Graduations for the class of 2022 have come and gone. High school seniors have made their college plans and others are starting their careers. Does being from a certain state give you an advantage? Obviously, the quality of the school system where you live is going to have an impact. But are certain states smarter than others? Well, thinks so. They recently conducted research to find out what are the smartest states and South Carolina, well this one wasn’t for you!

Some of these rankings do line up with America’s top universities, but not all. And are schools like Harvard and Yale a fair representation of the entire state? How could they be when these schools are so exclusive. But gosh, it’s hard to believe that in the bottom 5th of all the smartest states is where you find South Carolina.

So where did these rankings come from? PennStakes analyzed several key metrics including IQ scores, SAT scores, and more to create these rankings. You can see the full methodology at the end of this article. 

Read the full study here 

  • America's Smartest States (15 Lowest Ranking States)

  • 50. West Virginia

    Total Score: 12.6

    West Virginia

  • 49. Mississippi

    Total Score: 13.3


  • 48. Louisiana

    Total Score: 15.2


  • 47. Arkansas

    Total Score: 19.1


  • 46. Nevada

    Total Score: 20.0


  • 45. New Mexico

    Total Score: 20.4

    New Mexico

    Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA downtown cityscape and street at twilight.

  • 44. Alabama

    Total Score: 22.4


  • 43. Oklahoma

    Total Score: 22.4


  • 42. Texas

    Total Score: 23.9


  • 41. South Carolina

    Total Score: 28.0

    White more than double the bottom two on this list, SC did still sore a dismal 28.0. In contrast the “smartest” state on this list scored a 93.9.

    South Carolina Small towns summer

  • 40. Kentucky

    Total Score: 30.5


  • 39. Florida

    Total Score: 32.4

    Jacksonville, Florida Skyline

  • 38. Tennessee

    Total Score: 34.2

    Memphis Tennessee TN Downtown Drone Skyline Aerial.

  • 37. Arizona

    Total Score: 35.9


  • 36. Idaho

    Total Score: 36.5


  • Top 15 Smartest States

  • 15. Nebraska

    Total Score: 52.5


  • 14. Kansas

    Total Score: 53.3

    Liberty Memorial and Union Station aerial views, downtown Kansas City

  • 13. Utah

    Total Score: 55.5

    Winter daytime shot of Salt Lake City. Featured is the temple from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or the Mormons

  • 12. Maine

    Total Score: 55.8


  • 11. New York

    Total Score: 57.8

    New York

  • 10. Washington

    Total Score: 60.3

    Washington State

  • 9. Minnesota

    Total Score: 67.0


  • 8. Colorado

    Total Score: 69.4


  • 7. New Jersey

    Total Score: 69.5

    New Jersey

  • 6. New Hampshire

    Total Score: 70.5

    New Hampshire

  • 5. Vermont

    Total Score: 72.2


  • 4. Virginia

    Total Score: 72.5


  • 3. Maryland

    Total Score: 72.8


  • 2. Connecticut

    Total Score: 73.8


  • 1. Massachusetts

    Total Score: 93.9

    Massachusetts decidedly takes the win, with a score a full 20 points higher than the 2nd place state.


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