Are people getting "stupider", as a society, in the U.S.?

Jump to Last Post 1-33 of 33 discussions (33 posts)
  1. Laura Schneider profile image87
    Laura Schneiderposted 11 years ago

    Are people getting "stupider", as a society, in the U.S.?

    Are people getting "stupider", or is it my imagination that high school and college graduates are far less educated and bright as they used to be before, say, the 1980s?

  2. kschimmel profile image75
    kschimmelposted 11 years ago

    Their IQ's might be the same, but the educational system has been dumbed down so much that it is difficult for the brightest to excel.  In fact, through group projects and such, many schools try to hold back the gifted students so they don't have to go through the effort it would take to challenge them.

    I also think a big problem with modern times is distraction and technology.  Why should a kid solve his own problems when Mom is instantly accessible on speed dial? Why study calculus when Rock Band is more fun?

    Finally, a generation of helicopter parents is producing kids who have never been allowed to assess risk or take risk.  They never learn to make reasoned judgements because they have been encased in knee pads and helmets and allowed only supervised "safe" boring activities.

  3. Joyus Crynoid profile image76
    Joyus Crynoidposted 11 years ago

    I think the answer is yes.  I'm guessing that it can be attributed to a number of things: environment pollution (toxicants in the enviromnent cause abnormal neurological development), sensory overload (and consequent shortening of attention span), malnutrition, lack of exersize, and TV.  There is also a widespread celebration of ignorance in the United States (as evinced for example by denial of evolution, and the current crop of Republican presidential candidates), something that has deep roots in our history but seems now to be resurgent, which is not helping.

  4. rafken profile image74
    rafkenposted 11 years ago

    The majority I believe are yes. It is due to two factors the first being subject to continuous brainwashing by the elite owned media. Secondly the education system puts more effort on convincing students that they are smart, than they do on actually making them smart. All systems are now more concerned with Americans "towing the line" than they are at allowing freedom of thought. An example of this is that the elite, through their political puppets and the media, are convincing Americans that trillions of dollars of debt can just disappear if they just do nothing. Try doing that with a loan from a bank owned by one of these elitists and see how well it works. Leadership should be by example and that example should be a well educated sense of responsibility towards all, not greed, ignorance and super inflated egos.

  5. MrMaranatha profile image75
    MrMaranathaposted 11 years ago

    May not "Stupider" But how do rate Gullible and Blindly Trusting of Governments and Medias on a scale of intelligence???  You can have a very High Intellect and still be Brainwashed from watching and listening to the same sources continually.
    I think this is more the case than intellectual failure...

    The Bible puts it this way: 2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

    2Pe 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

    Willingly ignorant:  That means Dumb on Purpose...  Go Back and read 2 Peter 3: in its complete context and you will see that it is very much a Prophecy of today.

    Here is  more of 2 Peter 3:1-10
    1  This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
    2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
    3  Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
    4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
    5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
    6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
    7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
    8  But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
    9  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
    10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

  6. qeyler profile image68
    qeylerposted 11 years ago

    Yes they are, and it was a concerted effort coming after the protests in Vietnam.  It began with the 'Breast is Best' campaign, where lack of nutrition causes permanent brain damage in the ages 0 - 2. 

    This was followed by the end of 'streaming' children; that is no more 'bright' class/ 'dunce' class...hence the brighter children are held back by the dumber and since there is no longer physical punishment allowed, the child is drugged into a zombie.

    (remember all the behaviourial 'disorders'  appear in the '80s/90s along with an increase in autism)

    Hence by the 90s people really are that less intelligent; this was to limit social unrest.  Many University students don't even know where Afghanistan is or know there's a war going on.

  7. GNelson profile image60
    GNelsonposted 11 years ago

    We are still arguing about teaching evolution.   That would explain why our kids are behind the rest of the world?  Teachers have to walk a tight rope.  Standardized testing is a corporate value not an academic one.  Children need to explore, think for themselves, solve problems and create.   None of that fits nicely in a test score.

  8. MickS profile image60
    MickSposted 11 years ago

    I don't think that people, in general, in any society, are becoming more nearly stupid, I think that, perhaps, it seems that way because there are more outlets for the population's thoughts and ideas, or lack of thoughts and ideas.

  9. profile image0
    kate-olsonposted 11 years ago

    I think so. At the very least, we're intellectually lazy.

