Dumb, dumber ­– and we’re dumbest?

You noticed it as soon as you moved here.

From the morons who cut suddenly across four lanes without signaling their last-second exit to the co-worker so inept that you were convinced he spent his childhood eating lead paint, it seemed that locals were just, you know, kind of — well — dumb.

That hunch? It’s not just you.

Las Vegas has displaced Fresno, Calif., as America’s dumbest city based on education levels and intellectual vitality, according to a study from news and opinion website The Daily Beast.

The Daily Beast didn’t respond to a request for comment, but the site’s findings are important because "regions with intellectual vigor are more likely to bounce back" from economic travails, the Daily Beast’s editors said in their Tuesday report. "Those without risk a stupor."

Wait — um, whuh?

Seriously, though: The analysis pierces straight to the heart of an age-old knock on Las Vegas. Some local observers have long lamented that the city won’t lure diverse, high-tech businesses as long as it claims a bad rap for its citizens’ low educational attainment.

Others counter that Las Vegas is its own kind of town, a nationally recognized entrepreneurial hotbed where The Daily Beast’s benchmarks don’t apply the way they might play out in other areas.

"We’re a unique market. A significant share of our employee base is in service industries, and many of those employees are earning fairly decent wages and have been able to succeed and set up roots here," said local business and government consultant Brian Gordon, a pretty smart guy whose first name also happens to spell "brain."

"Some of those positions don’t require higher levels of education. Las Vegas is just different than many other major markets."

To understand how Las Vegas differs from other places, start with how The Daily Beast compiled its study.

The site analyzed the nation’s 55 metropolitan areas with 1 million or more residents, evaluating those markets based on nonfiction book sales tracked by research firm Nielsen BookScan; the number of libraries per capita; the ratio of colleges and universities; and the percentage of residents older than 25 with bachelor’s and master’s degrees — though when you consider U.S. Department of Education findings that a third of all students in U.S. colleges need remedial math or English instruction, it’s not so obvious that a college degree indicates intelligence.

If you tally all of those factors, Las Vegas ranks dead-last among the country’s big cities. Of its 1.9 million residents, 14 percent earned bachelor’s degrees, and 7 percent hold master’s degrees. Las Vegans have bought 1.1 million adult nonfiction books year-to-date, or fewer than one tome per resident. (But hey, we’ll go head to head against anybody on adult-video sales!)

No. 1 Boston, by contrast, has a 24 percent penetration rate for bachelor’s degrees, while 18 percent of Beantown’s population has master’s degrees. Its 4.6 million residents have snapped up more than 7 million adult nonfiction books this year.

The final score: Boston’s Daily Beast IQ comes in at 176.7, while Las Vegas’ Daily Beast IQ totals 3.3.

Ouch.

But none of that makes Bostonians smarter, one local businessman said.

Las Vegas hotelier Stephen Siegel does not have a college degree. He doesn’t even have a high school diploma. The native Californian dropped out of ninth grade and, at 15, began working in restaurants. Today, Siegel employs 1,000 people inside properties from the Mount Charleston Resort to the Artisan boutique hotel on Sahara Avenue. He also owns the Siegel Suites chain of extended-stay apartments and office buildings and shopping centers in California, Arizona and Texas.

"I think school is very important. Education is very important," Siegel said. "But having a college degree is only the start. If you don’t use the degree, it doesn’t mean anything. Having a college degree doesn’t mean you’ll be successful. It means you went through a program. Knowledge is power, but only if you use it."

Instead of learning in classrooms, Siegel attended what he calls the "hardest and most expensive school there is: real life."

Siegel said Las Vegas is home to legions of entrepreneurs who similarly got their start in the service sector and grabbed a chance to launch their own operation.

From food-and-beverage workers who built catering businesses to cabdrivers who formed transportation companies, the city claims thousands of successful entrepreneurs without much formal higher education. Siegel cited perhaps the highest-profile of them all: Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas Sands Corp. founder, who ranks as the country’s 13th wealthiest person, despite failing to finish the degree he started at the City College of New York.

"Las Vegas is 100 percent a different city from any other," Siegel said. "It’s a very challenging city. You have to understand the market. You really have to educate yourself out there and put a lot of hard work into surviving in this market. It’s harder than in most other places."

Gordon added that Las Vegas was, until the recession devastated the city’s construction and hotel sectors, one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities for the better part of three decades.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, you couldn’t swing a business license without whacking some magazine that had just anointed the city one of the best places to start a company.

