The 10 Dumbest Cities In America For 2021

We used science and data to determine which American cities are real dummies.

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Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the dumbest cities to live in America. This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment — don’t freak out.

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Americans like to think they’re the best when it comes to just about everything, when measured against other nations. While we’re certainly the richest, most freedom loving, and pretty much the bodyguards for the poor and defenseless, we’ve known for years that we’re certainly not the smartest country on earth.

Recently, we ranked 28th when it came to math and science scores, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

We’re really smart, people. Just not the smartest. And we’re working on it.

We wanted to measure the biggest cities in the U.S. to see where the most dummies live.

So, how do you decide which city in the U.S. is the dumbest? By measuring the high school graduation rate of the entire population, and looking at the number of educational vs. drinking opportunities in these places, that’s how.

Plus, we thought why not add in a stereotype? Cause, you know, women are always saying that they are smarter than men. That might not actually be a stereotype, though. According to ABC News, women just passed men on IQ tests.

Using that criteria, it’s not hard to scrape the internet, run some scientific data on where the largest pockets of dumb people in America might live, and then put out a list.

Are we seeing a pattern here? Just about all of the cities on this list are in California and Texas. Is that a surprise?

Also, we’re not saying the people in these cities – or the cities themselves – are bad. We’re just making an observation that as a majority, they’re not the brightest bulbs in the room.

Read on below to see where your town ranked.

Or if you’re simply not interested in reading about dumb, and you don’t care about this list, check out:

The 10 Dumbest Cities In America For 2021

Salinas, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 156,143
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 2)
Adult High School Dropout: 41.0% (2nd worst)
Adult Highly Educated: 13.0% (6th worst)
More on Salinas:  Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

So here’s the deal with Salinas: It has one of the nation’s highest number of uneducated residents. That’s a fact. But the library to bar ratio is actually respectable. There are quite a few libraries in town here.

For that reason, we’re arguing that there’s no excuse that such a large percentage of the population remains uneducated. Like quite a few other cities on this list, Salinas is a huge agricultural town, and it has one of the largest concentrations of illegal immigrants in the nation.

El Monte, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 115,517
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Adult High School Dropout: 41.0% (2nd worst)
Adult Highly Educated: 13.0% (6th worst)
More on El Monte:  Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

El Monte is just a bit east of Los Angeles. Here, 47% of the residents are high school dropouts. There are 10 bars for every library here. In fact, there aren’t very many libraries at all in El Monte.

We’re not saying that a lack of libraries is a sign that people are stupid. We get it: Lots of people don’t attend libraries, and you can learn anything you want on the web. That’s if you have the web. There are large percentages of every large city that don’t have a computer or internet, and rely on a library in which to learn.

And that would be really tough in El Monte.

San Bernardino, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 216,089
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Adult High School Dropout: 31.0% (7th worst)
Adult Highly Educated: 12.0% (3rd worst)
More on San Bernardino:  Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

San Bernardino has been on our list before. And, we can attest that there are lots and lots of dumb people walking around San Bernardino any given day. While there are a decent number of city libraries here, if you ask a native of San Bernardino, they’d tell you the bars and clubs are much more popular.

It’s a place of high crime, and one where the people who have a decent education move away from. And it seems that those who have no motivation to excel in life take their place.

Rialto, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 103,045
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Adult High School Dropout: 30.0% (10th worst)
Adult Highly Educated: 11.0% (2nd worst)
More on Rialto:  Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Santa Maria, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 106,224
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Adult High School Dropout: 40.0% (4th worst)
Adult Highly Educated: 14.0% (10th worst)
More on Santa Maria:  Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Santa Ana, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 332,794
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Adult High School Dropout: 40.0% (4th worst)
Adult Highly Educated: 15.0% (12th worst)
More on Santa Ana:  Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

When you have 22 bars for every library, and half of the people in your city are walking around without a high school education, that’s a sign that your town is lacking some real intelligence.

While we’re not judging the individual intelligence level of anyone in Santa Ana in particular, it’s clear there’s not a lot upstairs with many, many people here.

Santa Ana is centrally located in Orange County, and it’s considered one of the most densely populated cities in the country.

