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09 December 2009

Athens Rated The Dumbest College Town In America

The Daily Beast, a news and opinion website that features commentary from the daughter of U.S. Senator John McCain, rolled out its list of the twenty-five smartest (and dumbest) college towns in America. And where does Athens, home of the University of Georgia, rank? At the bottom with the distinguished title of "dumbest college town in America."

Named after the Grecian metropolis, home to Plato and Aristotle, Athens is home to one of the nation’s largest libraries as well a legendary music scene that nurtured established acts such as the Indigo Girls and R.E.M. Stacks of books and good tunes, however, did not rescue Athens from the bottom of our list. Voter participation was particularly atrocious, at less than 50 percent, and the town ranked near the bottom third for educational degrees per capita. The median SAT was a respectable 1225, so chin up Athens—and study harder next time.

Smartest (and Dumbest) College Towns. The Daily Beast. Retrieved on 2009-12-9.

The Daily Beast described their methodology in compiling the list as follows:



After choosing towns where the college or colleges define the community that have a population minimum of 25,000 as of the 2008 Census, The Daily Beast ranked them based on the following four criteria -

  • Bachelor's degrees per capita for the over-25 population: this measured the relative education of permanent residents.

  • Graduate degrees per capita for the over-25 population: similar to above, but more stratified.

  • Median SAT score for the town's student population.

  • Voter turnout in the 2008 election: political engagement, whether left or right, has repeatedly correlated with higher intelligence; the one criteria that measures behavior, rather than achievement.


Each category was ranked and weighted equally, with more points given for the best and fewer points for the worst, and then tallied. The Daily Beast then handed out grades on a curve; the top 20 percent got As, the next 40 percent got Bs, the following 20 percent got Cs, and then the bottom fifth got Ds, with the exception of the very last town, which got an F.