These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In Tennessee


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

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According to a recent Washington Post study, Tennessee trails the most of the nation in terms of intelligence, ranking as the 18th dumbest state in America, with the 10th lowest average IQ in the nation.

On top of that, Tennessee has much fewer college graduate residents than most states. Well, our list looks at cities who are struggling with even basic education, so these are the places that are really giving Tennessee a bad name intellectually.

After crunching the numbers, we came up with this list of the ten dumbest cities in the Volunteer State:

  1. LaFollette
  2. Rockwood
  3. McMinnville
  4. Covington
  5. Sparta
  6. Springfield
  7. Hartsville
  8. Bristol
  9. Savannah
  10. Sevierville
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How we determined the dumbest cities in the Volunteer 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 Tennessee:

  • % 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 97 cities in Tennessee 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. LaFollette

Dumbest Tennessee

Source: Public Domain

Population: 7,304
Adults Without High School Diploma: 33.4%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 11.9%

According to the data, LaFollette, a city 40 miles north of Knoxville, is the dumbest city in all of Tennessee. How’d it earn this title?

Well for starters, LaFollette has the highest rate of uneducated adults in the state, with about 1/3 of adults lacking a high school diploma. That’s more than twice as high as the state average for cities with populations over 5,000.

The teenagers in LaFollette don’t do much to help the city’s smartness scores, since about 12 of every 100 drop out of high school each year, a rate that’s about three times as high as the state average.

2. Rockwood

Dumbest Tennessee

Source: wikipedia

Population: 5,480
Adults Without High School Diploma: 26.5%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 11.4%

Located about 45 miles west of Knoxville, Rockwood may not give the world a lot of intelligence, but it did give the world Megan Fox, so it’s not all bad.

More than a quarter of Rockwood’s residents over the age of 25 do not have a high school diploma, giving the city the fifth highest rate of uneducated adults in the state.

The current high school dropout rate for teenagers in Rockwood is also exactly three times as high as the state average, with 11.4% of students dropping out each year.

3. McMinnville

Dumbest Tennessee

Source: Public Domain

Population: 13,600
Adults Without High School Diploma: 24.7%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 13.0%

McMinnville is a city about 75 miles southeast of Tennessee’s capital, Nashville.

The rate of uneducated adults in McMinnville is the ninth highest in Tennessee, with only about 75% of residents over the age of 25 possessing a high school diploma.

Add to that the fact that 13 of every 100 McMinnville teenagers drops out of high school each year – a rate that ranks as the fifth highest in the state – and you’ve got yourself a dimwitted city overall.

4. Covington

Dumbest Tennessee

Source: wikipedia

Population: 9,033
Adults Without High School Diploma: 25.8%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 4.8%

Apparently Covington is dumber than it is dangerous; another article we wrote ranked it as the sixth most dangerous city in Tennessee.

Located a few miles from the Mississippi River in western Tennessee, Covington’s teenagers aren’t the main source of the city’s stupidity; the current teenage high school dropout rate is 4.8%, which is only 1% higher than the state average.

The city’s adults are the real culprits, as more than 1 in 4 residents over the age of 25 lack a GED, which is the sixth highest rate in the state.

5. Sparta

Dumbest Tennessee

Source: wikipedia

Population: 5,036
Adults Without High School Diploma: 22.7%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 8.0%

This. Is. Sparta!!!!!!!!! Also, this is the fifth dumbest city in the state of Tennessee.

Located right between Knoxville and Nashville, Sparta has both its teenagers and its adults to blame for its position on this list.

8% of teenagers in Sparta drop out each year, which is more than twice as high as the state average.

22.7% of the city’s adults also never completed high school, which is in the bottom 20% of Tennessee cities with populations greater than 5,000.

6. Springfield

Dumbest Tennessee

Source: wikipedia

Population: 16,598
Adults Without High School Diploma: 19.5%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 17.5%

Located about 30 miles north of Nashville, Springfield’s main source of stupidity is an alarmingly high rate of teenagers dropping out of high school.

With 17.5% of teenagers leaving high school each year, Springfield’s dropout rate more than quadruples the state average, and ranks as the fourth highest in the state.

About 1 in 5 adult residents of Springfield never attained a high school diploma, which is 4% higher than the state average.

