The 10 Dumbest Places In Tennessee For 2023

The dumbest places in Tennessee are Lafayette and Madisonville for 2023 based on Saturday Night Science.

The unfortunate fact of the matter is that some places in the Volunteer 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 Tennessee have the highest percentage of adults without a high school degree.

A recent study we published found that Tennessee is actually the 38th smartest state in the United States, with an average IQ of 98.

But that doesn’t mean that a few cities in Tennessee 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 Volunteer State.

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 92 cities in Tennessee to rank. You can take a look at the data below.

For more Tennessee reading, check out:

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

The 10 Dumbest Places In Tennessee For 2023

Overall SnackAbility

Population: 5,458
% Adult High School Dropout: 23.0%
% Highly Educated: 5.0%
More on Lafayette:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Madisonville, TN

Source: Wikipedia User Brian Stansberry | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 5,059
% Adult High School Dropout: 23.0%
% Highly Educated: 11.0%
More on Madisonville:  | Crime Report

La Follette, TN

Source: Wikipedia User Brian Stansberry | CC BY 3.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 7,384
% Adult High School Dropout: 22.0%
% Highly Educated: 6.0%
More on La Follette:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Dunlap, TN

Source: Wikipedia User Brian Stansberry | CC BY 3.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 5,252
% Adult High School Dropout: 23.0%
% Highly Educated: 9.0%
More on Dunlap:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Pigeon Forge, TN

Source: Wikipedia User Edward C. Denny | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 6,362
% Adult High School Dropout: 27.0%
% Highly Educated: 13.0%
More on Pigeon Forge:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Ripley, TN

Source: Wikipedia User Thomas R Machnitzki ( | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 7,856
% Adult High School Dropout: 21.0%
% Highly Educated: 11.0%
More on Ripley:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Brownsville, TN

Source: Wikipedia User Thomas R Machnitzki ([email protected]) | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 9,807
% Adult High School Dropout: 18.0%
% Highly Educated: 9.0%
More on Brownsville:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Shelbyville, TN

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

Population: 23,005
% Adult High School Dropout: 21.0%
% Highly Educated: 13.0%
More on Shelbyville:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Newport, TN

Source: Wikipedia User Brian Stansberry | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 6,845
% Adult High School Dropout: 16.0%
% Highly Educated: 11.0%
More on Newport:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Mcminnville, TN

Source: Wikipedia User Brian Stansberry | CC BY 3.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 13,699
% Adult High School Dropout: 19.0%
% Highly Educated: 15.0%
More on Mcminnville:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Methodology: How we determined the dumbest cities in the Volunteer 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 Tennessee:

  • % 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 Tennessee from dumbest to brightest.

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

There You Have It – Now That You’re Asleep

If you’re measuring the locations in Tennessee 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 Tennessee, according to science:

  1. Brentwood
  2. Germantown
  3. Signal Mountain

For more Tennessee reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Dumbest Cities In Tennessee For 2023

