South Carolina might be a great place to live in many ways, but if intellect is important to you, it leaves a lot to be desired.
According to a recent article published by The Washington Post, South Carolina is the sixth dumbest state in the country, with well below average scores in every intelligence category.
That doesn’t mean the state is filled to the brim with blockheads though. It just means that some cities are dragging South Carolina’s overall IQ down a few points. Which ones?
After crunching the numbers, we came up with this list of the ten dumbest cities in the Palmetto State:
- Dillon (Photos)
- York (Photos)
- Greenwood (Photos)
- Chester (Photos)
- Abbeville (Photos)
- Walterboro (Photos)
- Anderson (Photos)
- North Charleston (Photos)
For more South Carolina reading, check out:
- Worst Cities in South Carolina
- Most Dangerous Cities in South Carolina
- Safest Cities in South Carolina
How we determined the dumbest cities in the Palmetto 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 South Carolina:
- % 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 62 cities in South Carolina 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: 36.4%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 18.6%
According to the data, Dillon, South Carolina is the dumbest city in the state. How’d it earn such a bad title?
Well for starters, Dillon has the second highest rate of uneducated adults in South Carolinian cities with populations over 5,000.
A whopping 36.4% of Dillon’s residents over the age of 25 lack a high school diploma, which is well over twice as high as the statewide average.
The current teenage high school dropout rate is also more than three times as high as the state average, with nearly 19 of every 100 Dillon’s teenage students opting out of basic education each year.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 26.7%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 24.7%
York ranks as the second dumbest city in South Carolina overall, with a much lower rate of uneducated adults and a much higher rate of teenage dropouts than Dillon.
23.6% of York’s under 18 population lives below the poverty line, so it stands to reason that it’s tough to stay in school when things are financially rocky at home.
Still, with nearly a quarter of teens dropping out high school each year in York, the city’s dropout rate is roughly 5 times higher than the state average, and ranks as the third highest in the state.
The adults in York don’t do much to help the city’s smartness score, with 26.7% of residents over the age of 25 lacking a GED.
With poor education in both generations, York seems doomed to stay stupid for years to come.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 28.8%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 13.5%
Located in western South Carolina, Greenwood has pretty poor statistics in both categories, giving it the title of third dumbest city in the state overall.
Greenwood has seen a sharp economic decline in recent years of deindustrialization, and a seriously undereducated adult population doesn’t help the situation.
Only about 71% of Greenwood’s adults finished high school, which is the eleventh worst rate in the state.
On top of that, 13.5% of Greenwood’s teenagers drop out of high school each year, which is well below the statewide average.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 28.1%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 13.2%
Located in northeastern South Carolina on the Great Pee Dee River, Bennettsville has both its adults and teens to blame for its fourth place position on this list.
28.1% of the city’s adult population never earned their high school diploma, which is the twelfth highest rate in the state.
About 13 of every 100 teenagers in Bennettsville also drop out of high school each year, which seriously hurts the city’s smartness score.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 29.0%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 10.2%
All of the first five cities on this list are in the northern portion of the state, so apparently, that’s where most of South Carolina’s blockheads live.
Another northern city, Chester, sees 10.2% of its teenagers drop out of high school each year, which is about twice as high as the state average for cities with populations over 5,000.
The city’s adults are even worse in terms of education, with 29% of residents over the age of 25 lacking a GED.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 23.3%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 11.4%
Abbeville’s motto touts that the city is “Pretty. Near. Perfect,” but, in terms of intelligence, that is Far. From. True.
Only about three quarters of the city’s adult population finished high school, which is the 20th worst rate in the state.
Teens in Abbeville are also dropping out at twice the rate as the rest of state, with 11.4% of them leaving high school each year.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 17.5%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 21.2%
The first city on this list to be located in the southern portion of the state, Walterboro is about 50 miles west of Charleston.
Walterboro’s main issue is its ridiculously high teenage high school dropout rate; 21.2% of teens drop out each year, which is the fifth highest rate in the state for cities with populations over 5,000.
The adults aren’t nearly as bad; 17.5% of the city’s residents over the age of 25 never finished high school, but that’s only slightly higher than the statewide average.
It’s far more troublesome that Walterboro’s future generation is going to be even less educated than the current one.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 27.4%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 5.7%
Clinton ranks as the eighth dumbest city in South Carolina overall.
27.4% of the city’s adults lack a high school diploma, which is the 15th highest rate in the state.
On the bright side, the teenage high school dropout rate of 5.7% is only slightly higher than the state average.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 22.2%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 5.8%
Located 50 miles west of Clinton, Anderson is slightly smarter, but not by a whole lot.
Anderson’s economy is primarily based around manufacturing, so it might not matter much that 22.2% of the city’s adults never completed basic formal education.
The teenage high school dropout rate also isn’t horrendous, but it’s still higher than the state average.
10. North Charleston
Adults Without High School Diploma: 19.3%
Teenage High School Dropouts: 8.8%
The third largest city in the state and the biggest one to make this list, North Charleston is the tenth dumbest city in South Carolina.
19.3% of the city’s adults lack a GED, and 8.8% of the city’s teenagers drop out of high school each year, both of which are well worse than most other South Carolina cities.
Putting a dunce cap on our analysis
If you’re measuring the locations in South Carolina 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 South Carolina, in order: Tega Cay, Forest Acres, Charleston, Mauldin, and Port Royal. They are pretty well spread out over the state, so there doesn’t seem to be a geographic correlation with smarts in South Carolina.
Other notable cities: South Carolina’s capital, Columbia, ranked as the 20th smartest city in the state, with a super low teenage dropout rate of 1.5%.
Mount Pleasant is the 7th smartest city in the state, with 97.6% of the city’s adults possessing a high school diploma.
Rock Hill is the 30th dumbest city in the state, but has above average scores in both categories compared to the statewide average.
Detailed List Of Dumbest Cities In South Carolina
|North Myrtle Beach||47|
|Hilton Head Island||54|