These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In Kentucky


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

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Kentucky is a pretty great state with some wonderfully friendly and hospitable people.

And when it comes to brains, Kentucky is about average, coming in as the 31st dumbest state in the country. In fact, a recent Washington Post study found it to be a little smarter than Indiana, but a little smarter than Oklahoma.

That doesn’t mean every single place in Kentucky is filled to the brim with blockheads. In fact, by looking at the data, we can see which Kentucky cities are contributing to the state’s intelligence deficit the most.

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

  1. Beaver Dam
  2. London (Photos)
  3. Lancaster (Photos)
  4. Prestonsburg (Photos)
  5. Carrollton (Photos)
  6. Paintsville (Photos)
  7. Louisa (Photos)
  8. Leitchfield (Photos)
  9. Cynthiana (Photos)
  10. Shelbyville (Photos)

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How we determined the dumbest cities in the Bluegrass 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 Kentucky:

  • % of city’s population with less than a high school education (Age 25+)
  • % of high school drop outs (Ages 16-19)

Note: We only looked at cities with populations greater than 2,000, leaving us 112 cities in Kentucky 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. Beaver Dam

Dumbest Kentucky

Source: Public Domain

Population: 2,429
Adults Without High School Diploma: 30.7%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 23.7%

Beaver Dam is a little city along I-69, west of Elizabethtown. When you look at the data, this is the dumbest place in Kentucky. More than 30% of the adults here don’t have a high school diploma by the age of 25, which is twice the state average.

But the kids are also to blame. At 23.7%, they are the 5th dumbest teens in Kentucky.

They both need to crack the books.

2. London

Dumbest Kentucky

Population: 5,613
Adults Without High School Diploma: 26.0%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 24.3%

London’s 16 to 19 year-olds are actually dumber than those in Beaver Dam, but the adult population is 4% smarter, making London a little less unintelligent, overall.

London has a technical college and a community college in town, but it appears as if many of the kids who should be enrolled cannot get in because they don’t have the basic educational requirements.

3. Lancaster

Dumbest Kentucky

Population: 2,458
Adults Without High School Diploma: 27.2%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 17.3%

This teeny city out in the sticks south of Lexington has a much smarter group of kids, but they’re still 4 times less ‘smart’ than other kids their age.

But their parents share the blame here; they’re 6th in Kentucky when it comes to the number of adults who are walking around without a high school diploma.

4. Prestonsburg

Dumbest Kentucky

Source: Public domain

Population: 2,333
Adults Without High School Diploma: 25.3%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 23.3%

Prestonsburg is another small city in Kentucky with a very high number of uneducated residents. The adults and the kids are both off the charts dumb when you consider their education numbers.

The adults are almost twice as stupid as the average Kentuckian, and the kids are 6 times dumber.

As a result, more than a quarter of the population here lives below the poverty line.

5. Carrollton

Dumbest Kentucky

Population: 2,551
Adults Without High School Diploma: 24.9%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 14.0%

Both the adults and high schoolers in Carrollton are smarter than the population of Prestonsburg, making them 6th on this list. Still, at a 14% dropout rate, the 16 to 19 year olds need to get their act in gear if they want a different life than that of their parents.

Carrollton lies along the Ohio River.

6. Paintsville

Dumbest Kentucky

Population: 3,085
Adults Without High School Diploma: 22.2%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 24.1%

In Paintsville, things seem to be getting dumber with time. Adults are pretty uneducated as it is, a full 7% less educated than the state average, but the kids are even worse. Nearly a quarter of the population of teens isn’t currently enrolled in high school, which is 6 times higher than the state average.

7. Louisa

Dumbest Kentucky

Source: Public domain

Population: 2,016
Adults Without High School Diploma: 23.1%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 14.0%

While the residents over 25 in Louisa are about as dumb as those in Paintsville, the kids are far smarter, making this little city along the West Virginia line a little brighter than the cities listed above.

However, for the most part, both population groups would need some major tutoring to get back to where most of their peers are, educationally.

8. Leitchfield

Dumbest Kentucky

Source: Public domain

Population: 4,384
Adults Without High School Diploma: 25.7%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 8.8%

Due to the high number of uneducated adults, the small town of Leitchfield has many residents living in poverty. The adults are the 9th dumbest in the state, a full 10% dumber than the average Kentucky resident.

However, it looks like the high school kids are getting the message, as their dropout rate is far lower, and ‘only’ 3% points behind the state average.

9. Cynthiana

Dumbest Kentucky

Population: 4,285
Adults Without High School Diploma: 21.6%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 17.5%

Cynthiana is home to a community college, but it appears as if a lot of the kids won’t be able to take advantage of the educational opportunity here. A whopping 17.5% of them are dropouts according to the latest numbers.

While really high, 21% of the adult population without a GED is actually only the 25th lowest number in the state.

