Modern Family: Every Main Character, Ranked By Intelligence

Modern Family characters really run the gamut from dim-witted to brainiac, and here's our ranking of every major character's level of intelligence.

Fans of Modern Family will be sad when the long-running ABC sitcom ends after its 11th and final season, which is currently airing.

Since 2009, the mockumentary-style series has brought tons of laughs as viewers watch the family go about their daily lives dealing with tons of hijinks, jokes, and misunderstandings that end in complete hilarity. The ensemble cast includes patriarch Jay Pritchett and his second wife Gloria, her son and their young son together, Jay’s daughter Claire, her husband Phil, and their three kids, and Jay’s son’s Mitch, his husband Cameron, and their adopted daughter.

While each character is funny in their own right, some are more intelligent than others. Who’s the smartest of the bunch, and who isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed? Here’s a rundown.

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11 Haley Dunphy

Generally flaky and considered dimwitted, a lot of things go right over Haley’s head. While she found her calling working for a weird internet lifestyle brand, she often struggled in school and didn’t get good grades. She’s made dumb decisions and was always the one who didn’t get the joke when everyone else was laughing.

Haley might lack more motivation and drive than smarts and is self-absorbed which makes her more unaware than unintelligent. Nonetheless, she ranks as the least-intelligent member of the family.

10 Dylan Marshall

Long-time boyfriend of eldest Dunphy daughter Haley, Dylan is now her husband and father to their twin babies. While he always has good intentions, Dylan isn’t exactly the smartest guy. The “bad boy” in high school, he often displays a lack of common sense and a general confusion about what’s going on.

That said, Dylan might be smarter than he lets on given his current studies to become a nurse. He’s also a talented guitar player. Still, when it comes to IQ, Dylan probably wouldn’t score very well.

9 Luke Dunphy

While interestingly, the actor who plays Luke, Nolan Gould, is a member of MENSA with a genius-level IQ, the character has always been the one the family worried about. Would he ever graduate high school much less be able to hold down a job?

As dimwitted as his older sister Haley, Luke seems more like a troublemaker who downplays his intelligence than someone who isn’t smart. Indeed, in the latest episode, it appears he has a great idea for a business venture, and he even found a wealthy investor to partner with. So, Luke might be smarter than everyone gives him credit for.

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8 Manny Delgado

Manny is very mature, cultured and has a passion for theater and filmmaking. He appears to be a pretty smart kid and is definitely wise beyond his years. But he’s still a kid and has a lot of learning to do.

He knows a lot about random topics, from literature to music, arts, baking, and technology. So, with a few years on him, he has the potential to leapfrog many of his older adult family members to become a much smarter version of himself.

7 Cameron Tucker

Cam isn't unintelligent, but, having grown up in a small town and on a farm, he didn't really receive the same type of education as others in the family. With more street smarts than academic smarts, he knows a lot about certain topics. But he is generally not the one you'd want to send to compete on Jeopardy!

He was a music teacher prior to having Lily, however, and is now a football coach. He claims to have won many awards in school in areas like art and science, but would his education rival that of his husband Mitchell's? Probably not. Nonetheless, Cameron is in the middle of the pack when it comes to smarts.

6 Gloria Delgado-Pritchett

Don’t let the high heels, whiny voice, voluptuous body, and housewife status fool you: Gloria has street smarts coming out the wazoo and is a strong, independent woman.

In the latest season, she is studying with Phil to work in real estate and demonstrated a strong aptitude for learning and for the field. She has the smarts to navigate dealing with her surly husband, a needy older son, and a young grade-school son. When something needs to get done, she cleverly figures out a way to do it.

5 Phil Dunphy

Modern Family Phil Dunphy fun

Phil is goofy, wacky, and cheesy, and often seems clueless, hapless, and prone to delivering double entendres without realizing it. But there’s a lot more beneath the surface. As a successful realtor who was the sole provider for his family for the last 20 or so years, he has a great aptitude for business.

Desperate to be the “cool dad,” however, means that sometimes his efforts and overly-positive nature come across as unintelligent. But, when the chips are down, Phil is a successful businessman who knows what he’s doing.

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4 Claire Dunphy

Claire was the doting housewife while the kids were growing up, but she had given up her career in account management to raise her children. Recently returning to work to run her father’s closets company after his retirement, she has proven herself to be a great businesswoman.

While she’s not as cheerful as Phil, often stressed out and uptight, Claire is really smart and the years she spent rearing three children has made her able to handle just about anything.

3 Mitchell Pritchett

Less outgoing and confident than his older sister Claire, though equally high-strung, Mitchell has a bit of a chip on his shoulder. But, when it comes to smarts, he has them in spades.

A lawyer, he has come to his family’s defense when they needed legal help and his Type-A nature would make it difficult for him to be anything but super intelligent and driven. Plus, we know he graduated at the top of his class at both Cornell and Columbia, which further proves he has some serious brainpower.

2 Jay Pritchett

Having started his own successful company that has afforded him great riches, there’s no doubt that Jay is a smart man. He may have neglected his family growing up to focus on his career. But, as founder and CEO of Pritchett’s Closets & Blinds, it allowed him to enjoy the life he has today, and it didn’t come by luck.

Now retired, Jay has shown that the wheels of entrepreneurship are always turning in his head as he has started another venture making creative dog beds for pups. A war veteran, Jay is both tough and smart, and his long life has come with lots of learning.

1 Alex Dunphy

As smart as Jay is, when it comes to intelligence, the one with the most promise in the family is Alex. She is a total Type-A, high-strung, and always focused on school and now her career aspirations.

The middle child, she had a poem published in a magazine when she was just five years old and has always been an overachiever. Her cleverness extends to her constant and witty sarcasm, and she often flaunts her superior intelligence, both intentionally and unintentionally.

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