Paterson, NJ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 145,710
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Adult High School Dropout: 26.0% (16th worst)
Adult Highly Educated: 11.0% (2nd worst)
More on Paterson:  Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 105,653
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Adult High School Dropout: 29.0% (12th worst)
Adult Highly Educated: 13.0% (6th worst)
More on Jurupa Valley:  Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Elizabeth, NJ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 128,333
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Adult High School Dropout: 27.0% (14th worst)
Adult Highly Educated: 13.0% (6th worst)
More on Elizabeth:  Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

Hialeah, FL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 234,539
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Adult High School Dropout: 30.0% (8th worst)
Adult Highly Educated: 16.0% (18th worst)
More on Hialeah:  Data | Crime | Cost Of Living

What stupid criteria did we use?

In order to rank the dumbest cities in the USA of A, we had to determine what criteria defines a dumb person.

We started by making a list of every place in the U.S. with over 100,000 people based on the 2015-2019 American Community Survey. That left us with ~250 places to rank.

We then looked at the following dumb-tastic criteria for each of the places on the list:

  • High school graduation rates
  • Number of bars vs. libraries per capita
  • Number of men in a city

Note: For the sake of getting reliable numbers, we counted places within a city’s border, as well as within a short driving distance.
You can download the data here.

There You Have It — The Dumbest Big Cities in America

If you’re measuring the locations in America where there are a high number of dropouts, few libraries, and where men tend to dominate, this is an accurate list.

A study by the Washington Post said women have better verbal skills than men. To that study, I say, “Duh!”

If you’re curious enough, here are the least stupid places in America. Or, the smartest, if you will:

  1. Irvine
  2. Ann Arbor
  3. Boulder

Detailed List Of The Dumbest Places To Live In America

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Salinas, CA 156,143 13.0%
2 El Monte, CA 115,517 13.0%
3 San Bernardino, CA 216,089 12.0%
4 Rialto, CA 103,045 11.0%
5 Santa Maria, CA 106,224 14.0%
6 Santa Ana, CA 332,794 15.0%
7 Paterson, NJ 145,710 11.0%
8 Jurupa Valley, CA 105,653 13.0%
9 Elizabeth, NJ 128,333 13.0%
10 Hialeah, FL 234,539 16.0%
11 Pasadena, TX 153,350 15.0%
12 Palmdale, CA 156,293 15.0%
13 Pomona, CA 152,209 18.0%
14 Newark, NJ 281,054 15.0%
15 Ontario, CA 176,760 17.0%
16 Victorville, CA 121,902 13.0%
17 Moreno Valley, CA 207,289 16.0%
18 Brownsville, TX 182,271 19.0%
19 Laredo, TX 259,151 19.0%
20 Hartford, CT 123,088 18.0%
21 Oxnard, CA 208,154 19.0%
22 Norwalk, CA 105,304 18.0%
23 Fontana, CA 210,759 18.0%
24 Miami Gardens, FL 111,363 14.0%
25 Allentown, PA 120,915 16.0%
26 Bridgeport, CT 145,639 19.0%
27 Stockton, CA 309,228 19.0%
28 Kansas City, KS 152,522 18.0%
29 Inglewood, CA 109,613 21.0%
30 West Valley City, UT 136,009 15.0%
31 Springfield, MA 154,139 19.0%
32 Waterbury, CT 108,276 16.0%
33 Mesquite, TX 143,456 17.0%
34 Cleveland, OH 385,282 17.0%
35 North Las Vegas, NV 241,369 17.0%
36 Garden Grove, CA 173,258 23.0%
37 Lancaster, CA 159,028 17.0%
38 Detroit, MI 674,841 16.0%
39 Odessa, TX 119,702 19.0%
40 Riverside, CA 326,414 22.0%
41 Fresno, CA 525,010 23.0%
42 Downey, CA 112,322 23.0%
43 Garland, TX 238,418 24.0%
44 Anaheim, CA 349,964 25.0%
45 Corpus Christi, TX 325,780 21.0%
46 Vista, CA 100,686 24.0%
47 Bakersfield, CA 377,917 22.0%
48 Escondido, CA 151,300 24.0%
49 Grand Prairie, TX 192,565 24.0%
50 Dayton, OH 140,569 19.0%
51 Elgin, IL 112,653 25.0%
52 Modesto, CA 212,616 20.0%
53 North Charleston, SC 111,501 22.0%
54 Glendale, AZ 247,813 22.0%
55 El Paso, TX 679,813 25.0%
56 El Cajon, CA 103,186 21.0%
57 Augusta-Richmond County Consolidated Government (Balance), GA 197,191 21.0%
58 Visalia, CA 132,104 23.0%
59 Joliet, IL 147,826 22.0%
60 Rochester, NY 206,848 25.0%
61 Lowell, MA 111,306 24.0%
62 Toledo, OH 276,614 18.0%
63 Warren, MI 134,797 18.0%
64 Waco, TX 135,858 25.0%
65 Amarillo, TX 198,955 23.0%
66 Greeley, CO 105,888 24.0%
67 Richmond, CA 109,884 28.0%
68 Evansville, IN 118,588 21.0%
69 Milwaukee, WI 594,548 24.0%
70 Rockford, IL 147,070 23.0%
71 Pompano Beach, FL 110,062 25.0%
72 Antioch, CA 111,200 21.0%
73 Miami, FL 454,279 30.0%
74 San Angelo, TX 100,031 24.0%
75 Phoenix, AZ 1,633,017 28.0%
76 San Antonio, TX 1,508,083 27.0%
77 Gresham, OR 110,494 23.0%
78 Pueblo, CO 110,841 19.0%
79 Syracuse, NY 142,874 28.0%
80 Mcallen, TX 141,968 31.0%
81 Aurora, IL 199,927 31.0%
82 Wichita Falls, TX 104,279 24.0%
83 Akron, OH 198,051 21.0%
84 Birmingham, AL 212,297 26.0%
85 Buffalo, NY 256,480 27.0%
86 Fort Worth, TX 874,401 29.0%
87 Hayward, CA 159,293 28.0%
88 Corona, CA 166,972 27.0%
89 South Bend, IN 102,037 26.0%
90 Dallas, TX 1,330,612 33.0%
91 West Covina, CA 106,589 28.0%
92 Las Vegas, NV 634,773 25.0%
93 Long Beach, CA 466,776 31.0%
94 Abilene, TX 124,156 23.0%
95 Beaumont, TX 118,151 24.0%
96 Chula Vista, CA 268,920 29.0%
97 Kent, WA 131,118 26.0%
98 Shreveport, LA 192,035 24.0%
99 Providence, RI 179,494 31.0%
100 Hollywood, FL 152,511 27.0%