10. Shelbyville

Dumbest Kentucky

Source: Public domain

Population: 8,884
Adults Without High School Diploma: 20.5%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 23.8%

Like most of the cities on this list, Shelbyville is far from a major city center. Halfway between Frankfort and Louisville, this small city has seen what was a large dropout adult rate get even worse over time.

At 23.8%, the high school dropout rate here is the 4th highest in the state, and 5 times higher than the state average.

Putting a dunce cap on our analysis

If you’re measuring the locations in Kentucky 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 smartest cities in Kentucky: Prospect, Indian Hills, Crestview, Union and Edgewood. The first two are Louisville ‘burbs, and the last three are all Cincinnati suburbs.

Other cities of note: Lexington is far smarter than Louisville. The latter has an adult population of 13% which never completed high school. Lexington’s is 10.7%. And Lexington’s high school kids are twice as smart, when you consider dropout rates.

Bowling Green trends smarter.

Detailed List Of Dumbest Cities In Kentucky

City Rank Population Adults Without High School Diploma Teenage High School Drop Outs
Beaver Dam 1 2,429 30.7% 23.7%
London 2 5,613 26.0% 24.3%
Lancaster 3 2,458 27.2% 17.3%
Prestonsburg 4 2,333 25.3% 23.3%
Carrollton 5 2,551 24.9% 14.0%
Paintsville 6 3,085 22.2% 24.1%
Louisa 7 2,016 23.1% 14.0%
Leitchfield 8 4,384 25.7% 8.8%
Cynthiana 9 4,285 21.6% 17.5%
Shelbyville 10 8,884 20.5% 23.8%
Middlesborough 11 6,972 31.5% 4.6%
Monticello 12 4,250 33.3% 3.9%
Newport 13 10,457 22.0% 8.6%
Marion 14 2,184 23.4% 5.2%
Somerset 15 7,986 21.0% 9.9%
West Liberty 16 2,431 22.5% 6.3%
Mount Sterling 17 5,003 17.3% 22.4%
Hazard 18 3,819 19.2% 10.1%
Stanford 19 2,331 16.0% 13.3%
Mayfield 20 6,497 24.5% 3.1%
Paris 21 6,347 17.8% 9.1%
Russellville 22 4,906 25.8% 2.7%
Shepherdsville 23 7,033 16.0% 11.7%
Covington 24 27,350 18.1% 7.7%
Campbellsville 25 7,007 18.7% 6.1%
Henderson 26 20,006 15.8% 11.4%
Maysville 27 6,229 19.9% 5.0%
Winchester 28 12,587 20.2% 4.6%
Hillview 29 5,129 14.8% 13.2%
Elsmere 30 5,371 20.2% 4.3%
Versailles 31 6,068 18.2% 5.0%
Lebanon 32 3,654 22.7% 2.7%
Pikeville 33 4,826 22.8% 2.4%
Hodgenville 34 2,352 28.3% 1.1%
Columbia 35 2,957 29.6% 0.0%
Corbin 36 4,823 19.8% 3.0%
Park Hills 37 2,165 8.9% 33.3%
Princeton 38 4,308 12.7% 10.2%
Bardstown 39 7,953 13.1% 9.8%
Glasgow 40 9,627 24.0% 0.0%
Frankfort 41 18,644 14.4% 5.7%
Dayton 42 3,465 16.5% 3.8%
Scottsville 43 2,788 23.0% 0.0%
Crittenden 44 2,151 10.9% 9.9%
Harrodsburg 45 5,594 22.7% 0.0%
Flemingsburg 46 2,030 22.7% 0.0%
Williamsburg 47 3,092 19.5% 2.3%
Greenville 48 3,168 21.9% 0.0%
Ashland 49 15,214 11.9% 7.2%
Providence 50 2,230 21.5% 0.0%
Hopkinsville 51 21,420 15.2% 3.3%
Williamstown 52 2,341 21.4% 0.0%
Lawrenceburg 53 7,439 13.1% 5.1%
Louisville 54 407,132 13.1% 4.9%
Franklin 55 5,599 20.1% 0.0%
Paducah 56 17,856 14.3% 3.7%
Nicholasville 57 18,390 17.4% 1.4%
Radcliff 58 14,251 10.5% 5.4%
Benton 59 3,028 14.7% 3.0%
Ludlow 60 2,904 14.7% 2.9%
Jeffersontown 61 18,762 7.8% 8.5%
Richmond 62 17,391 14.8% 2.3%
Berea 63 8,383 15.9% 1.6%
Shively 64 10,390 17.4% 0.0%
Eddyville 65 2,014 17.2% 0.0%
Elizabethtown 66 19,241 12.1% 3.6%
Central City 67 4,168 16.8% 0.0%
Danville 68 10,692 12.2% 3.0%
Grayson 69 2,519 16.4% 0.0%
Alexandria 70 5,645 6.2% 6.2%
Bowling Green 71 33,390 15.7% 0.8%
Owensboro 72 38,825 14.2% 2.0%
Vine Grove 73 3,720 8.4% 4.9%
Crestwood 74 2,756 6.7% 5.2%
Murray 75 9,038 15.7% 0.3%
Georgetown 76 18,806 12.1% 2.6%
Highland Heights 77 3,805 8.0% 4.3%
Morehead 78 2,993 15.0% 0.0%
Walton 79 2,368 7.8% 4.1%
La Grange 80 5,457 9.5% 2.9%
Crescent Springs 81 2,379 14.0% 0.0%
Lexington-Fayette 82 196,497 10.8% 2.2%
Morganfield 83 2,558 13.9% 0.0%
Madisonville 84 13,612 13.3% 0.0%
Flatwoods 85 5,491 13.2% 0.0%
Florence 86 20,742 11.4% 1.5%
Mount Washington 87 7,712 9.4% 1.7%
Independence 88 15,582 10.0% 1.3%
Bellevue 89 4,306 10.8% 0.0%
Wilmore 90 3,104 10.1% 0.0%
Oak Grove 91 3,562 9.5% 0.0%
Russell 92 2,348 8.7% 0.0%
Erlanger 93 12,597 7.6% 1.0%
Fort Thomas 94 11,094 6.7% 1.2%
Fort Wright 95 3,995 5.4% 2.1%
Taylor Mill 96 4,653 7.5% 0.0%
Douglass Hills 97 4,010 7.1% 0.0%
St. Matthews 98 13,246 5.1% 1.7%
Lyndon 99 7,932 6.2% 0.0%
Southgate 100 2,537 6.2% 0.0%
Graymoor-Devondale 101 2,292 5.9% 0.0%
Wilder 102 2,245 5.9% 0.0%
Hurstbourne 103 3,305 5.6% 0.0%
Villa Hills 104 5,300 5.3% 0.0%
Middletown 105 5,550 4.9% 0.0%
Cold Spring 106 4,522 4.3% 0.0%
Fort Mitchell 107 5,402 3.5% 0.0%
Edgewood 108 5,995 3.3% 0.0%
Union 109 3,164 2.7% 0.0%
Crestview Hills 110 2,249 2.1% 0.0%
Indian Hills 111 2,111 1.2% 0.0%
Prospect 112 3,534 0.9% 0.0%

