The 10 Dumbest Places In North Carolina For 2023

The dumbest places in North Carolina are Lexington and Wadesboro for 2023 based on Saturday Night Science.

The unfortunate fact of the matter is that some places in the Tar Heel State have a larger percent of their population that never graduated from high school.

While the emphasis on going to college might be overblown, the fact is that not graduating from high school puts you at a significant disadvantage on average. Educational attainment might not be the best way to measure one person’s intelligence, but it does shine a light on the state.

We will use Saturday Night Science to determine what places in North Carolina have the highest percentage of adults without a high school degree.

A recent study we published found that North Carolina is actually the 28th smartest state in the United States, with an average IQ of 99.

But that doesn’t mean that a few cities in North Carolina are a bit slower than others due to a lack of basic education.

After crunching the numbers, we ranked the ten dumbest cities in the Tar Heel State.

The 10 Most Boring Places In North Carolina

  1. Lexington
  2. Wadesboro
  3. Roxboro
  4. Marion
  5. Sawmills
  6. Thomasville
  7. Williamston
  8. Selma
  9. Hamlet
  10. Kinston

Don’t freak out.

Some places are just smarter than others, but that says nothing about the character of the people living there. It’s another data point a real estate agent would never tell you.

For this ranking, we only looked at cities with populations greater than 5,000, leaving us 130 cities in North Carolina to rank. You can take a look at the data below.

For more North Carolina reading, check out:

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

The 10 Dumbest Places In North Carolina For 2023

Lexington, NC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 19,347
% Adult High School Dropout: 21.0%
% Highly Educated: 13.0%
More on Lexington:  Cost Of Living

Wadesboro, NC

Source: Wikipedia User Indy beetle | CC BY-SA 4.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 5,079
% Adult High School Dropout: 20.0%
% Highly Educated: 12.0%
More on Wadesboro:  Cost Of Living

Roxboro, NC

Source: Wikipedia User FotoDawg | CC BY 2.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 8,097
% Adult High School Dropout: 21.0%
% Highly Educated: 15.0%
More on Roxboro:  Cost Of Living

Marion, NC

Source: Wikipedia User Upstateherd | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 7,703
% Adult High School Dropout: 25.0%
% Highly Educated: 16.0%
More on Marion:  Cost Of Living

Overall SnackAbility

Population: 5,053
% Adult High School Dropout: 19.0%
% Highly Educated: 14.0%
More on Sawmills:  Cost Of Living

Thomasville, NC

Source: Wikipedia User AmaryllisGardener | CC BY-SA 4.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 26,941
% Adult High School Dropout: 19.0%
% Highly Educated: 14.0%
More on Thomasville:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Williamston, NC

Source: Wikipedia User | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 5,221
% Adult High School Dropout: 20.0%
% Highly Educated: 16.0%
More on Williamston:  Cost Of Living

Selma, NC

Source: Wikipedia User DanTD (talk) | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 6,317
% Adult High School Dropout: 18.0%
% Highly Educated: 13.0%
More on Selma:  Cost Of Living

Hamlet, NC

Source: Wikipedia User Indy beetle | CC BY-SA 4.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 6,098
% Adult High School Dropout: 17.0%
% Highly Educated: 12.0%
More on Hamlet:  Cost Of Living

Kinston, NC

Source: Wikipedia User Tradewinds | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 19,888
% Adult High School Dropout: 18.0%
% Highly Educated: 15.0%
More on Kinston:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Methodology: How we determined the dumbest cities in the Tar Heel State

We realize that formal education is only part of it when it comes to being intelligent, but on the other hand, 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 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 North Carolina:

  • % of the city’s population with less than a high school education (Age 25+)
  • % of city’s population with a college degree (Age 25+)

We got the data from the U.S. Census 2017-2021 American Community Survey.

Then, our algorithm generates a rank for each place in these categories. After crunching all the numbers, a ranking of the cities in North Carolina from dumbest to brightest.

For this ranking, we used every North Carolina city with at least 5,000 residents. We updated this article for 2023, and it’s our tenth time ranking the dumbest cities in North Carolina.

There You Have It – Now That You’re Asleep

If you’re measuring the locations in North Carolina where there are a high number of dropouts and adults who never received a formal education, this is an accurate ranking.

If you’re also curious enough, here are the smartest places in North Carolina, according to science:

  1. Chapel Hill
  2. Davidson
  3. St. James

For more North Carolina reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Dumbest Cities In North Carolina For 2023