7. Hartsville

Dumbest Tennessee

Source: Public Domain

Population: 7,859
Adults Without High School Diploma: 23.9%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 4.7%

About an hour’s drive northeast of Nashville, Hartsville ranks as the seventh dumbest city in Tennessee.

About 24 of every 100 adults living in Hartsville lack a high school degree, which gives the city the 14th highest rate of uneducated adults in the state.

The current rate of residents between the ages of 16-19 leaving high school isn’t nearly as bad, but, at 4.7%, it’s still about 1% higher than the state average.

8. Bristol

Dumbest Tennessee

Source: wikipedia

Population: 26,705
Adults Without High School Diploma: 18.9%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 9.5%

Bristol is located on the border of Virginia in northeastern Tennessee. The city has officially been recognized by Congress as the birthplace of country music, but it’s also the eighth dumbest city in its state.

Only about 81% of Bristol’s adult population possesses a GED and 9.5% of the city’s teenagers are dropping out of high school each year.

That gives Bristol the ninth highest teenage high school dropout rate in Tennessee.

9. Savannah

Dumbest Tennessee

Source: wikipedia

Population: 7,029
Adults Without High School Diploma: 22.3%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 5.1%

Located in southwestern Tennessee, Savannah is the ninth dumbest city overall in the state.

22.3% of the Savannah’s residents over the age of 25 never completed high school, which doesn’t exactly set a good example for the younger generation.

Fortunately, only 5.1% of Savannah’s teenagers currently drop out of high school, which is only a bit higher than the state average.

10. Sevierville

Dumbest Tennessee

Source: wikipedia

Population: 15,592
Adults Without High School Diploma: 18.5%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 9.7%

Located 25 miles southeast of Knoxville, Sevierville is the last city on our list of dumbest places in Tennessee.

The rate of uneducated adults in Sevierville is only 3% higher than the state average, so that’s not the real reason for its stupidity.

The teenagers in Sevierville are the real problem; with about 1 in 10 students dropping out of high school each year, Sevierville’s dropout rate is about 2.5 times worse than the state average, and the eighth highest rate in the state.

Putting a dunce cap on our analysis

If you’re measuring the locations in Tennessee 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 Tennessee, in order: Germantown, Brentwood, Arlington, Lakeland, and Oakland. All five, with the exception of Brentwood, are in southwestern Tennessee.

Germantown, Arlington, and Lakeland are all in Shelby County, while Oakland is in neighboring Fayette County. Brentwood is an affluent suburb of Nashville.

Other notable cities: Tennessee’s capital, Nashville, was right in the middle of the pack, ranking as the 52nd dumbest city in the state out of 97 cities.

Knoxville ranked slightly dumber than Nashville, ranking as the 51st dumbest city in the state; Knoxville’s adults are more educated than Nashville’s, but Knoxville’s current dropout rate for teenagers is slightly higher than Nashville’s.

Memphis ranked as the 20th dumbest city in Tennessee, with below average scores in both categories.

Chattanooga is slightly smarter than Memphis, but it still ranks as the 26th dumbest city in the state.

