South Dakota is full of intelligent people right? Well, duh!

The most significant indicator of that is the fact that we've all chosen to put down roots in the Rushmore State. We need to get some points for that decision, first and foremost.

I mean just look at all the different things that make South Dakota desirable and a smart place to live. It's chock-full of friendly, honest, caring, hardworking people. We have no state income tax, low crime, clean air, a booming economy, the cost of living is relatively low compared to other states, we have great healthcare facilities, excellent education institutions, we get to enjoy all four seasons, okay, maybe just two, we always seem to get just a cup of coffee with Spring and Fall, but outside of that, the state of South Dakota is a smart choice to live, work and raise a family.

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Here's where I am going with this, recently, a company called conducted a study to determine who are the smartest states in America.

They based their findings on things like IQ scores, graduation rates, ACT and SAT scores, and the percentage of residents in each state that hold a college degree.

The study showed that while South Dakota might not be filled with a bunch of Mensa members, we aren't a collection of blithering idiots who have manure for brains either.

Overall we are about average. South Dakota ranks as the 14th most intelligent state in the nation when you combine all of the factors of TestGuides research together.

The study showed as a state we score the highest when it comes to ACT and SAT scores, ranking #6  in the nation.

However, it looks like we are surrounded by some very smart cookies in neighboring states.

For instance, TestGuides research revealed that Minnesota is the 2nd most intelligent state in the nation. The residents of Minnesota have an average IQ score of 102.9, a 93% high-school graduation rate, and 13% of Minnesotans hold Bachelor Degrees.

When it comes to strictly IQ scores themselves, both Minnesota and North Dakota are sitting pretty. As noted, the average IQ score in Minnesota is 102.9, while North Dakotan residents averaged a 101.7 intelligence quotient score.

Both Minnesota and North Dakota have strong high school graduation rates. Minnesota ranks # 4 in the country, North Dakota #7.

According to, the smartest state in the nation is supposedly Vermont.

What helps to make the average Vermonter so intelligent? Evidently, they don't watch a lot of TV, but when they do, it's shows like Jeopardy and PBS Newshour.

Conversely, the least intelligent state in the country according to the folks with is none other than Mississipi.

They rank #1 in the nation for people who drive pickup trucks, and I'm guessing they do watch a ton of shows like The Bachelor, Love Island, Catfish, and The Real Housewives.

Spending any significant time with those types of shows will definitely help to drop your intelligence quotient score.


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South Dakota has produced its share of famous people over the years. Actors like January Jones and Catherine Bach. Media personalities like Bob Barker and Tom Brokaw. Athletes like Brock Lesnar and Chad Greenway. And don't forget Laura Ingalls Wilder.

But, I want to talk about scientists. The super scientists that South Dakota has produced. Here are four that were born in South Dakota. Their work was important to nuclear physics, computer science, and agriculture; and affects us to this day.

Gallery Credit: Ben Kuhns

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