These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In Minnesota


We used science and data to determine which of Minnesota’s cities are dumb as rocks.

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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:

  1. Worthington (Photos)
  2. Faribault (Photos)
  3. Brooklyn Center (Photos)
  4. Albert Lea (Photos)
  5. Glencoe (Photos)
  6. Columbia Heights (Photos)
  7. Richfield (Photos)
  8. Little Falls (Photos)
  9. Litchfield (Photos)
  10. Austin (Photos)

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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.

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1. Worthington

Dumbest Minnesota

Population: 12,920
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.

2. Faribault

Dumbest Minnesota

Population: 23,460
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

Dumbest Minnesota

Population: 30,549
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

Dumbest Minnesota

Population: 17,931
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.

5. Glencoe

Dumbest Minnesota

Population: 5,575
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

Dumbest Minnesota

Population: 19,605
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.

7. Richfield

Dumbest Minnesota

Source: Public domain

Population: 35,877
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

Dumbest Minnesota

Population: 8,291
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.

9. Litchfield

Dumbest Minnesota

Population: 6,689
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.

10. Austin

Dumbest Minnesota

Population: 24,760
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

City Rank Population Adults Without High School Diploma Teenage High School Drop Outs
Worthington 1 12,920 29.3% 22.2%
Faribault 2 23,460 16.1% 11.8%
Brooklyn Center 3 30,549 16.7% 10.2%
Albert Lea 4 17,931 15.4% 8.7%
Glencoe 5 5,575 16.7% 6.1%
Columbia Heights 6 19,605 14.5% 7.2%
Richfield 7 35,877 13.0% 8.1%
Little Falls 8 8,291 14.6% 5.9%
Litchfield 9 6,689 12.8% 6.3%
Austin 10 24,760 15.6% 4.3%
Crookston 11 7,899 11.4% 7.1%
Spring Lake Park 12 6,503 9.2% 23.4%
Willmar 13 19,626 17.0% 3.5%
Detroit Lakes 14 8,834 10.4% 7.2%
Hopkins 15 17,909 8.8% 12.4%
St. Paul 16 291,728 13.6% 3.8%
Waseca 17 9,370 8.6% 16.7%
Waite Park 18 7,391 12.0% 3.6%
North St. Paul 19 11,775 9.8% 5.1%
Fridley 20 27,494 8.3% 8.0%
East Grand Forks 21 8,621 9.1% 5.6%
Red Wing 22 16,502 7.8% 9.8%
St. Paul Park 23 5,327 10.5% 3.7%
Minneapolis 24 394,424 11.0% 3.4%
Brooklyn Park 25 77,579 10.2% 3.5%
New Hope 26 20,648 9.5% 3.9%
Otsego 27 14,257 7.7% 5.9%
Bemidji 28 14,319 10.6% 2.8%
Owatonna 29 25,550 8.2% 4.9%
South St. Paul 30 20,368 8.3% 4.8%
Brainerd 31 13,521 9.8% 3.0%
Cloquet 32 12,064 6.1% 8.7%
Fergus Falls 33 13,215 10.0% 2.7%
Anoka 34 17,202 10.0% 2.5%
Cambridge 35 8,223 12.6% 1.4%
Inver Grove Heights 36 34,258 7.0% 5.2%
Hutchinson 37 13,983 6.5% 5.8%
St. Cloud 38 66,038 8.7% 3.1%
West St. Paul 39 19,690 9.9% 2.5%
Fairmont 40 10,474 14.9% 0.0%
Montevideo 41 5,283 13.9% 0.0%
Forest Lake 42 18,933 5.5% 7.7%