That’s because businesses and entrepreneurs don’t consider college attainment and book sales alone when they’re looking to move or open a new operation, Gordon said.

Sure, educational levels and cultural offerings make a difference, but most executives care as well about a city’s highway and airport access, its availability and cost of labor, real estate prices and taxes, among other factors. On many of those counts, Las Vegas still has much to offer, Gordon said.

As for the "intellectual vigor" that The Daily Beast’s editors say Las Vegas lacks: In the leisure and hospitality space, at least, no other market on the planet bests the city, and that bodes well for the area’s economic engine, experts said.

"We’re the No. 1 resort and entertainment destination in the world, and not many markets stack up when you look at the core industry of Southern Nevada," Gordon said. "That’s been true historically, and it will likely be true going forward."

Which brings us to our final point.

Considering Las Vegas entices upwards of 40 million folks a year from smart markets such as Boston, San Francisco and Denver to drop major dollars on elusive jackpots, $300 tasting menus and hookers (OK, not officially), just how dumb can our city really be?

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at jrobison@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4512.

ad-high_impact_4
News
LVMPD Arrests Suspect in Sunset Park Shooting
Captain Robert Plummer held a press conference at LVMPD headquarters Thursday to provide updates on the arrest of Anthony J. Wrobel, accused of killing a Venetian executive and wounding one other in a shooting on Sunday.
Two Black Men Arrested at Starbucks Share Their Story
Two Black Men Arrested at Starbucks Share Their Story Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson sat down with ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ on Thursday and said the Starbucks manager called the police two minutes after they arrived. Donte Robinson, to 'Good Morning America' Donte Robinson, to 'Good Morning America' The men were meeting with a friend for a business meeting at the store’s location at around 3:45 pm on April 12 and declined to make any purchases. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson issued a public apology and vowed to fix the issue by closing 8,000 stores nationwide next month for training on unconscious bias. Both Nelson and Robinson were released without charges after spending hours in jail, and the manager is no longer with the company.
Hero Southwest Pilot Was One of the Navy’s First Female Fighter Pilots
Hero Southwest Pilot Was One of the Navy’s First Female Fighter Pilots Tammie Jo Shults is being called a hero after safely landing the crippled Southwest Flight 1380 in Philadelphia. According to a spokesperson, Shults began her Navy career in 1985 and was one of the first female pilots to “transition to tactical aircraft.” She served for another eight years before moving to the Naval Reserve, retiring completely in 2001 with the rank of Lt. Commander. The Southwest flight, which was headed for Dallas from New York, was forced to make an emergency landing after one of its engines blew. One passenger was killed in the explosion when shrapnel flew through a window. Seven others suffered minor injuries aboard the flight, which carried 149 people. Passenger Peggy Phillips, to NBC News Passenger Peggy Phillips, to NBC News
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Artist, Community Paint Winchester Skate Park
Andrew Schoultz, a Los Angeles-based artist with an upcoming exhibit at UNLV's Barrick Museum, painted the skate park at Winchester Cultural Center on Tuesday.
Prince death investigation coming to an end
Prosecutors in Minnesota plan an announcement Thursday on the two-year investigation into Prince's death from a drug overdose Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl. Search warrants unsealed about a year after Prince died showed that authorities searched his home, cellphone records of associates and his email accounts to try to determine how he got the drug. The county attorney has scheduled a morning announcement at which time charges could be filed.
David Copperfield executive producer testifies during the magician's civil trial
A British tourist is suing illusionist David Copperfield saying he was injured during a trick. Chris Kenner, executive producer for illusionist David Copperfield, was on the witness stand all day Tuesday, April 17. Kenner testified that a business manager for the show talked to the man after he fell. Kenner testified that the tourist, Gavin Cox, said he was OK moments after the fall. Cox later told the crew: “Maybe I will have this looked at.” Copperfield is the next witness in line for Cox’s attorneys. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
CCSD Teacher Is a Living Organ Donor
June Monroe speaks about her kidney donation to her brother and advocacy work with the National Kidney Foundation.
Shadow Ridge High School teachers protest
Shadow Ridge High School teachers protest. Teachers are upset over many things, including the fact that the district is fighting an arbitration ruling for pay raises. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Clark County commissioners debate getting rid of Henderson, North Las Vegas constables
Clark County commissioners are debating whether to get rid of the Henderson and North Las Vegas constables after RJ's story pointing out questionable spending by the Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
