As a state, Arizona isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.
In fact, a recent study published by The Washington Post found that Arizona is the tenth dumbest state in America, with the eighth lowest IQ scores in the country.
But that doesn’t mean everywhere you go in Arizona is filled with airheads – a handful of cities contribute to Arizona’s well-below average smartness scores by having huge populations of uneducated adults and teenagers.
After crunching the numbers, we came up with this list of the ten dumbest cities in the Grand Canyon State:
- South Tucson
How we determined the dumbest cities in the Grand Canyon State
We realize that formal education isn’t everything when it comes to being smart, but on the other hand not knowing the difference between they’re, their, and there is always going to make you look pretty stupid.
So we narrowed down our criteria to focus both on a city’s educational opportunities and what percentage of the population takes advantage of those opportunities.
In short, we came up with these criteria to determine the dumbest cities in Arizona:
- % of city’s population with less than a high school education (Age 25+)
- % of high school dropouts (Ages 16-19)
Note: We only looked at cities with populations greater than 5,000, leaving us 59 cities in Arizona to rank. We also looked at the graduation rates of the entire population, not the current rates for high schoolers.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 38.6%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 31.8%
Located 50 miles northwest of Tucson, Eloy has the distinction of being the dumbest city in Arizona for a couple of reasons.
First, 38.6% (nearly 4 in 10) of Eloy’s adult population never completed high school, which is the sixth highest rate in Arizona of cities with populations over 5,000.
Second, Eloy has the second highest teenage high school dropout rate in the state, with a staggering 31.8% of students opting to not finish basic education. That’s almost 4 times as high as the average for cities we looked at data for.
One hint to as why Eloy may top this list is the fact that the Corrections Corporation of America is the biggest employer in the city, and employs nearly 10 times as many people as the city’s elementary schools.
2. South Tucson
Adults Without High School Diploma: 42.5%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 20.8%
An enclave of the much larger Tucson, South Tucson is a one square mile city with the worst crime rate in all of Arizona.
Crime and stupidity go hand in hand apparently, as South Tucson is also the second dumbest city in Arizona, with the third highest rate of adults without GEDs.
Besides the fact that more than 4 in 10 adults living in South Tucson never finished high school, more than 2 in 10 teenage students drop out of high school each year, giving South Tucson the sixth highest rate of dropouts in the state.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 26.1%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 38.1%
Located 60 miles southeast of Phoenix, Florence is the third dumbest city in Arizona, with the worst high school dropout rate in the state.
38.1% of Florence’s teenage high school students drop out each year, which is higher than the second highest dropout rate in the state by 6.3%, and is more than 4 times higher than the state’s average.
On top of that, more than a quarter of adults living in Florence never completed high school, so there aren’t a whole lot of role models instilling the importance of education in the upcoming generation.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 39.4%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 18.3%
Tolleson has the distinction of being both the fourth most dangerous and fourth dumbest city in Arizona, which doesn’t exactly make it an attractive city for raising a family.
Nearly 4 in 10 adults living in Tolleson don’t have their high school diploma, which, crazily, is only the fifth highest rate in Arizona.
The dropout rate is also more than twice as bad as the state’s average, with about 18 of every 100 high schoolers dropping out each year.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 21.7%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 23.1%
Coolidge has seen a rapid expansion in the last 20 years, with a population increase of over 50% from 2000.
Apparently, the newcomers aren’t bringing a whole lot wit to bear, as more than 1 in 5 of Coolidge’s adults never earned a high school degree.
What’s more troubling, though, is that an even higher proportion of Coolidge’s high school students are dropping out.
Even with Central Arizona College located in Coolidge, 23.1% of Coolidge’s high schoolers won’t have the opportunity to attend.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 39.8%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 11.6%
Located between Phoenix and Tempe, Guadalupe is the sixth dumbest place in Arizona.
Nearly 4 in 10 adults living in Guadalupe don’t have a GED, which is the fourth highest rate in the state.
The dropout rate isn’t spectacular either, with 11.6% of teenagers leaving high school each year, a rate 3.5% higher than the average for cities with populations greater than 5,000.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 20.8%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 20.2%
Winslow is the seventh dumbest city in Arizona overall, with the eighth highest rate of teenage dropouts in the state.
20.2% of high school students drop out, which might be related to these facts: More than a quarter of residents under the age of 18 live below the poverty line, and Winslow’s is the fifth most dangerous city in Arizona.
Still, with both 1 in 5 adults and teenagers opting out basic education, it’s hard to see how Winslow will solve any of its many issues.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 16.8%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 21.3%
Located in north-central Arizona, Page is the eighth dumbest city in Arizona, which, combined with the fact that the city is also the second most dangerous in the state, makes Page sound like a not-so-great place overall.
16.8% of Page’s residents over the age of 25 never completed high school, which is actually only 1% higher than the average for cities we looked at data for.
The real dummy-points for Page come from its stupid high dropout rate of 21.3%, which is the fifth worst in the state.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 35.3%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 7.9%
Located on the Mexican border, Nogales ranks as the ninth dumbest city in Arizona overall, mostly because of the high percentage of adult residents who don’t have high school degrees.
But formal education is the least of people’s worries in Nogales, as more than a third of the population lives below the poverty line, including 41.2% of those under the age of 18.
In light of that fact, it’s quite impressive that the teenage high school dropout rate in Nogales is only 7.9%. That’s the lowest on this list, and 0.2% lower than the state average.
It shows that Nogales has a lot of potential to improve its conditions in the next generation.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 18.4%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 13.4%
Coming in as the tenth dumbest city in Arizona is Globe, which also has the (dis)honor of being the third most dangerous city in the state.
Mining is the main industry in Globe, so it’s understandable that a higher percentage of adults don’t have high school degrees than the state’s average.
But the dropout rate of 13.4% is much higher than the state average, and may mean that Globe is in for an equally stupid future.
Putting a dunce cap on our analysis
If you’re measuring the locations in Arizona where there are a high number of teenage dropouts and adults who never received a formal education, this is an accurate list.
Wondering which places are the smartest in Arizona? Wonder no more! The five smartest cities, in order are Oro Valley, Sedona, Paradise Valley, Sahuarita and Queen Creek.
Other notable cities: Arizona’s capital, Phoenix, is the 14th dumbest city in the state, with 19.1% of adult residents not having a GED and a 7.6% teenage high school dropout rate.
Tucson is near the middle of the pack in terms of intelligence, ranking as the 27th dumbest city in Arizona of the 59 cities we analyzed.
Mesa was close behind Tucson, ranking as the 31st dumbest city in the state, with a 5.4% dropout rate and 12.6% of adult residents not having a high school degree.
Detailed List Of Dumbest Cities In Arizona
|Lake Havasu City||48|