Study Ranks California Residents Smarter Than National Average— But Just Barely

California residents were ranked 24th smartest in the nation in a study by SafeHome.

Think you’re smarter than the out-of-state relatives you’ll be visiting this Thanksgiving? Depending on where they’re from, you might be right — at least, according to a recent study that names California residents the 24th most educated in the nation.

Compiling statistics on graduation rates, standardized test scores and the percentage of adults 25 years and older with bachelor's degrees, the study, published by security rating website SafeHome, ranks states by how smart their residents are. The study seeks to challenge the belief of 65% of Americans who say they have above-average intelligence.

"If most of us have above-average intelligence, then that sort of dilutes what the word 'average' means, and understanding where you rank means learning where others stand," SafeHome said in the study. "Despite the risk of creating conflict and drama, we wanted to find a way to quantify which Americans actually are smarter than the rest by ranking the states according to how smart they are."

California, which received a score of almost 250 points, placed above the average score of 221. The study found that over 21% of Californians of at least 25 years of age had a bachelor’s degree, with 83% of the class of 2017 graduating a public high school.

While the latter figure was comparable to the national average of 85%, the former was significantly lower than the national average of 34%, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. However, the SafeHome percentage only included people whose highest academic degree was a bachelor’s, while the NCES included those with a higher degree.

California’s state’s median SAT score of 1,065 was slightly higher than the national median of 1,097.

According to data from the United States Census Bureau, Los Angeles County residents are comparably educated compared to the entirety of the state. However, this may partially be due to the size of the county’s population, which is over a quarter the estimated population of California.

SafeHome named New Jersey, with nearly 338 points, the smartest state in the nation, while Idaho was ranked last with fewer than 80 points.

Despite the data presented, SafeHome acknowledged that its statistics were not a complete representation of a person’s intelligence.

"While we believe things like having high test scores and earning academic degrees represent one way of understanding and quantifying how smart someone is, we acknowledge that we're not taking into account things like emotional intelligence or common sense," the company said in its study.

To see the full study, see

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