Sauk Rapids 43 13,079 8.2% 3.2%
Robbinsdale 44 14,196 6.5% 4.6%
Hibbing 45 16,330 9.8% 1.9%
International Falls 46 6,329 13.2% 0.0%
New Brighton 47 21,899 6.0% 5.7%
St. Peter 48 11,403 10.0% 1.5%
Big Lake 49 10,230 9.1% 2.3%
Redwood Falls 50 5,174 11.0% 0.7%
Maplewood 51 39,261 9.4% 1.9%
North Branch 52 10,099 5.3% 6.6%
Morris 53 5,324 11.1% 0.0%
St. Francis 54 7,297 6.8% 3.5%
Thief River Falls 55 8,662 10.2% 0.7%
Chaska 56 24,238 4.9% 7.0%
New Ulm 57 13,328 8.1% 2.5%
Alexandria 58 11,465 8.7% 1.4%
East Bethel 59 11,614 5.8% 3.9%
Burnsville 60 61,059 5.9% 3.7%
Duluth 61 86,239 7.0% 2.8%
Bloomington 62 85,136 6.5% 2.9%
Zimmerman 63 5,268 9.9% 0.0%
Marshall 64 13,609 7.9% 2.1%
Winona 65 27,526 9.3% 0.6%
Mounds View 66 12,412 8.6% 1.0%
Belle Plaine 67 6,794 3.1% 20.2%
Lake City 68 5,093 9.7% 0.0%
Rochester 69 109,252 6.5% 2.8%
Blaine 70 59,295 5.6% 3.6%
Moorhead 71 39,053 6.2% 2.9%
Virginia 72 8,671 7.9% 1.5%
Oakdale 73 27,705 5.3% 3.7%
Hastings 74 22,355 6.2% 2.9%
Shakopee 75 38,613 7.6% 1.9%
Buffalo 76 15,710 6.2% 2.9%
Wyoming 77 7,764 4.2% 5.4%
Mound 78 9,205 3.2% 8.6%
St. Louis Park 79 46,466 4.8% 4.2%
Cottage Grove 80 35,169 4.6% 4.5%
Crystal 81 22,459 8.3% 0.7%
Coon Rapids 82 61,809 6.4% 2.5%
New Prague 83 7,434 8.4% 0.0%
Waconia 84 11,230 5.0% 3.3%
Delano 85 5,598 3.5% 5.1%
Chisholm 86 5,001 4.7% 3.7%
Golden Valley 87 20,683 4.3% 4.0%
Apple Valley 88 49,911 4.2% 4.3%
Oak Grove 89 8,145 8.0% 0.0%
Lakeville 90 57,715 3.7% 4.8%
Northfield 91 20,303 7.8% 0.2%
Vadnais Heights 92 12,770 7.6% 0.0%
Corcoran 93 5,482 7.2% 0.0%
Monticello 94 12,974 5.7% 1.9%
Savage 95 28,055 5.2% 2.4%
Stewartville 96 5,990 7.0% 0.0%
Farmington 97 21,861 5.0% 2.5%
Little Canada 98 10,015 6.9% 0.0%
Lino Lakes 99 20,671 4.7% 2.6%
Grand Rapids 100 10,950 6.4% 0.4%
Mankato 101 39,871 6.0% 0.8%
Ham Lake 102 15,565 4.7% 2.5%
Sartell 103 16,123 5.3% 1.5%
St. Joseph 104 6,694 4.2% 2.8%
Rosemount 105 22,469 4.6% 2.5%
Edina 106 48,940 2.0% 4.5%
Hermantown 107 9,588 6.0% 0.3%
Chanhassen 108 24,003 3.4% 3.1%
Ramsey 109 24,441 4.5% 2.2%
Roseville 110 34,554 5.8% 0.0%
Prior Lake 111 23,956 3.9% 2.4%
Mahtomedi 112 7,923 2.6% 3.3%
St. Anthony 113 8,501 5.3% 0.0%
White Bear Lake 114 24,398 5.2% 0.0%
Kasson 115 6,017 5.1% 0.0%
Elk River 116 23,346 4.7% 0.7%
Byron 117 5,023 2.0% 2.8%
Stillwater 118 18,541 3.3% 1.9%
Jordan 119 5,784 4.7% 0.0%
Andover 120 31,271 3.7% 1.0%
Champlin 121 23,591 3.9% 0.7%
Baxter 122 7,710 4.4% 0.0%
North Mankato 123 13,403 4.3% 0.0%
Albertville 124 7,159 4.2% 0.0%
Isanti 125 5,396 4.0% 0.0%
Plymouth 126 72,868 3.0% 1.2%
Maple Grove 127 64,364 2.7% 1.5%
Hugo 128 13,850 3.8% 0.0%
Mendota Heights 129 11,131 2.8% 1.2%
Eagan 130 65,053 3.6% 0.3%
Arden Hills 131 9,700 2.8% 0.7%
Eden Prairie 132 62,096 2.7% 0.8%
Woodbury 133 64,544 2.7% 0.9%
Minnetonka 134 50,897 2.7% 0.7%
Shoreview 135 25,673 3.3% 0.0%
Lake Elmo 136 8,123 3.3% 0.0%
Minnetrista 137 6,661 3.2% 0.0%
St. Michael 138 16,767 2.9% 0.0%
Falcon Heights 139 5,439 2.2% 0.0%
Rogers 140 11,747 1.9% 0.0%
Victoria 141 7,845 1.8% 0.0%
Medina 142 5,163 1.1% 0.0%
Shorewood 143 7,438 1.0% 0.0%
Orono 144 7,690 0.6% 0.0%

