Maryland is a pretty great state with some wonderfully friendly and hospitable people.
And when it comes to brains, Maryland is relatively smart. In fact, a recent Washington Post study found it to be the 20th smartest state in America – a little dumber than Maine, but a little smarter than Michigan. Maryland’s average IQ is about 103.
That doesn’t mean every single place in Maryland is filled to the brim with brainiacs. But, by looking at the data, we can see which Maryland 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 Old Line State:
- Mount Rainier (Photos)
- Riverdale Park (Photos)
- Bladensburg (Photos)
- Hyattsville (Photos)
- Capitol Heights
- Cambridge (Photos)
- Denton (Photos)
- Seat Pleasant
- Cumberland (Photos)
- Baltimore (Photos)
For more Maryland reading, check out:
How we determined the dumbest cities in the Old Line 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 Maryland:
- % 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 5,000, leaving us 57 cities in Maryland to rank. We also looked at the graduation rates of the entire population, not the current rates for high schoolers.
1. Mount Rainier
Adults Without High School Diploma: 27.5%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 22.0%
Mount Rainier is a small city inside the Capital Beltway, near Washington D.C. When you look at the data, it’s the dumbest place you can live in the state.
Nearly 3 in 10 adults here doesn’t have a GED by the age of 25, which is more than double the state average. But the high schoolers aren’t that much brighter; nearly 1 in 4 kids is currently not enrolled in class.
Both are the 3rd worst in the state of Maryland, making Mount Rainier a place where you’d least likely want to start up a book club.
2. Riverdale Park
Adults Without High School Diploma: 37.0%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 14.6%
Riverdale Park isn’t too far away from Mount Rainier, geographically and educationally. While the high school kids here are a lot smarter, the adults are a lot dumber. In fact, at 63%, the number of adults with a high school education is lower in Riverdale Park than anywhere else in Maryland.
On the bright side, it looks like the kids are learning a lesson, and staying in school a lot more often than their parents did.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 22.5%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 15.6%
The city motto of Bladensburg is, ‘A past to remember, a future to embrace.’ Unfortunately, it looks like the adults don’t remember very much, and many kids don’t have much of a future, considering their educational levels.
The state average for adults to have their GED by the age of 25 in Maryland is 13%. The adults in Bladensburg are far behind the curve there. In Maryland, high school kids average about a 6% dropout rate per city, so the 16 to 19 year olds in this city are also some of the dumbest you’ll find in Maryland.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 23.8%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 13.5%
There are four private schools in this little city near D.C., but for the kids in public schools, things aren’t going very well. Their dropout rate is twice the state average.
But it would be hard to blame the kids, as their parents are twice as dumb as they are. For every 4 people you meet in Hyattsville, about one of them won’t have a diploma by the age of 25.
5. Capitol Heights
Adults Without High School Diploma: 20.4%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 12.7%
Another small city inside the beltway, Capitol Heights residents have also racked up some stupid points.
The adults are 4% smarter, and the high school kids are a little smarter than the kids in Hyattsville. But both populations are far below the state average when it comes to intelligence.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 19.3%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 11.4%
Cambridge believes in, ‘Living, Working, Relaxing…And Loving It.’ It sounds like a lot of the population is relaxing more than anything when you look at how many people here didn’t complete high school.
Jay-Z lived in Cambridge for a while before pursuing a music career. While he’s definitely a musical genius, you might not consider him an all-around bright individual.
Cambridge is one of a few cities on this list that’s not in the Washington D.C. metro area.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 13.7%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 23.3%
Denton is a cute little town near Maryland’s eastern shore. But a lot of the residents in this tiny city are dumb as rocks.
There’s only one other city in Maryland where the high school kids have a higher dropout rate. At 23%, that’s 4 times the state average. So, it seems as if the younger generation here is behind the low bar set by their parents, which is a sign that things will be tough here for years to come.
8. Seat Pleasant
Adults Without High School Diploma: 18.1%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 11.9%
Both the adult population and the high school kids rank 11th dumbest in this little city in the D.C. metro area.
While the adults are dumber than those in Denton by a wide margin, the kids are far smarter. But you’d have to figure not too many residents of Seat Pleasant will win any Trivial Pursuit games in the near future.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 13.3%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 16.5%
Things seem to be getting dumber in this Allegany County city. The high school population is a full 3% dumber than their parents, meaning the kids here are setting themselves up for an even tougher life than their parents had.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 19.1%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 7.4%
You might be surprised that Baltimore isn’t a lot further up on this list, considering how many crimes and murders happen here. But the fact remains that while the adult population is 40% dumber than the average Maryland resident, the high school kids are actually going to class. The dropout rate in Baltimore is only a tick above the state average.
And that’s all something we can get behind.
Putting a dunce cap on our analysis
If you’re measuring the locations in Maryland 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 Maryland: Poolesville, Chesapeake Beach, Manchester, Bowie and Hampstead. Those smart places are spread out all over the state.
Rockville is the 7th smartest city in Maryland, where only 2.7% of kids are dropouts. Frederick and Gaithersburg trend towards the middle. And College Park has an extremely low dropout rate, but 13% of adults don’t have a high school diploma, which is on par for the state average.
We also wrote about the 10 most ghetto cities in Maryland if you wanted to read that story.
Detailed List Of Dumbest Cities In Maryland
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