Rank City Population
1 Lafayette, TN 5,458
2 Madisonville, TN 5,059
3 La Follette, TN 7,384
4 Dunlap, TN 5,252
5 Pigeon Forge, TN 6,362
6 Ripley, TN 7,856
7 Brownsville, TN 9,807
8 Shelbyville, TN 23,005
9 Newport, TN 6,845
10 Mcminnville, TN 13,699
11 Humboldt, TN 7,899
12 Rockwood, TN 5,492
13 Portland, TN 13,031
14 Lewisburg, TN 12,131
15 Dayton, TN 7,112
16 Covington, TN 8,666
17 Morristown, TN 30,387
18 Bolivar, TN 5,177
19 Springfield, TN 18,561
20 Paris, TN 10,332
21 Lawrenceburg, TN 11,460
22 Crossville, TN 11,892
23 Savannah, TN 7,157
24 Erwin, TN 6,052
25 Fayetteville, TN 6,988
26 Lexington, TN 7,849
27 Milan, TN 8,143
28 Sweetwater, TN 6,228
29 Millersville, TN 6,099
30 Henderson, TN 6,232
31 Athens, TN 13,961
32 East Ridge, TN 21,967
33 Sevierville, TN 18,038
34 Clinton, TN 9,982
35 Dickson, TN 15,855
36 Manchester, TN 11,956
37 Soddy-Daisy, TN 13,090
38 La Vergne, TN 38,127
39 Winchester, TN 9,299
40 Elizabethton, TN 14,112
41 Dyersburg, TN 16,235
42 Memphis, TN 634,139
43 Pulaski, TN 8,163
44 Greeneville, TN 15,361
45 Harriman, TN 5,936
46 Millington, TN 10,583
47 Chattanooga, TN 180,353
48 Tullahoma, TN 20,599
49 Kingston, TN 5,942
50 Cleveland, TN 46,747
51 White House, TN 12,820
52 Cookeville, TN 34,068
53 Church Hill, TN 6,973
54 Columbia, TN 40,957
55 Jackson, TN 67,753
56 Kingsport, TN 55,019
57 Mount Carmel, TN 5,460
58 Gallatin, TN 43,306
59 Greenbrier, TN 6,845
60 Alcoa, TN 10,777
61 Martin, TN 10,536
62 Smyrna, TN 52,401
63 Mckenzie, TN 5,590
64 Fairview, TN 9,299
65 Bristol, TN 27,154
66 Collegedale, TN 10,973
67 Knoxville, TN 189,339
68 Lebanon, TN 37,471
69 Munford, TN 6,269
70 Red Bank, TN 11,855
71 Goodlettsville, TN 17,522
72 Clarksville, TN 163,518
73 Oakland, TN 8,805
74 Jonesborough, TN 5,747
75 Atoka, TN 9,863
76 Oak Ridge, TN 31,087
77 Maryville, TN 31,281
78 Bartlett, TN 57,639
79 Murfreesboro, TN 148,970
80 Mount Juliet, TN 38,059
81 Hendersonville, TN 60,628
82 Thompson’s Station, TN 7,011
83 Franklin, TN 81,531
84 Arlington, TN 14,158
85 Lakeland, TN 13,693
86 Spring Hill, TN 48,403
87 Collierville, TN 50,669
88 Nolensville, TN 13,393
89 Farragut, TN 23,388
90 Signal Mountain, TN 8,770
91 Germantown, TN 40,955
92 Brentwood, TN 44,354
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.

5 thoughts on “The 10 Dumbest Places In Tennessee For 2023

  1. I hate to say it but if you look at the educators that are being hired, you’ll see a loss of people who are related being hired on. If you have a relative that is already working for the school system, you are more likely to be hired than someone who doesn’t. They appear to have no interest in hiring on a person’s credentials or whether they come highly recommended by someone they worked for while student teaching. It is who you know that gets you hired. Plain and simple.

  2. The problem is with the schools it self all they only care if they are at school so they get money for every child there . They don’t teach any more they pass the kids because of the no child left be hide . If a child can’t do the work when the teacher puts it on the board they are just out of luck . Because they are told to figure it out their self . I have had people with kids in different schools tell me the same thing . Add this new math last time I checked 2+2 =4 not 6

    1. You might want to proofread your response before attempting to make a point on the topic of education.

  3. Pam S.:the problem is not with the educators or the schools.The problem is with: a) parents not being involved in their own children’s lives, and b) a bunch of politicians making educational policy when they have no expertise in education.
    As a teacher in the Tennesee public school system, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that we care VERY much about our students’ education and wish we had control over what we taught and how the students were assessed. Get your butt to a school board meeting and help make changes. God knows they don’t listen to teachers.

    Also, Joanna Vazquez: your statement simply isn’t true. Many teachers, including myself, have been hired from out of state because of our credentials, not because we know someone or are related to someone in the district. Sounds like you may have a personal issue.

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