The Magnolia State comes in virtually last place in two of the four factors we analyzed -- how many residents over 25 lack high-school educations and how many high-school students watch tons of TV. Research shows that 44.9% of Mississippi high schoolers spend three hours a day or more in front of the boob tube -- the worst ranking of any state measured.
Louisiana's educational performance is no cause for a Mardi Gras parade. The Bayou State ties Kentucky for the third-highest proportion of adults without high-school degrees (18.1%), and has the sixth-lowest percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in college (50.4%). And when it comes to television viewing, the 40.3% of Louisiana high schoolers who spend three hours or more a day watching TV trail only their Mississippi counterparts as the nation's highest ratio of budding couch potatoes. On the other hand, Louisiana's 536 average SAT math score does tie Montana for 17th place nationwide. But only 9% of Louisiana students typically take the test -- and as noted previously, low participation rates can skew a state's average upward.