If you had to guess what states are ranked with the highest and lowest IQ, which ones would you pick? You would think that California, home to silicon valley, and 281 colleges and Universities would rank somewhere in the top, but it might surprise you to see where it lands.

What is an IQ, and what is it used for?

IQ is short for Intelligent Quotient. It is a normalized test that assigns a number to represent a person’s intelligence. Keep in mind that the national average IQ score is 100. Also, the test categorizes the age of the person when taking part. The questions and puzzles assess logic, memory, verbal comprehension, speed, perception, math, spatial ability, and abstract reasoning. Admittedly, IQs are not without controversy. How can you possibly measure a person’s intellect accurately? But for now, IQ testing is the best intelligence measuring tool we have.

The United States Ranked by IQ


Massachusetts 104.3

Massachusetts scores highest, with a median IQ of 104.3. There’s no surprise here as it’s home to two of the Ivy League schools. Both are in Cambridge. The first being, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The second is the first further education establishment in the United States, Harvard University, which was founded in 1636. Also, Massachusetts was home to the first railroad in 1826 and the first subway in 1897. It is undoubtedly a state of higher education and innovation.

Massachusetts Road Sign Joseph Sohm; Visions of America / Getty Images


New Hampshire 104.2

The granite state comes in at a close second with an average IQ score of 104.2. It is a destination to see its spectacular foliage colors in the fall. Also, it’s a popular skiing destination. It is home to the first public library, the and birthplace of the first American in space, Alan Shepard.

USA, New Hampshire, Welcome to New Hampshire sign Paul Souders / Getty Images


North Dakota 103.8

North Dakota came in third with 103.8. It is famous for its “Enchanted Highway.” A 32-mile stretch of 1-94 where metal sculptures line the side of the causeway, making for a delightful road trip. Well, for 32-miles of it, anyway.

Welcome to North Dakota sign along the border with South Dakota. Solange_Z / Getty Images


Vermont 103.8

The green mountain state of Vermont borders Canada and is flanked by New York, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. Famous for its maple syrup and cheese. Vermont comes in at number four with an IQ average of 103.8. But really, North Dakota and Vermont have the same result.

Welcome to Vermont state sign at road side with foliage in USA


Minnesota 103.7

Rochester, Minnesota, is home to the acclaimed Mayo Clinic. Known for its excellent doctors who have discovered groundbreaking medical discoveries and treatments through research. Equally, It was at the University of Minnesota where the first open-heart surgery was performed. Not to mention the first bone marrow transplant. So, of course, Minnesota is in the top five at 103.7.

Low-angle view of a sign welcoming to the state of Minnesota with a leafy background


Maine 103.4

Maine, the pine state, is nearly 90% forest. But it is most famous for lobster. Interestingly, it used to be a part of Massachusetts and less than one point lower on the IQ scale. Maybe it should have stayed with MA.

Maine USA expressway highway roadside welcome sign with the text: "WELCOME TO MAINE Visitor Center - Kittery, Maine". Willowpix / Getty Images


Montana 103.4

Montana is home to nine national parks. Yellowstone and Glacier national parks are two you will know. By the same token, because of its mineral richness, especially sapphires, it's known as the "Treasure State." Montana is also rich in intelligence, with an IQ score of 103.4.

Welcome to Montana wellesenterprises / Getty Images


Iowa 103.2

You have heard the expression, “that’s the best thing since sliced bread.” Well, Iowa was the birthplace of Otto Rohwedderis, who invented the first bread slicing machine. So, who can argue that Iowa is the best thing since sliced bread with an IQ rating of 103.2?

Welcome to Iowa sign seen against the clouds. Iowa, USA. benkrut / Getty Images


Connecticut 103.1

Did you know Louis Lassen invented the hamburger in 1895, New Haven, Connecticut? No wonder Connecticut is in the top 10 national average IQs. Let’s face it, the hamburger was a genius invention.

A Connecticut Welcomes You sign at the Danbury rest area quiggyt4 / Shutterstock.com


Wisconsin 102.9

Wisconsin’s first deed was recorded in 1783 for land bought from Native American tribes by Dominique Ducharme for the bargain price of 2 barrels of rum and some trinkets. The first nation's people thought owning land was absurd. They considered themselves custodians of the land. So, they were handing over custody not ownership to Ducharme. Both parties considered it a win. The first people were happy to get paid for the land they didn't own and Ducharme bought what is now the city of Kaukauna. Talking of wins, Wisconsin came in 10th on the list with a 102.9 average IQ.

Wisconsin Welcome sign at Marinette WI csfotoimages / Getty Images


New Mexico 95.7

New Mexico has some of the highest crime rates in the U.S. After all, the T.V. show Breaking Bad was based in and on the culture of New Mexico. Poverty crimes are on the rise in NM, and maybe that’s a factor coming in at number 46 on the list of 50 states with an IQ rating of 95.7.

Welcome to New Mexico Sign near the Colorado - New Mexico Border Paul Brady Photography / Shutterstock.com


Hawaii 95.6

Maybe everyone is out surfing instead of attending school? That is to say, it would be difficult to study while on a paradise island in Hawaii.

Hang Loose Hawaii Aloha State License Plate tacked up against a cedar wall, Ontario, Canada.


California 95.5

The sunny state of California’s rating was a surprise to many people. But not so when you consider California has 1,350-miles of coastline. It is bigger than Germany, with half the population. But it’s ranked number one in poverty, and it’s worse since the pandemic. So, Given the state's poverty rating and growing homeless population, California's low score is proportionate.

California highway route 66 road sign on wooden pole at clear sky, selective focus on the foreground pidjoe / Getty Images


Louisiana 95.3

Southern state Louisiana is famous for its Creole and Cajun culture, food, jazz, and Mardi Gras festival. Even though it’s 14-years after hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, only 90% of the population has returned, and recovery is ongoing. Maybe this contributed to the lower IQ score.

Welcome to / Bienvenue en Louisiana sign next to highway


Mississippi 94.2

Mississippi comes in last with an average IQ of 94.2. Perhaps it’s because the magnolia state’s poverty rate was listed at nearly 20 percent in 2020—a little higher than New Mexico’s. But that was pre-pandemic, so it most likely has risen since. Interesting fact, The state’s namesake is the Mississippi River, named by the Chippewa Indians—Mississippi means large river in their language. All in all, the southern states seem to do less well on average than the northern states.

Mississippi State welcome sign along the US Highway 61 in the USA; Concept for travel in America and Road Trip in America Tiago_Fernandez / Getty Iamges


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