Detailed List Of Dumbest Cities In Tennessee

City Rank Population Adults Without High School Diploma Teenage High School Dropouts
La Follette 1 7,304 33.4% 11.9%
Rockwood 2 5,480 26.5% 11.4%
McMinnville 3 13,600 24.7% 13.0%
Covington 4 9,033 25.8% 4.8%
Sparta 5 5,036 22.7% 8.0%
Springfield 6 16,598 19.5% 17.5%
Hartsville/Trousdale County 7 7,859 23.9% 4.7%
Bristol 8 26,705 18.9% 9.5%
Savannah 9 7,029 22.3% 5.1%
Sevierville 10 15,592 18.5% 9.7%
Shelbyville 11 20,616 28.2% 1.8%
Fayetteville 12 6,991 19.5% 6.2%
Greeneville 13 15,015 20.2% 5.4%
Jonesborough 14 5,138 15.2% 20.2%
Kingston 15 5,888 14.0% 19.9%
Lewisburg 16 11,252 22.3% 2.6%
Morristown 17 29,152 24.3% 2.0%
Gallatin 18 31,800 16.4% 8.2%
Dyersburg 19 16,998 16.9% 6.5%
Memphis 20 656,715 16.5% 6.6%
Loudon 21 5,606 30.5% 0.0%
Pigeon Forge 22 6,004 27.4% 0.0%
Paris 23 10,165 20.3% 2.8%
Portland 24 11,853 17.1% 5.5%
#N/A 25 6,348 16.2% 6.1%
Chattanooga 26 171,863 15.5% 6.6%
Elizabethton 27 14,322 17.6% 4.5%
Millersville 28 6,481 17.2% 4.8%
Lexington 29 7,771 18.9% 3.6%
Bolivar 30 5,275 22.7% 1.5%
Harriman 31 6,296 25.5% 0.0%
Pulaski 32 7,734 24.5% 1.1%
Red Bank 33 11,759 11.6% 20.7%
Lawrenceburg 34 10,440 25.1% 0.0%
Ripley 35 8,350 22.2% 1.6%
Lenoir City 36 8,867 24.7% 0.0%
Mount Carmel 37 5,443 13.3% 7.8%
Lebanon 38 27,847 18.0% 2.8%
Manchester 39 10,223 20.0% 2.2%
Union City 40 10,791 17.5% 3.6%
Newport 41 6,890 24.1% 0.0%
Columbia 42 35,207 16.1% 4.5%
Erwin 43 6,052 23.6% 0.0%
Alcoa 44 8,556 15.4% 4.6%
Tullahoma 45 18,900 12.9% 6.0%
Dayton 46 7,316 20.2% 1.3%
Dickson 47 14,814 15.6% 3.7%
Winchester 48 8,493 22.1% 0.0%
Crossville 49 11,125 21.3% 0.2%
Sweetwater 50 5,856 21.6% 0.0%
Knoxville 51 181,759 13.0% 4.8%
Nashville 52 624,261 13.8% 4.1%
East Ridge 53 21,220 13.5% 4.5%
Brownsville 54 10,079 21.0% 0.0%
Soddy-Daisy 55 13,109 17.0% 2.3%
Henderson 56 6,429 20.7% 0.0%
Munford 57 6,001 7.4% 8.1%
Humboldt 58 8,363 18.0% 1.5%
Cleveland 59 42,331 15.5% 2.4%
Martin 60 11,396 10.7% 5.0%
Kingsport 61 52,835 12.3% 3.8%
White House 62 10,618 8.1% 6.1%
Nolensville 63 6,131 2.8% 9.4%
Athens 64 13,603 15.5% 2.1%
Milan 65 7,826 12.3% 3.2%
McKenzie 66 5,561 18.0% 0.0%
Smyrna 67 42,235 9.7% 4.4%
Fairview 68 8,020 10.7% 3.5%
Farragut 69 21,111 3.2% 6.0%
Jefferson City 70 8,342 17.1% 0.0%
Goodlettsville 71 16,466 11.6% 2.5%
Jackson 72 67,190 13.5% 1.6%
Johnson City 73 64,614 11.7% 2.3%
Church Hill 74 6,742 11.9% 2.1%
Clinton 75 9,874 11.7% 2.3%
Oak Ridge 76 29,301 8.0% 2.6%
Signal Mountain 77 8,416 4.8% 3.7%
La Vergne 78 33,637 13.7% 0.3%
Cookeville 79 31,004 13.1% 0.8%
Franklin 80 66,596 5.7% 2.5%
Clarksville 81 140,563 8.4% 1.9%
Millington 82 11,152 12.1% 0.0%
Murfreesboro 83 114,660 8.6% 1.3%
Maryville 84 27,824 10.0% 0.9%
Spring Hill 85 31,467 3.7% 2.0%
Hendersonville 86 53,257 6.7% 1.4%
Collegedale 87 9,488 10.9% 0.0%
Greenbrier 88 6,550 10.0% 0.0%
Mount Juliet 89 27,053 6.9% 1.2%
Collierville 90 46,780 3.4% 1.3%
Atoka 91 8,727 7.4% 0.0%
Bartlett 92 57,805 5.6% 1.0%
Oakland 93 6,944 5.3% 0.0%
Lakeland 94 12,549 5.0% 0.0%
Arlington 95 11,623 3.4% 0.0%
Brentwood 96 39,059 2.3% 0.0%
Germantown 97 39,207 1.9% 0.0%

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4 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In Tennessee

  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

  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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