Anyone who says Minnesota is a stupid state has not done their homework.
In fact, according to a recent Washington Post study, it’s the second smartest state in America, with the study showing that Minnesotans are ahead of the national average by every metric of intelligence.
But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a couple of (relatively) dumb cities in Minnesota.
After crunching the numbers, we came up with this list of the ten dumbest cities in the North Star State:
- Worthington (Photos)
- Faribault (Photos)
- Brooklyn Center
- Albert Lea (Photos)
- Glencoe (Photos)
- Columbia Heights (Photos)
- Richfield (Photos)
- Little Falls (Photos)
- Litchfield (Photos)
- Austin (Photos)
How we determined the dumbest cities in the North Star 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 Minnesota:
- % 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 144 cities in Minnesota 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: 29.3%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 22.2%
Located in the southwestern part of the state, Worthington is, by a very wide margin, the dumbest city in Minnesota.
Both the rate of adults without high school diplomas living in the city and the high school dropout rate are almost twice as bad as the second dumbest city in Minnesota.
Nearly 3 in 10 adult residents of Worthington never completed high school, which is the highest rate in the state, and may explain why the younger generation doesn’t seem to value formal education.
The teenage high school dropout rate is an appalling 22.2%, which is the second highest rate in the state, and guarantees Worthington the title of dumbest city in Minnesota for years to come.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 16.1%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 11.8%
Located 50 miles south of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Faribault seems like a city of astrophysicists compared to Worthington, but alas, it is still the second dumbest city in Minnesota.
The teenage high school dropout rate is 11.8%, which is the sixth highest in the state and more than three times as high as the state average for cities with populations over 5,000.
Faribault also has the fifth highest rate of adults without GEDs in Minnesota, with 16 out of every 100 adult residents lacking basic education.
3. Brooklyn Center
Adults Without High School Diploma: 16.7%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 10.2%
Brooklyn Center’s motto is “A Great Place to Start, A Great Place to Stay,” but in terms of education, it isn’t really either.
A northern suburb of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Brooklyn Center is actually the seventh worst place to “get a start” in the state, with roughly 1 in 10 teenage high school students dropping out each year.
On top of that, 16.7% of Brooklyn Center residents over the age of 25 also never completed high school, meaning all generations are contributing to the city’s intelligence deficit.
4. Albert Lea
Adults Without High School Diploma: 15.4%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 8.7%
Another southern Minnesotan city, Albert Lea is the fourth dumbest city in the state.
Both the rates of adults without high school diplomas and high school dropouts are more than twice as high as the state average.
With 15.4% of Albert Lea’s adults lacking a GED, and 8.7% of teenage high school students dropping out, the city is ranked in the bottom 10 for both categories out of the 144 cities we looked at data for.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 16.7%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 6.1%
Located 50 miles west of Minneapolis, Glencoe is the smallest city to make this list.
Glencoe has the third highest rate of GED-less adults in the state, narrowly beating out Faribault’s rate.
While Glencoe’s high school dropout rate isn’t nearly as bad as Faribault’s, it’s still almost twice as bad as the average of the 144 cities we examined.
6. Columbia Heights
Adults Without High School Diploma: 14.5%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 7.2%
A northern suburb of Minneapolis, Columbia Heights is the sixth dumbest city in Minnesota.
Columbia Heights has the tenth highest rate of adults without a high school education in the state, with 14.5% of adults (twice as high as Minnesota’s average), lacking a GED.
The teenage high school dropout rate is also twice as bad as the state average, with about 7 of every 100 high schoolers dropping out each year.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 13.0%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 8.1%
A southern suburb of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Richfield is the location of Best Buy’s headquarters, so you’d think there would be a lot of smart folks around (unless you think Best Buy is dumb).
Yet the high school dropout rate in Richfield is 8.1%, meaning at least 8 out of every 100 teenagers has disqualified themselves from a position at the electronics retailer.
Add to that the fact that 13% of adults lack a GED in Richfield, and you’ve got yourself a relatively dumb city overall.
8. Little Falls
Adults Without High School Diploma: 14.6%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 5.9%
Located in central Minnesota, Little Falls has the ninth highest rate of adult residents without a high school education in the state.
About 15 of every 100 adults never completed basic education, which means it may be a bit tough to field a solid book club in Little Falls.
5.9% of high schoolers also drop out before completing their GED, so the future of Little Falls isn’t as bright as most cities in Minnesota.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 12.8%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 6.3%
Located 75 miles west of Minneapolis, Litchfield suffers from a relative intelligence deficit, scoring poorly in both categories of smartness.
The teenage high school dropout rate is 6.3%, a full 3% higher than the state average for cities with populations greater than 5,000.
12.8% of residents over the age of 25 lack a high school diploma also, meaning Litchfield is less educated overall than most Minnesotan cities.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 15.6%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 4.3%
Austin is known as SPAM Town USA, because the largest employer in the city is Hormel Foods, who make most of North America’s SPAM.
Making SPAM may not require a degree in rocket science, but that doesn’t let Austin off the hook as being the tenth dumbest city in Minnesota overall.
While the high school dropout rate is only 1% higher than the average for cities we looked at data for, Austin has the sixth highest rate of GED-less adults in the state, with almost 15.6% of adult residents lacking a high school diploma.
Putting a dunce cap on our analysis
If you’re measuring the locations in Minnesota where there are a high number of teenage dropouts and adults who never received a formal education, this is an accurate list.
If you’re curious, the five smartest cities in Minnesota, in order, are: Orono, Shorewood, Medina, Victoria, and Rogers. All of these cities, excluding Victoria, are in Hennepin County. None of these cities are more than 30 miles away from Minneapolis, and all of them are to the west of the Twin Cities.
Other notable cities: the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are almost equally (un)intelligent, with St. Paul ranking as the 23rd dumbest city in Minnesota, and Minneapolis ranking as the 24th dumbest. Roughly 10% of each city’s adult population never completed high school, and the dropout rate in each city is slightly higher than the state average of 3.3%.
Rochester is near the middle of the pack in terms of intelligence, ranking as the 69th dumbest city in Minnesota.
Duluth is slightly dumber, ranking as the 61st dumbest city in the state with 7% of adults lacking a GED, and a 2.8% high school dropout rate.
We also wrote about the 10 Laziest Cities In Minnesota if you wanted another interesting study to read.
In all seriousness we had to mention a great organization in Minnesota. If youve ever considered adopting a child, there’s no better time. Check out MN Adopt and change a life.
Detailed List Of Dumbest Cities In Minnesota
|Spring Lake Park||12|
|North St. Paul||19|
|East Grand Forks||21|
|St. Paul Park||23|
|South St. Paul||30|
|Inver Grove Heights||36|
|West St. Paul||39|
|Thief River Falls||55|
|St. Louis Park||79|
|White Bear Lake||114|