This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

5 Smartest States in America

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- If you're looking to find America's smartest people, go west, young man -- or at least go Midwest.

An analysis of several key educational measures shows Minnesota and some other Midwest states beat the rest of America when it comes to academic excellence.

"There's a wide variety of educational achievement between states," Boston College education professor Ana Martinez-Aleman says. "Places like Minnesota have very strong, populist traditions about the importance of education."

We recently looked at four factors -- SAT math scores, percentage of citizens with high school diplomas, how many young people attend college and how many high schoolers watch too much TV -- to assess each state's academic-achievement level.

Our research uncovered huge differences between states.

For instance, 19.3% of residents in both Texas and California lack high school educations -- nearly triple Wyoming's 7.7% dropout rate.

Similarly, less than 17% of Utah high schoolers watch three hours of TV or more per night -- roughly a third of Mississippi's 44.9% rate.

Martinez-Aleman, who also serves as editor of the scholarly publication Educational Policy Journal, attributes many of the differences to how much money each state spends on public education.

"There's a cause-and-effect relationship between educational spending and educational achievement," she says.

The expert says states such as Minnesota have long prided themselves on funding public schools generously, while southern states that fared poorly in our analysis often have lower taxes and limited academic spending.

Martinez-Aleman adds that Mountain states -- which generally ranked highly in our analysis -- can spend fairly large amounts of money per student because they have sparse populations.

Here's a look at the five states that came out on top of our analysis, which used the most-recent data available from The College Board and Educational Policy Journal's sister company, CQ Press.

We ranked states based on an average of where they placed among all 50 states and the District of Columbia on the four metrics analyzed. (Nine states and D.C. lacked data on TV watching by high schoolers, so we rated them based on their average scores for the three other criteria studied.)

All Scholastic Aptitude Test scores are from this year, while the percentage of students taking the SAT is based on average figures calculated by The College Board for 2002, last year and this year.

Percentage figures for people in each state lacking high school or general-equivalency degrees are as of 2010 and refer to residents 25 or older, while college enrollment rates for each state's young people are as of 2008. Television-watching statistics are as of 2009.

1 of 6

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,804.80 +26.65 0.15%
S&P 500 2,070.65 +9.42 0.46%
NASDAQ 4,765.38 +16.9840 0.36%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs