 103.4

Although Montana, one of the states with the highest average IQ in America is not very populous, its less than 1.5 million people happen to be extremely intelligent with an average IQ of 103.4.

States with the Highest Average IQ in America


5. Minnesota

Estimated average IQ: 103.7

With 103.7 as its average IQ, Minnesota comes in at number 5 on our list. So it’s no surprise that Minneapolis, the largest city in the state, was ranked the most literate city in the country by a survey conducted by USA Today.

3. North Dakota

Estimated average IQ: 103.8

Another tie on our list of states with the highest average IQ in America, North Dakota and Vermont are head to head in the race for IQ. Even smaller than Montana when it comes to population, North Dakota makes up for in intelligence what it lacks in man power.

States with the Highest Average IQ in America

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3. Vermont

Estimated average IQ: 103.8

Although the job market in Vermont has not really been ideal in the last few years, it is certainly not due to lack of brains among the people. With an impressive IQ of 103.8, this state is not one to be written off.

2. New Hampshire

Estimated average IQ: 104.2

New Hampshire is one of the wealthiest states in the country. In fact its poverty level is the lowest in the US, with its population below poverty level standing at a mere 8.7% of the total population. With smart and wealthy people, New Hampshire is not at all a bad place to reside in.

1. Massachusetts

Estimated average IQ: 104.3

We conclude our list of states with the highest average IQ in America with Massachusetts, a state that, according to The Washington Post‘s criteria, is considered the smartest in the country: not surprising for a place that houses Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) , two of the most prestigious educational institutes in the world.

States with the Highest Average IQ in America