  10. Alecia Murphy profile image74
    Alecia Murphyposted 11 years ago

    Yes because it's almost as if our culture glorifies stupidity by promoting shows that show people at their most ruthless and self-centered instead of doing well for others. That and the fact people are famous for not having talent, insight, or humility but for their personal exploits leaking across the internet. It's not all hopeless but I think we should definitely turn it around if we hope to compete globally.

  11. profile image0
    Indigitalposted 11 years ago

    I do agree that maybe there is a social ethic at the moment, that being stupid may be classed as 'cool'. But really, that's more to do with youth idiols being idiots, Kim Kardasian, The Only Way is Essex, I could go on.

    I don't think modernisation in technology or advancement in video-games has anything to do with the problems of 'stupidity for youth', I think kids nowadays understand computers, electronics and games a lot more than any elderly could. And that progress in these areas are needed, as we're heading for a more 'online' approach to everything.

  12. lburmaster profile image74
    lburmasterposted 11 years ago

    Oh I think about this all the time. And yes, I believe they do not pay attention as much. They always ask what is going on in movies, wear clothes that do not express their feelings (just how they want to feel), and do not value what once was. It is upsetting to look at and I wonder if I should beat them all upside the head because of it.

  13. Wesman Todd Shaw profile image84
    Wesman Todd Shawposted 11 years ago

    People are seemingly able to grasp some information that might have been beyond earlier persons; but that's simply an effect of technology and the information age.

    Thinking critically about things is intentionally NOT taught in American education - and this is because when you have government by the corporations and for the corporations, it's hive mind worker ants that are most desired.

    I believe that were people to stop watching television and stop reading garbage promoted by mass media - that they would naturally sense the inconsistencies and the hypocrisy of things that they'd never before realized were parts of their "culture."

  14. profile image0
    Old Empresarioposted 11 years ago

    Stupid or ignorant? We have always been a very ignorant society, but our people have always been very clever and innovative. In terms of western high culture, like literature and the humanities, we have always been behind Europe (except for the brief period after WWII when Europe was virtually destroyed and our people were attending the ballet for the first time). Since then, our high culture has been in a steady decline due to the emphasis on high-paying low-brow art and entertainment, like film and advertising (AKA Television). Americans today are not stupid. They are just misinformed and are not taught anything by any institutions. Most people in the US don't know anything about history, literature, or philosophy. The '80s were just as bad as today--if not, worse. There was no internet in the '80s.

  15. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image89
    TIMETRAVELER2posted 11 years ago

    It sure seems that way.  I've noticed that people's basic communication skills are quite poor in general.  They don't really listen to each other.  I also think the decline of the family and the economic downturns have made people apathetic.  Thinking is no longer taught.  Survival skills are no longer taught.  People do not understand how our systems work, nor do they try to find out. 

    It's a very sad situation for me, because this is not the America I grew up in.

  16. ergenzinger profile image61
    ergenzingerposted 11 years ago

    I think the average person is less informed about current events and has a much shorter attention span than in previous generations. And I agree with another commenter that the fact we still have some communities arguing about teaching evolution in the schools is a frightening barometer for the level of intelligence in US society today.

  17. PatriciaTL profile image73
    PatriciaTLposted 11 years ago

    It seems that so many people have allowed technology to take over their lives.
    "Smart" used to be an adjective that modified "person" rather than "phone," for example.  Computers now do much of our thinking for us, giving us the freedom to pursue other interests yet depriving us of the mental exercise needed for the intellect to develop and progress. I agree with GNelson's comment about standardized testing, too.  For the most part, teachers are encouraged to teach to the (standardized) test rather than focus on critical thinking skills. As a former teacher, I know that teachers are discouraged by some administrators from holding students to a high standard.  I found that, for the most part, students will rise to the level of expectations.  If the administration refuses to support those expectations, however, and insists on dumbing down the curriculum, students will react in kind.

  18. Mary Merriment profile image78
    Mary Merrimentposted 11 years ago

    Well, the lowering of standards in school is enough to convince me that younger generations are learning less. The standards are set up in a manner to make children with slower learning abilities (whatever they may be) to become more average. Which pretty much slows down the progress of those who have higher abilities (or bores them to death). These days it has become less about teaching a child than about making a school look good. If you lower the overall standards, the school looks better. The result is the opposite of the statement "no child left behind" as there seems to be even more of them left behind than ever. yikes(

  19. teamelite21 profile image60
    teamelite21posted 11 years ago

    Like many posts on here before me have said, our technology is running the lives of kids now.  It's all about God of War and Black Ops or whatever.  Why study when you can play these games. Im not saying that having this technology is bad, but if parents don't limit it, it can get out of hand.  My parents made me do other things.  I really think it stems from the parents making sure their kids are in their books.  Kids have become lazy.  We have technology to make everything easier, so kids lose their ambition.  Not to mention the music they listen to, and stuff they watch.

