As a product of the Louisiana and Oklahoma public school systems, the graph below really doesn't surprise me (nor should it surprise the readers of this blog) as much as it does confirm my suspicion that South is well, you know, different.
The NYTimes Economix blog via MapScroll informs us that the Human Development Index (HDI) combines measures of various social indicators, including life expectancy, literacy, education, and per capita GDP, to measure overall human development, which "refers to the process of widening the options of persons, giving them greater opportunities for education, health care, income, employment, etc."
The United States ranks rather high (15th out of all countries), but the HDI of individual states varies quite a bit. Here is a map from Wikipedia of states by their human development index score:
Connecticut, which has the highest development of all American states, is roughly comparable with Ireland (the fifth most-developed country worldwide). But Mississippi has an H.D.I. level roughly on par with that of Turkey (#76 in the international development rankings).
Apparently I got a little trigger happy in my excitement to post this map last week. Mapscroll updated their post here for the real HDI data available here. It's still interesting, but Mississippi it seems is more akin to being the runt of the litter as opposed to being the black sheep, which the original map seemed to indicate.