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7 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In Minnesota

  1. You might have used “science and data” to make your determinations but you didn’t use common sense. Worthington is made up of 30% immigrants which would account for the greatly disproportionate high school diploma rate. Does that make these immigrants dumb? Not quite. Many of them speak 2, 3, 4+ languages and grew up in poverty or war and yet made the difficult journey to immigrate to America. My hat goes off to them; they make my community a great (and smart) place to live.

    1. Thank you for your response Brian. Worthington was unfairly judged in this study. Many of the immigrants in our community have an education and training in their home countries but their qualifications or degrees don’t count here. I worked with a woman from South America who was a nurse and she can not get a job here. Also, with many of the immigrants, unfortunately, education is not as important as family and working to support that family. Many of the immigrants, legal or illegal, are also coming here to make a better life for themselves, and yes they “may” be uneducated but at least they are trying. All I have to say for those naysayers out there, if you don’t like the community your grew up in, a community that supported you, please leave…and don’t come back. Instead of complaining help do something about it. I love Worthington and the melting pot our community has become. Open your eyes, open your hearts and you will realize just how rich (and enriched) we are.

      1. Great answer! Too many younger people, especially, are “book smart and brain dead”. They don’t even know how to wash clothes for themselves, and don’t want to learn. College, to them, is just a huge drinking party. When they get out, they wonder why they are not wanted or needed in specific jobs that demand the highest pay and easiest working conditions for them, because of their “quality education” status. I still think they should bring back teaching Home Ec and Shop in Jr. High.

  2. Maybe they should separate out numbers by how many people are the ones who have come up, especially from places like Chicago and Gary, Indiana, for instance, who are just looking for higher or free, welfare benefits and have no interest in working or doing anything. They come to Minnesota and keep having more and more kids that they refuse to support or take care of. Make them work to receive any welfare benefits! They can go pick up the trash on the sidewalks, along the highways, etc., among many other things. If they refuse to work after six months, make them leave the state and never return. No more rewards, college educations, computers, free schooling, for people in prison, either. Do what Maricopa County does.

  3. Many of the communities on the list are ( out state Dumb you say ) you should be more cautious these are the people that grow the products that your highly intelligent neighbors are eating. All of the last 12 cities on your list are Metro Suburbs. Many of the people that live in these areas are professional, specialist in many fields living in million dollar homes and wouldn’t know how to plant a garden. When it comes to education the same communities hire the best of the best for their teaching staff. Nothing wrong with that I can’t tell the rich how to spend their money. I personally have a high school diploma for 15 years, I was in business management I hired a lot of people with college degrees, and a large percentage could use those diplomas for toilet paper.

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