The Washington Post recently published a study of the smartest (and dumbest) states in America; Oregon didn’t do so hot, but it didn’t too super-poorly either.
Oregon is only the 27th smartest state in America, with about average scores in each of The Washington Post’s intelligence metrics.
Well these are the cities that are keeping Oregon from ranking in the top half of the smartest states in America.
After crunching the numbers, we came up with this list of the ten dumbest cities in the Beaver State:
- Lincoln City
- Junction City
How we determined the dumbest cities in the Beaver 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 Oregon:
- % 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 76 cities in Oregon 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: 23.1%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 21.6%
According to the data, the little city of Madras is the dumbest place in all of Oregon. Why’s that?
Well, mainly it’s due to Madras’ current high school dropout rate for teenagers; with 21.6% of students opting out of basic education each year, the city has the highest rate of dropouts in Oregon.
On top of that, 23.1% of Madras residents over the age of 25 lack a high school diploma, which is the fifth highest rate in the state.
With the current dropout rate about as high as the rate of uneducated adults, Madras seems like a lock to continue having the title of dumbest city in Oregon for years to come.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 33.9%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 10.1%
Located between Portland and Salem, Woodburn is the second dumbest city in Oregon not as much for its current teenage high school dropout rate, but for its horrendous rate of uneducated adults.
More than 1 in 3 adults living in Woodburn lack a GED, which is the second highest rate in the state (and the highest rate on this list).
Woodburn’s teenage high school dropout rate isn’t super either; with about 1 in 10 students leaving school each year, the city’s dropout rate is twice as high as the state average.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 19.6%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 16.5%
Hermiston’s motto touts that it’s “the future of eastern Oregon,” but with the third highest dropout rate in the state for students between the ages of 16-19, Hermiston’s future may seriously be hindered.
16.5% of teenagers leave high school each year in Hermiston, which is almost as high as the rate of uneducated adults in the city.
Now since Hermiston’s primarily an agricultural place, it may not matter that 19.6% of the city’s adults lack a GED, but with the current dropout rate so high, Hermiston doesn’t seem to have a very bright future.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 21.3%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 16.2%
Located about 60 mile southwest of Portland, Independence ranks as the fourth dumbest city in Oregon overall, with the fourth highest teenage high school dropout rate in the state.
16.2% of teenagers leave high school each year in Independence, which is more than three times as high as the state average,
The rate of uneducated adults living in Independence is also much higher than the statewide average for cities with populations over 5,000, with more than 2 in 10 adult residents lacking a high school diploma.
5. Lincoln City
Adults Without High School Diploma: 14.2%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 16.0%
Located on the northwestern coast of Oregon, Lincoln City already ranked as the seventh most dangerous city in the state in one of our other lists, so combined with its new status as the fifth dumbest city in Oregon, Lincoln City seems sorta
not so great.
The city has the fifth highest dropout rate in the state, with 16% of students between the ages of 16-19 leaving basic education before acquiring their GED.
The current dropout rate is higher than Lincoln City’s rate of uneducated adults, meaning if the dropouts stay in their hometown, the city will only grow dumber.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 14.5%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 8.4%
Sutherlin earns its status as the sixth dumbest city in the state by placing in the bottom 25% of Oregon cities in both of our smartness metrics.
14.5% of adult residents of Sutherlin are without a high school diploma, which is only slightly higher than the state average.
Sutherlin’s current high school dropout rate for teenagers is more worrisome; with 8.4% of students leaving basic education, the city’s dropout rate is more than 3% higher than the statewide average.
7. Junction City
Adults Without High School Diploma: 14.8%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 7.3%
Little ol’ Junction City is the smallest spot to make this list, and, as a primarily agricultural community, it may not be so important that only 85% of adult residents have completed high school.
But with 7.3% of students between the ages of 16-19 leaving high school each year, Junction City is behind most of Oregon’s other cities by a considerable margin.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 11.5%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 17.1%
Located roughly 30 miles south of Portland, Canby ranks as the eighth dumbest city in Oregon overall, with extremely different smartness scores for its teenage and adult populations.
On the one hand, Canby’s rate of uneducated adults is only 11.5%, which is actually slightly lower than the statewide average.
On the other hand, Canby has the second highest rate of teenagers dropping out of high school in the state; with 17 of every 100 teenagers leaving basic education each year, Canby’s dropout rate more than triples the state average and guarantees the city a dimmer future.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 16.3%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 5.9%
Located immediately east of Portland, Gresham is the most populous city to make this list, meaning big cities can be every bit as dumb as those little ones out in the sticks.
With a current teenage high school dropout rate of 5.9%, Gresham is only slightly higher than the state average, which is good.
What’s not-so-good is that 16.3% of adult residents of Gresham lack GEDs, meaning that adults are the real cause of the city’s dumbness.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 13.1% 27th
Teenage High School Dropouts: 9.0% 14th
The city that Matt Groening says he named The Simpsons hometown after (look it up!), Springfield, Oregon is the last city to make the dumb-cut. Doh!
Homer’s lovable stupidity might go unnoticed in this Springfield, since only 87% of the city’s adult residents have graduated high school.
Bart may have felt quite at home here as well, since 9% of teenagers leave high school each year, which is well over the statewide average for Oregon.
Putting a dunce cap on our analysis
If you’re measuring the locations in Oregon 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, here are the five smartest cities in Oregon, in order: Lake Oswego, Creswell, Bend, Sherwood, and North Bend. All but Bend are located in western Oregon, while Bend is near the dead center of the state.
Other notable cities: The hippest city in Oregon, Portland, ranked as the 34th smartest city in the state, with above average scores in both categories.
Eugene fared even better, ranking as the 13th smartest city in the state, with both statistics being nearly twice as good as the state average.
Oregon’s capital, Salem, doesn’t look so hot in terms of smarts – it ranked as the 16th dumbest city in the state, with below average scores in both of our intelligence metrics.
Detailed List Of Dumbest Cities In Oregon