In the extreme of the “take if for what it’s worth” category, the Web site The Daily Beast ranked the intelligence of “every major American population hub” from first-to-worst.

A number of California cities made the list of 55 cities. Many ranked high on the list, but one California city finished dead last as the least intelligent city in America.

According to the final rankings, the race to the bottom spot wasn’t even close – Fresno took the bitter-tasting cake.

Of the three lowest ranked cities, No.  53 San Antonio received an overall score of 26 in the points measurement; No. 54 Las Vegas received a score of 11; and No. 55 Fresno earned an IQ score of just 3.

Only cities (and their suburbs) of one million people or more were used in the ranking. The data was organized on a per-capita basis so residents of a smaller city had equal weight to residents in New York City.

The measure for the ranking was based upon the education of residents and the “intellectual environment.”

Scoring was based on the following:

  • Number of residents with bachelor’s degrees (35 percent)
  • Number of residents with graduate degrees (15 percent)
  • Non-fiction books sales (25 percent)
  • Institutions of higher education, as defined by the federal government (15 percent)
  • Percentage of eligible voters who cast ballots in the last presidential election (10 percent)

Fresno ranked in the worst 5 percent of just about every category.

There is some good news for California though. San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose were grouped together to earn the No. 2 spot on the list. The Bay Area scored points for education but fell to No. 1 Raleigh-Durham because of a relatively low score in political engagement.

San Diego finished in a tie for the No. 20 spot, Los Angeles tied for the No. 27 ranking and Sacramento finished in a tie for the No. 35 position.

For the complete list, click here.

James Spencer can be reached at