  20. LoveLikeASunset profile image60
    LoveLikeASunsetposted 11 years ago

    I say yes, er, at least we as a society have gotten much more lazy. The advances in technology have made life a lot easier. Although this is an advantage, academic wise it has caused us to become very dependent on technology and take many short cuts. Whereas in the 80's, you had to do everything "the old fashion way," thus learning more in the process.

  21. Ana Teixeira profile image60
    Ana Teixeiraposted 11 years ago

    The Educational system all over the world is turning people into robots. Not only in America. I work with kids all day long.. and I can tell you.. they are not stupider... but they question less.. and they are less curious than we were. Lees curiosity... means less motivation to learn.. hence... less information...

  22. wonderingwoolley profile image59
    wonderingwoolleyposted 11 years ago

    I don't necessarily think the IQ of the average American has decreased, I believe that the interest and focus on being intellectual and continued education ( in a more practical, investigative way) has decreased a lot. Instead of focusing on nature, family, books or learning something new everyday, the younger generations are interested in video games, YouTube and Facebook. Not that these can't be positive learning tools, its just that they are used as entertainment, not as a way to network, share thoughtful ideas or be helpful to others. The culture has shifted from community based to "me and my society" it is much more self-centric than it used to be, and without the motivation of others, there is less emphasis put on education and similar endeavors. Also, education is not the main focus that it used to be, the educational system is broken, and without that, it is hard to facilitate learning.

  23. ssmith1534 profile image71
    ssmith1534posted 11 years ago

    I don't think people are dumber, I think people are a LOT more lazy than they were in the past. People don't want to work for anything anymore. Our society has found ways to speed things up, so now people expect things to come to them at a faster pace. Also, people don't want to think for themselves. Which is why they don't bother to read half the time. Technology has definitely made some great advances, but it has come with its setbacks.

  24. Zaeolus profile image61
    Zaeolusposted 11 years ago

    People in general are dumber, because they don't care. It seems the current generation, (my generation unfortunately) are more worried about the short term rather than the long term, so I notice a lot of basic education, and things that anyone would normally commit to memory early are being ignored or shrugged off. I'm not sure of the reason, but just looking at some posts on Facebook, or elsewhere online you see the easiest things as far as grammar and such being overlooked. I can't read something without seeing "Should of", "Could of", not to mention the wrong versions of "There, their, they're", and "Two, too, to". It's not difficult stuff, and we all learn it early, it seems the short term focus makes most forget or ignore it initially altogether. I know tons of people than know neither the actual pronunciation or spelling of pretty basic stuff. I actually had to explain to someone that the abbreviation of Et Cetera is etc. rather than ect. because is an abbreviation for an actual latin phrase, and that it's actually pronounced fully as "Et Cetera". I hate my generation.

  25. Rain Defence profile image81
    Rain Defenceposted 11 years ago

    I think so. Nowadays people have children as a means of income. These are usually not the brightest people around, in fact they're pond life in my opinion but they tend to squeeze out lots of kids and then they get supported with welfare. They teach the children that is a good idea so they do the same so the problem grows. You then get a large family of kids that are not supported or educated properly and they then multiply when they're old enough to breed.
    This never used to happen, people used to have to support their children and if they couldn't do it, they wouldn't have them, or at least wouldn't be able to have as many. If they couldn't feed them, the children would die.
    It also seems to be cool to be stupid now. I have read plenty of profiles etc where there are sections to list your favourite author and often they tend to be filled with answers like 'whats one of them lol'. These people show pride in not reading, rather than embarrassment.
    I heard about someone local to me who gets welfare payments the other day, he has been offered a free course in something or other. It's probably forklift driving or something that would help him get a job.
    He's so opposed to learning so he can better himself, he's quitting welfare. He will doubtless go back on the following week once the free course offer is not available any more.
    This is a free course, if it were me and I could get a qualification in something for nothing, then I'd definitely do it, even if I wouldn't use it immediately, just so I had it under my belt.
    These are the sort of people that we support with our taxes and they are just breeding as they have all the money that they want. In fact they get encouraged to create more stupidity by being financially rewarded. I believe in supporting people that need it, but I don't support creating bludgers who just breed more and more stupid people who also hold out their hands and create more and more.