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10 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In Kentucky

  1. I live in Beaver Dam, Kentucky and I am very proud to live here. You have wrote an article to belittle and make fun of people, and of course you choose Kentucky as your state. The data that you mentioned may be out there and may even be true, but at least the people that live in this town are kind hearted and good natured, and better people than you ever dreamt of being. Have a nice day and think before you type next time!

  2. The only thing dumb in this is to think that a High School Diploma is a sign of intellegence, it’s not, it’s a sign you can conform to what society (ie the state) wants from you and not what you want for your self. I earn twice the national average and have an IQ of 134, may not be Mensa but certianly not dumb

  3. I used to live there. In fact grew up there. I don’t visit anymore because everytime I did I lost IQ points. I’m just saying……

  4. Using dropout rates and/or GEDs as a base? Ha! Worst state to do that with! I know many people throughout the state. That add to your “dumb” credentials that could shame a college student. This is why statistics fail; they don’t get the true idea. True, our state’s education isn’t the best and from what it seems, in some places at least, it has gotten worse since the 90s. I am glad to say that i stuck out through school and have my diploma. It doesn’t mean much to be honest, but I have it.

  5. As former Superintendent of Public Education in Kentucky I would like to say that I found your survey interesting, however the most important question was not included in your intelligence determining criteria.
    QUESTION:
    WHAT IS THE PERCENTAGE OF YOUR POPULATION THAT BELIIEVE JESUS CHRIST IS YOUR LORD AND SAVIOUR?
    NO DEGREES REQUIRED!
    PRAISE THE LORD AND PASS THE AMMUNITION OF GODLY PRINCIPLES AND LOVE.

  6. Propaganda goes into determining what kids are supposed to learn and not learn in public schools. Liberal arts classes are garbage as far as providing worthwhile information to minds. Very few high school graduates can balance a checkbook, know who really funds a bank loan, know that cancer cells can’t survive if the cells inside the body are in an alkaline environment, or know the fact that the District of Columbia is a foreign territory. Accounting, economics, history, science, and political science classes are filled with speculative and false information. Students are not taught to question anything. The ultimate goal is to dumb down future generations.

    A BA college degree was as waste of valuable time and effort for me. Getting a job today is all about what your last name is or who you are.

  7. Many of your populations are off. Also think about this statement at the beginning of your article… “In fact, a recent Washington Post study found it to be a little smarter than Indiana, but a little smarter than Oklahoma”. Ironic that you’re calling other people dumb.

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