Research shows West Virginia has lowest SAT scores in the nation, higher firearm death rate than New York and Illinois

By RealWV Staff,

West Virginia has found itself at the top of yet another list that residents would rather not be on, as a new study shows the Mountain State to be among the “least intelligent” states in the nation. 

Research conducted by online educational platform Guru99, and first reported by OnFocus News, has ranked West Virginia 47th out of the 50 United States with regard to individual intelligence. To calculate rankings, Guru99 analyzed GDP (gross domestic product) per capita, percentage of residents without a high school diploma or equivalent, graduation rates, SAT scores, literacy rate, and average IQ. 

According to the study, West Virginia’s average SAT score of 938 is the lowest in the country, and is nearly 100 points below the 2023 national average, as reported by the College Board. The research shows that the state’s overall high school graduation rate of 88.82% during the same time period is also below the national average. It should be noted, however, that the National Center for Education Statistics reflects West Virginia’s high school graduation rate for the 2021-2022 school year to be 91% – nearly four points above the national average. The center has not yet released data for the 2022-2023 school year.

When using the same six criteria, Mississippi, Texas, and New Mexico rank 48th, 49th, and 50th respectively. According to the study, New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Wyoming are the nation’s top three states in terms of intelligence. 

When comparing murder, firearm deaths, and overdose rates, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) paint an equally lackluster picture of the Mountain State. 

In 2022, West Virginia’s 311 firearm deaths resulted in a per capita rate of 16.2 per 100,000. This places West Virginia in the bottom half of the country, with higher firearm death rates than New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Illinois, Texas, and Florida. Murder rates were slightly better, as West Virginia’s 105 murders in 2022 (6.2 per capita out of 100,000 residents) brought the Mountain State ahead of Illinois and Pennsylvania, but not New York. Lastly, as has been the case for an unfortunate length of time, with a rate of 80.9, West Virginia continues to lead the nation in overdose deaths per capita. 


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