  26. DougBerry profile image82
    DougBerryposted 11 years ago

    It's De-evolution at work.  Q:  Are we not men?  A:  We are Devo.

  27. smzclark profile image60
    smzclarkposted 11 years ago

    We had to go to the library and read a book to get the information we needed, kids now only have to type in a word. To write an essay, they can copy, paste and use the thesaurus. The more technology improves, the less people have to learn. People used to keep information in their heads, now they keep it all on their computers and other devices. There was a time when you had to learn to do everything, now all you need to know is how to use a computer and the rest will follow---one person's opinion only :-).

    Why do it when something else can do it for you?

  28. kesinee profile image75
    kesineeposted 11 years ago

    As the rapid changes of technologies nowadays, the American life style, especially young generation change their behavior. Most of them enjoy sitting in front of the computer/PC monitor rather than doing other activities including reading. So they cannot consider 'stupider' than their elderly or older generation. If we can use technologies to work for us. For example, the engineer can use the specific software  creates or computes the building for us. Why don't we use it?

  29. profile image0
    VeronicaInspiresposted 11 years ago

    I definitely think society is being “dumbed down” and “numbed down,” and I don't think it's coincidental but rather intentional. Since this country was founded on capitalism and big business, those businesses need people who can be easily put to work.

    Businesses don't need people always questioning the system, who are hard to contain and people who always question the rules. Businesses need people who can be controlled and just do the job that's put in front of them. Companies don't need people to think, they need people to do.

    Look at the educational system. Education is a big business. I've since graduated from college, but I can tell you that what I've learned just in these past few years on my own, is double, triple and quadruple the amounts of all of my schooling combined. People are told to go to school, get a degree and find a job. Very rarely is the push for people to go and create jobs. Students take a bunch of standardized tests and regurgitate a bunch of uselessness – stuff they'll never use... and for what purpose? To show that they can follow the rules.

    Add media to the mix and the result is the same. People are coming away “dumbed down” and “numbed down” unable to barely think for themselves. Turn off your TV for a month and you'll see what I mean. Those are the kinds of people businesses want to employ.

  30. Maddambutterfly profile image78
    Maddambutterflyposted 11 years ago

    I don't know if they are getting stupider, but I do believe that they are getting slightly more ignorant by choice. Yes...ignorant and numb. I have noticed that more and more I find myself saying that "you can't fix stupid". My best friend always says: God must have really loved stupid people because he sure did make a lot of them".

  31. avan989 profile image68
    avan989posted 11 years ago

    It depend on the location in the US. The poorer the area, the stupider the region is. I mean look at Silicon Valley, how many teenage millionaire they made. These kids are self made millionaire too. Same thing about college, quality of education depends on location. People from MIT vs. some unknown college. It also varies by major. As a society, no. But it could seem that way because the smart usually take advantage of the poor.

  32. profile image0
    reeltaulkposted 11 years ago

    Well you know something is really wrong when you have to experience politeness and sincerity that has a reverse and cynical meaning.  Most of the time no shame in making it known..... you know exactly what they mean because they aren't trying to hide the fact that they could give a damn going or coming if you know cause they don't care.  It's like a new backwards way of communicating.  Acting the part is suffice enough for them to feel good about themselves whether it is pretending to be polite, concerned or "professional".  These days people ask questions that they aren't looking to be answered and if answered more than likely it should be short and sweet.  They really don't want to be bogged down with whats really going on.  Sometimes a question is just a means to getting to their true intention.  People acting like they care or using words to come across as they do when in all essence they don't, is just pathetic and sad.  Have a nice day!  is just one of the above.... Oh boy.....another smart ass.  I mean what's the point to someone that doesn't behave in that manner you just come across as an ass.

    As for the college grads they believe they are the cats meow and secretly look down on people who haven't spent thousands of dollars like they.  It is a joke because they come off as a joke with their better than thou mentality, but time always tell.  Just funny and repulsive at the same time

  33. Spacekid profile image59
    Spacekidposted 11 years ago

    Yes, but not exactly through school education. Technically, people are getting smarter through evolution, but some of them probably don't do anything to allow their brains to "expand." In short: They don't want to discover things, they just want the scientists, doctors, public media, etc. to do it, basically making their 'dumbness' awaken through mental laziness. It appeared that through history people used to somewhat have the "someone has to do something" spirit, but here, it's like "nope, I'll just let someone else do that first and just stand there to be amazed."


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)