Recently, the Washington Post published a study on the smartest states in America.
In the categories of SAT scores and college graduation rate, Florida ranked as the 5th dumbest state in America, a little brighter than Alabama, but a little dumber than South Carolina.
We’ll be looking at high school completion rates rather than college-related metrics of smartness, for the sake of figuring out which cities in Florida are contributing to Florida’s stupidity more than the rest.
After crunching the numbers, we came up with this list of the ten dumbest cities in the Sunshine State:
- Florida City
- Lake Worth
- Belle Glade
- Avon Park
How we determined the dumbest cities in Florida
In order to rank the dumbest cities in Florida, we had to determine what criteria defines a dumb person.
We started by making a list of every place in the U.S. with over 5,000 adults based on the 2014 American Community Survey.
We then looked at the following dumb-tastic criteria for each of the places on the list:
- % of city’s population with less than a high school education (Age 25+)
- % of high school Dropouts (Ages 16-19)
Note: We also looked at the graduation rates of the entire population, not the current rates for high schoolers.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 39.9%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 59.9%
You won’t find another city in the state of Florida with a higher dropout rate than Florida. Nearly 6 in 10 teens between the ages of 16 and 19 are currently not enrolled in high school. Yes, it’s a small place, but this is by far the highest average we’ve seen in our research.
But can you blame them? The adults themselves are at the far end of the uneducated pool themselves. At 40%, that’s the 5th highest rate of adults without a high school degree in the Sunshine State.
Jasper is in Hamilton County near the Georgia State line.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 35.5%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 30.9%
It’s Jasper, and then everyone else. Chattahoochee is also a very uneducated place, when you look at the numbers. While the high school dropout rate is half that of Jasper, it’s still the 5th highest rate in the state.
The adults in Chattahoochee are a little smarter than the adults in Jasper, but not by much. Currently, at 35%, it’s the 9th dumbest adult population in Florida.
3. Florida City
Adults Without High School Diploma: 47.4%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 19.9%
While Jasper has the largest number of high school dropouts, Florida City is home to the dumbest adult population in Florida – where 47% of adults doesn’t have even a GED by the age of 25.
While not impressive by any stretch, its high school students are ‘only’ dropping out at a 20% clip. That’s far lower than the cities listed above, but the 16th highest rate in this city near Homestead.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 33.4%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 24.1%
Wauchula is a small city along Route 17 south of Lakeland. The high school dropout rate is the 7th highest in the state, and the adults don’t fare much better – more than 1 in 3 never completed high school. That’s nearly three times higher than the state average.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 30.9%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 23.3%
In Homestead, the adults are a tad bit smarter than they are in the cities mentioned above, but still, 3 in 10 adults are pretty dumb when you consider that they never got a high school diploma.
It looks like things aren’t much better in the next generation, either, as the teenage dropout rate is also incredibly high – nearly five times the state average.
6. Lake Worth
Adults Without High School Diploma: 32.8%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 20.2%
Lake Worth is far less intelligent than most other Florida cities. As it stands, more than 2 in 10 teens between 16 and 19 aren’t attending class, meaning the future of this city will have some real issues to contend with down the road.
Their parents aren’t much smarter, either. They’re the 12th dumbest in the state.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 26.1%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 36.4%
It looks like the teens in Arcadia have decided that hitting the books isn’t that important to them, as more than 1 in 3 is a dropout as of this writing. Considering that the adult population is actually more intelligent than the younger generation, it appears as if the smart meter is dipping towards empty in this small town along Route 17 north of Port Charlotte.
8. Belle Glade
Adults Without High School Diploma: 37.3%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 15.0%
Both the adult population and the teens of this Palm Beach County city are three times less educated that the average residents of Florida. This is definitely not a place to start a Book of the Month club.
Adults Without High School Diploma: 47.0%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 13.4%
This teeny place along I-95 near Vero Beach has an adult population that’s about half educated and half dumb. However, the kids seem to have their priorities more in order, as ‘only’ 13.4% of the high school kids aren’t going to class.
The Florida state average for dropout rates sits at 5.77%, meaning, statistically, there is a huge upside to getting the kids in this area of the state back to class.
10. Avon Park
Adults Without High School Diploma: 27.0%
Teenage High School Drop Outs: 23.1%
Kids are dropping out at a clip that’s four times higher than the state average here in Avon Park, a small city along I-27, smack dab in the middle of the state. However, the adults aren’t really setting an example themselves; they’re even dumber than their kids.
Putting a dunce cap on our analysis
If you’re analyzing places in Florida where a large percentage of the adult population never graduated from high school, and where the current high school kids are dropping out at extremely high levels, this is an accurate list.
In terms of smartest cities in Florida, it looks like Windemere, Holmes Beach, Sanibel, Ponce Inlet and Neptune Beach take the cake.
Other notable cities:
Boca Raton is the largest smartest city to make the list. Only 4.2% of its adult population never finished high school.
Jacksonville is somewhere in the middle. Both its adult population and high school population are a little above average, in terms of educational accomplishments.
Tampa leans dumb – its adult population is a tad less smart than the state average.
Miami Beach and Miami are both far dumber than the state average. Miami’s adult population is more than twice as dumb as the average Florida adult.
Detailed List Of Dumbest Cities In Florida
|Green Cove Springs||30|
|New Port Richey||31|
|West Palm Beach||68|
|North Miami Beach||77|
|North Bay Village||93|
|Indian Rocks Beach||99|
|Royal Palm Beach||116|
|Fort Walton Beach||123|
|Port St. Lucie||148|
|St. Pete Beach||169|
|St. Augustine Beach||176|
|New Smyrna Beach||181|
|Indian Harbour Beach||191|
|Sunny Isles Beach||195|
|Bay Harbor Islands||199|
|Panama City Beach||201|
|Port St. Joe||204|
|Palm Beach Gardens||214|
|Fort Myers Beach||231|
|North Palm Beach||235|
|Daytona Beach Shores||239|
|Lake Clarke Shores||240|
|Indian River Shores||248|