Rank City Population
1 Lexington, NC 19,347
2 Wadesboro, NC 5,079
3 Roxboro, NC 8,097
4 Marion, NC 7,703
5 Sawmills, NC 5,053
6 Thomasville, NC 26,941
7 Williamston, NC 5,221
8 Selma, NC 6,317
9 Hamlet, NC 6,098
10 Kinston, NC 19,888
11 Eden, NC 15,317
12 Dallas, NC 5,777
13 Asheboro, NC 26,729
14 Lenoir, NC 18,205
15 Kings Mountain, NC 10,775
16 Reidsville, NC 14,463
17 Monroe, NC 34,464
18 Zebulon, NC 6,958
19 Henderson, NC 15,084
20 Lumberton, NC 19,186
21 Albemarle, NC 16,318
22 Clinton, NC 8,124
23 Lincolnton, NC 10,926
24 Morganton, NC 17,389
25 Sanford, NC 30,024
26 Wilson, NC 47,914
27 Conover, NC 8,393
28 Rockingham, NC 9,200
29 Butner, NC 8,295
30 Laurinburg, NC 15,242
31 Smithfield, NC 11,168
32 Oxford, NC 8,658
33 Roanoke Rapids, NC 15,294
34 Angier, NC 5,312
35 Trinity, NC 6,981
36 Graham, NC 16,793
37 Rocky Mount, NC 54,375
38 Dunn, NC 8,616
39 Washington, NC 9,754
40 Burlington, NC 56,563
41 Gastonia, NC 79,483
42 Goldsboro, NC 33,214
43 Mocksville, NC 5,714
44 Mount Airy, NC 10,547
45 Kannapolis, NC 52,173
46 Tarboro, NC 10,733
47 Newton, NC 13,081
48 King, NC 7,258
49 Waynesville, NC 10,087
50 Archdale, NC 12,117
51 Statesville, NC 27,777
52 Havelock, NC 17,570
53 Hope Mills, NC 17,421
54 Salisbury, NC 35,258
55 New Bern, NC 31,058
56 Shelby, NC 21,564
57 High Point, NC 113,148
58 Wesley Chapel, NC 8,661
59 Cherryville, NC 6,044
60 Winston-Salem, NC 247,917
61 Boiling Spring Lakes, NC 5,863
62 Hickory, NC 42,831
63 Woodfin, NC 7,771
64 Kernersville, NC 26,376
65 Unionville, NC 6,634
66 Mount Holly, NC 17,315
67 Fayetteville, NC 208,497
68 Wendell, NC 9,847
69 Greensboro, NC 295,483
70 Clayton, NC 25,486
71 Spring Lake, NC 11,629
72 Gibsonville, NC 8,684
73 Brevard, NC 7,712
74 Concord, NC 102,566
75 Jacksonville, NC 73,224
76 Greenville, NC 87,815
77 Charlotte, NC 864,871
78 Boone, NC 18,055
79 Aberdeen, NC 8,333
80 Mebane, NC 17,192
81 Mills River, NC 7,082
82 Hendersonville, NC 14,878
83 Nashville, NC 5,626
84 Belmont, NC 14,442
85 Durham, NC 279,106
86 Wilmington, NC 115,976
87 Mooresville, NC 48,431
88 Stallings, NC 15,932
89 Knightdale, NC 18,614
90 Southern Pines, NC 15,156
91 Fletcher, NC 7,935
92 Raleigh, NC 462,219
93 Kill Devil Hills, NC 7,541
94 Black Mountain, NC 8,386
95 Fuquay-Varina, NC 33,135
96 Oak Island, NC 8,252
97 Mint Hill, NC 26,236
98 Garner, NC 30,859
99 Indian Trail, NC 39,603
100 Pineville, NC 10,317
About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.

11 thoughts on “The 10 Dumbest Places In North Carolina For 2023

  1. This is absurd, at least in regard to Cary. Cary is where the majority of the Research Triangle Park’s highest level employees have settled for a few decades now. In fact, they are the reason it quickly grew from a tiny suburb of Raleigh to one of the largest cities in the state. Cary residents are among the most degreed in the southeast. Whoever did this analysis needs to either recheck their data, reconsider their perspective on what makes a city or an individual ‘dumb’, or just examine their own motives.

  2. They used “science and data.” How about trying some common sense and actual knowledge of the region instead? Aside from a handful of very good private schools, Cary doesn’t even have schools that are separate from the system that includes Raleigh, which isn’t on this list. I lived in Cary for several years, and no way should it be put in the same category as cities like Wilson and Burnsville. This is b.s.

    1. Dobson, Elkin, and Pilot Mountain were too small for the survey.
      Mount Airy is OK considering the parameters used. However, these parameters are absurd. (consider Cary, NC…should not be on this list at all)

  3. I’m not surprised and totally agree..with the lake Norman area but the NCDOT has a lot to do with this situation! They’ve refused to give this area the funds to fix its infrastructure and yet allow it to continue to grow and grow and grow. So really NCDOT is to blame for allowing the fast growing area to fail miserable in an attempt to push people to settle in Raleigh instead. Also, the fact that Mecklenburg Co is in control of “all” the schools instead of dividing it up into districts and allowing those districts to be in charge and have Taxes distributed accordingly plays a huge role these areas having the worse school systems or lack there of!

  4. Huntersville has 41 public schools that serve it’s population…you know, pretty solid property tax base there. This truly is the dumbest and most pointless article I have read in quite sometime.

  5. The problem with many of the cities on this list (especially Huntersville and Cary) is that they don’t take into account that those cities are part of a county school system and there may be only a couple of schools physically located in that city limits, bringing its “rating” down. This is a completely ridiculous article.

  6. I moved to Laurinburg,NC a few years ago(personal/maritial &family reasons). I grew up around, & in the Washington,D.C area. It is absolutley chilling how F’stupid people are here in southern NC compared to the rest of the country. I have traveled to all the (inner)48 states, & I don’t make this statement lightly. To give specifics, I would have to have a reason worth while. It’s exhausting enough just trying to coexist w/these people.

  7. Wikipedia is not up to date. Huntersville has 11 public schools and 6 private K+ with three of them being a 10 on great schools rating system.

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