13 thoughts on “The 10 Dumbest Cities In America For 2021

  1. I believe you have failed to consider that many of the “high school dropouts” in El Monte are immigrants who had limited educational opportunities in their native countries and who, more importantly, risked life and limb to bring their children to our country so that their children would have a better chance at an education.

    These are some of the smartest people you’ll ever meet, and I’m honored to serve these people of courage, self-sacrifice, and perseverance as a teacher in El Monte.

  2. I really don’t understand what sex has to to with the average intelligence of a city. Sure, more women than men are graduating from the college and high school level, but that statistic was clearly covered by the high school graduation rate, which is really the only statistic that matters in this survey as far as getting an estimate on an IQ median of a population is concerned. I just can’t help but wonder if the author simply wants to degrade men for the sake of it. It feels like reading about the poverty of a city being attributed to the number of blacks or latinos/hispanics found in the specified city instead of the economic conditions in which many of them work. Yep. Pretty offensive and illogical stuff.

  3. I is fum conntickut and yous aint know nothing bout ratio impmalcemt
    from google : a ratio is a relationship between two numbers indicating how many times the first number contains the second.[1] For example, if a bowl of fruit contains eight oranges and six lemons, then the ratio of oranges to lemons is eight to six (that is, 8:6, which is equivalent to the ratio 4:3). PRICK

  4. This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out.

    Obviously any of the people who are triggered did not read this. Also, I am from Santa Ana and I totally agree with it because there are so many people who just do not try even though they are given all the opportunities.

  5. They factoring population of men because factually Women are Smarter than men so the more men you have in that City if it’s over 50% basically it’s saying with the fact that women are statistically smarter than men depending on how many men live there is going to make that City not as intelligent as others

    1) it’s a fun study using publicly updated Wikipedia as a source. NOT SCIENTIFIC
    2) Illegal aliens bring down the literacy rates. It’s not profiling, it’s a FACT. Mexico doesn’t ship its best & brightest to the US! They don’t want the unskilled! (they’re the smart ones)
    3) How stupid can you be to NOT attract WOMEN to your town! Unless it’s a White Party, no one likes a sausage fest

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