The 10 Dumbest Places In Virginia For 2023

The dumbest places in Virginia are Emporia and Richlands for 2023 based on Saturday Night Science.

The unfortunate fact of the matter is that some places in the Old Dominion have a larger percent of their population that never graduated from high school.

While the emphasis on going to college might be overblown, the fact is that not graduating from high school puts you at a significant disadvantage on average. Educational attainment might not be the best way to measure one person’s intelligence, but it does shine a light on the state.

We will use Saturday Night Science to determine what places in Virginia have the highest percentage of adults without a high school degree.

A recent study we published found that Virginia is actually the 9th smartest state in the United States, with an average IQ of 101.

But that doesn’t mean that a few cities in Virginia are a bit slower than others due to a lack of basic education.

After crunching the numbers, we ranked the ten dumbest cities in the Old Dominion.

Don’t freak out.

Some places are just smarter than others, but that says nothing about the character of the people living there. It’s another data point a real estate agent would never tell you.

For this ranking, we only looked at cities with populations greater than 5,000, leaving us 63 cities in Virginia to rank. You can take a look at the data below.

For more Virginia reading, check out:

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

The 10 Dumbest Places In Virginia For 2023

Emporia, VA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 5,761
% Adult High School Dropout: 26.0%
% Highly Educated: 12.0%
More on Emporia:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Richlands, VA

Source: Wikipedia User Brian Stansberry | CC BY 4.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 5,300
% Adult High School Dropout: 17.0%
% Highly Educated: 15.0%
More on Richlands:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Big Stone Gap, VA

Source: Wikipedia User KJPurscell | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 5,280
% Adult High School Dropout: 24.0%
% Highly Educated: 19.0%
More on Big Stone Gap:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Marion, VA

Source: Wikipedia User DwayneP (talk) | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 5,817
% Adult High School Dropout: 18.0%
% Highly Educated: 18.0%
More on Marion:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Front Royal, VA

Source: Wikipedia User Jason Riedy | CC BY 2.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 15,039
% Adult High School Dropout: 19.0%
% Highly Educated: 18.0%
More on Front Royal:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Galax, VA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 6,681
% Adult High School Dropout: 20.0%
% Highly Educated: 19.0%
More on Galax:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Hopewell, VA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 23,020
% Adult High School Dropout: 15.0%
% Highly Educated: 11.0%
More on Hopewell:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

South Boston, VA

Source: Wikipedia User Eduardo Montes-Bradley | CC BY-SA 4.0
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 8,011
% Adult High School Dropout: 16.0%
% Highly Educated: 17.0%
More on South Boston:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Orange, VA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 5,012
% Adult High School Dropout: 18.0%
% Highly Educated: 19.0%
More on Orange:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Buena Vista, VA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 6,649
% Adult High School Dropout: 20.0%
% Highly Educated: 20.0%
More on Buena Vista:  Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Methodology: How we determined the dumbest cities in the Old Dominion

We realize that formal education is only part of it when it comes to being intelligent, but on the other hand, 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 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 Virginia:

  • % of the city’s population with less than a high school education (Age 25+)
  • % of city’s population with a college degree (Age 25+)

We got the data from the U.S. Census 2017-2021 American Community Survey.

Then, our algorithm generates a rank for each place in these categories. After crunching all the numbers, a ranking of the cities in Virginia from dumbest to brightest.

For this ranking, we used every Virginia city with at least 5,000 residents. We updated this article for 2023, and it’s our tenth time ranking the dumbest cities in Virginia.

There You Have It – Now That You’re Asleep

If you’re measuring the locations in Virginia where there are a high number of dropouts and adults who never received a formal education, this is an accurate ranking.

If you’re also curious enough, here are the smartest places in Virginia, according to science:

  1. Falls Church
  2. Blacksburg
  3. Lexington

For more Virginia reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Dumbest Cities In Virginia For 2023

Rank City Population
1 Emporia, VA 5,761
2 Richlands, VA 5,300
3 Big Stone Gap, VA 5,280
4 Marion, VA 5,817
5 Front Royal, VA 15,039
6 Galax, VA 6,681
7 Hopewell, VA 23,020
8 South Boston, VA 8,011
9 Orange, VA 5,012
10 Buena Vista, VA 6,649
11 Danville, VA 42,556
12 Dumfries, VA 5,669
13 Franklin, VA 8,249
14 Pulaski, VA 8,984
15 Manassas Park, VA 17,081
16 Vinton, VA 8,039
17 Covington, VA 5,716
18 Petersburg, VA 33,229
19 Woodstock, VA 5,716
20 Wytheville, VA 8,260
21 Martinsville, VA 13,476
22 Bluefield, VA 5,079
23 Roanoke, VA 99,578
24 Bristol, VA 16,996
25 Harrisonburg, VA 52,062
26 Farmville, VA 7,266
27 Manassas, VA 42,596
28 Portsmouth, VA 97,454
29 Strasburg, VA 7,036
30 Colonial Heights, VA 18,127
31 Ashland, VA 7,478
32 Norfolk, VA 238,556
33 Waynesboro, VA 22,149
34 Culpeper, VA 19,740
35 Herndon, VA 24,574
36 Hampton, VA 136,748
37 Winchester, VA 28,194
38 Newport News, VA 185,069
39 Suffolk, VA 93,268
40 Richmond, VA 225,676
41 Staunton, VA 25,358
42 Lynchburg, VA 78,973
43 Smithfield, VA 8,513
44 Abingdon, VA 8,350
45 Chesapeake, VA 247,172
46 Fredericksburg, VA 28,027
47 Radford, VA 16,205
48 Virginia Beach, VA 457,658
49 Salem, VA 25,335
50 Charlottesville, VA 46,597
51 Poquoson, VA 12,382
52 Christiansburg, VA 23,174
53 Warrenton, VA 10,002
54 Alexandria, VA 158,185
55 Purcellville, VA 8,910
56 Leesburg, VA 48,223
57 Williamsburg, VA 15,299
58 Bridgewater, VA 6,092
59 Fairfax, VA 23,980
60 Vienna, VA 16,465
61 Lexington, VA 7,287
62 Blacksburg, VA 44,385
63 Falls Church, VA 14,494
About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.

7 thoughts on “The 10 Dumbest Places In Virginia For 2023

  1. I am writing to you in reference to your Facebook article “These are the ten dumbest
    cities in Virginia” of which Luray is number three. First of all Luray is a small
    rural town, not a city. I have taught at Luray High School for 20 years. It is in
    the county of Page and is one of two high schools in the county. Page County school
    division has one of the highest on time graduation rates and one of the lowest
    dropout rates in the state of Virginia, contrary to what your article reports. We
    are a poor county but Luray High School has always been fully accredited and has
    always made all the goals to meet the No Child Left Behind adequate yearly progress
    (AYP). I am saddened that you would find pleasure in labeling our town as one of the
    dumbest in Virginia. Our graduates have been accepted and graduated from Ivy League
    universities as well as other universities on the eastern coast. We have produced
    doctors, architects, politicians, engineers, attorneys, college professors and more.
    I see no entertainment value in belittling Luray and the other towns and cities you
    included in this article. It is sad that you seek out the bad and not the good!

  2. This is NOT about the “city” at all. IF you look at the list, it is a list of where the public school systems are located and that is what the author is REALLY talking about; not the city. Plus, not all of the school systems are listed, so why were these the only ones to be singled out? One really needs to question why this was written. What are the outcomes the author is expecting? What are his motives?

  3. They need to recheck Martinsville again. Being #13 is a compliment. It should be in the top 5 in this case! Martinsville is full of dense acting people, even if they did graduate! This list should be done again!

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