If judging a state's intellectual capacity can be quantified by the percentage of the population with higher education (or the street smarts to garner student loans... to gain a degree of course because anything else would be illegal), then the District of Columbia ranks as the 'smartest' while Mississippi and West Virginia rank as the 'dumbest'. Perhaps most notable is that 52% of US Graduates are either employed with jobs that don't require a degree or are unemployed.
(click image for large legible version for those with or without a bachelor's degree who are confused)
Of course, one can read the chart upside down as there are those who will, somewhat rightfully, say that spending tens of thousands for a framed piece of paper is the opposite of "smart" and as such the ranking should be inverted, with the (street) smart West Virginians at the top, while the DC career-track bound exhibiting lost in book smarts with little understanding of what the phrase "debt slave" really means.
One thing is certain: as we showed two months ago, the largest average student loan balance of over $40,000 is held by D.C. students. And another certain thing: a record high 25% of all Washington D.C. student have student loans.
Borrowers as share of population:
Student loans balances per borrower:
So the question is: all those university degrees and all those student loans - are they parlayed into well paying jobs that generate a return on the loan investment, or in the pursuit of the great government handout, are all of these loans merely used to purchase Made in China trinkets and gizmos, with the great subsequent white (and not so white) hope being that sooner or later, all student debt will be extinguished.
Because after all, isn't forgiveness of all obligations, liabilities and responsibiities the real (and fair) new (normal) American way?