The 20 smartest and dumbest cities in the U.S.

How do you determine what the smartest and dumbest cities are? Well, one study by the Daily Beast used simple criteria to determine their status among America’s 55 largest cities (the only cities with 1 million or more within its greater metropolitan region):

1. The number of bachelor’s and master’s degrees obtained, per capita, for adults over 25.

2. The number of nonfiction books sold, as tracked by Nielsen BookScan.

3. The number of institutions of higher learning within a metropolitan region, as defined by the U.S. government

4. Libraries per capita, which determines how much a particular city cares about keeping its residents educated and how much the residents are supporting such institutions.

We start with the 20 smartest and dumbest cities in the U.S., beginning with the most intellectual ones. Where does your city fall? Let’s find out:



20. Baltimore

Terry Shropshire
Terry Shropshire

I'm a lover of words, pictures, people and The Ohio State Buckeyes. A true journalist from the soul.

  1. How can New York City be ranked the 16th smartest city in America? Those people down there can’t even dial their own area code correctly let alone go to the bathroom by themselves! They are dumber than a second coat of turtle wax! It doesn’t matter whether or not they possess a college degree. New York City is one of the stupidest cities in this country hands down!

    1. I’m sure you’ve noticed the Ivy League university; NYU; places like Juilliard; all the elite mec schools; the major cultural centers; the number of Nobel Prize winners; the intellectual capital in great writers, musicians, composers, artists, and thinkers; as well as the great libraries and bookstores, right?

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