1 Dead, 7 Injured After Southwest Airlines Flight Makes Emergency Landing
1 Dead, 7 Injured After Southwest Airlines Flight Makes Emergency Landing Dallas-bound Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 out of New York, which had 143 passengers and a crew of five onboard, landed in Philadelphia on Tuesday. According to NBC10, a female passenger was partially sucked out of a broken window, which was a result of the plane's engine ripping apart. It's not known if the female passenger was the one who died. Emergency personnel met the battered plane upon its landing. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the blown engine resulted in a smashed window and a damaged fuselage. Southwest Airlines The FAA said that the NTSB will lead the investigation into what happened.
Single vehicle crash kills man
A man died Tuesday morning in a single-vehicle crash in northeast Las Vegas. The crash occurred Tuesday morning on the 1900 block of Pasadena Boulevard, near Lake Mead Boulevard and Mt. Hood Street. Police had few details, but Metro's fatal detail was on the scene investigating.
Sunset Park Homicide (update 2)
LVMPD gives update about suspect in homicide at Sunset Park (Blake Apgar)
Sunset Park Homicide (update)
Update from LVMPD on Sunset Park homicide. Releasing suspect's name (Blake Apgar)
Sunset Park Homicide
Police give details about Sunset Park homicide on Sunday, April 15, 2018. (Blake Apgar)
Parents of autistic child talk about their experience waiting for care
Parents of autistic child talk about their experience waiting for care. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Donald Trump Calls Out James Comey After Book Details Emerge
Donald Trump Calls Out James Comey After Book Details Emerge The President took to Twitter to criticize the former FBI director as information emerges from Comey’s new book, ‘A Higher Loyalty’. According to 'The New York Times', Comey describes Trump in the book as “unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values.” James Comey, A Higher Loyalty, via The New York Times A Higher Loyalty hits stores on April 17.
Big Bounce America visits North Las Vegas
Billing itself as "the biggest bounce house in the world," Big Bounce America visits Craig Ranch Regional Park in Las Vegas.
Endangered Devils Hole Pupfish numbers enough for concern, but not panic
Researchers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Death Valley National Park came together at Devils Hole, about 90 miles west of Las Vegas, for a biannual count of the Devils Hole Pupfish, an endangered species. Their count this time – 87. (Video by Patrick Connolly)
Hickey Elementary Students Put Harry Potter on Trial
Liliam Lujan Hickey Elementary School students learned how the judicial system works by putting Harry Potter on trial for the illegal use of magic.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
The Clark County Museum Turns 50 This Month
The Clark County Museum has an extensive collection, dating back to prehistoric times in Southern Nevada up through the present day. It was first established in April 1968 and has had several locations before it's current home on South Boulder Highway.
Route 91 Artifacts Will Be On Display This October
Clark County Museum Administrator Mark Hall-Patton explains what artifacts will be on display in October as part of the museums Route 91 shooting memorial exhibit called "How We Mourned."
Bullet grazes woman's head
Las Vegas police investigating calls of a shooting early Friday morning found a woman who suffered a wound to her head. A bullet grazed the woman's head while she was inside her Village Square apartment on Nellis Oasis Lane. She did not have to be hospitalized, and police said she might have been an "unintended" victim. The shooting occurred around 4 a.m. Police are looking for the shooter.
Aces Host Draft Party
The Las Vegas Aces host a WNBA draft party at the Mandalay Bay for season-ticket holders, and have the number one overall pick.
Las Vegas man stands with president at White House
President Donald Trump delivered remarks in the Rose Garden Thursday about how the GOP tax cut plan helped working families across the country. To his left stood Richard Kerzetski, president of Universal Plumbing & Heating Co. in Las Vegas. Debra J. Saunders/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Transgender Man Running for Assembly District 42
U.S. Army veteran La Don Henry is hoping to become Nevada’s first openly transgender state legislator.
Erik Weihenmayer is the First Blind Person to Summit Mount Everest
Erik Weihenmayer talks about how he first got into mountaineering in 1995 with the ascent of Denali, the tallest peak in North America, and what he loves about climbing.
New Theater Coming to Neonopolis
Ken Henderson explains his concept for Notoriety, a 57,000-square-foot theater complex on the third floor of Neonopolis intended to host comedy, music and theater acts.
Life
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Companies bet their futures on cryptocurrency
Two Las Vegas entrepreneurs talk about finding their niche in blockchain enabled technologies and digital currency.
Solar panels reduce energy bill for CCSD
Wilbur and Theresa Faiss Middle School is one of 42 CCSD schools with solar panel installations, saving approximately $514,000 per year in energy costs.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like