David Becker has released a new version of the World’s IQ. Each country has a score showing the cognitive abilities of their citizens, this being a blend of genetics and the environment of each country, particularly as regards education and health. The world’s global score is 82. This is 12th percentile rank on the Greenwich Mean Intelligence benchmark of IQ 100. As school teachers used to say in end of year reports: “Could do better”.
What does IQ 82 mean in practical terms? The account below gives the achievements as shown in Western economies, with free education and usually free healthcare, and will need to be adjusted for other economies, probably downwards to account for poorer educational systems and the burdens of ill health.
Here, in broad terms, are descriptions of those in the IQ 75 (5th percentile) to IQ 90 (25th percentile) range.
Tribe 2 “Uphill Battle” These are the next 20% of the population in terms of ability. They would be 2,000 citizens in the town of 10,000 inhabitants. Learning is somewhat faster, and achievements are of better quality. Learning varies from the slow pace, simple materials and careful supervision already mentioned previously, to very explicit, hands-on training. They tend to credulity, belief in god and superstition. They can locate the intersection of two streets on a map, identify two features in a newspaper sports story, perhaps calculate the total cost of purchases listed in a catalogue, and draw inferences from two identifiable facts and deal with some distractors. Vocabularies are somewhat larger, computation includes some multiplication and division. In terms of reading they will enjoy a little more depth in terms of content. Employment opportunities include simple assembly and packaging tasks, food preparation, assistant roles in caring professions. They can use some checklists, and procedural guides. The armed services will probably not recruit them, because many of them will take too long to train. They have a 21% lower survival up to age 76 (Whalley&Deary 2001). They have about a 50% greater risk of hospitalization for schizophrenia, mood disorder, and alcohol-related disorders (Gale et al. 2010) and for personality disorders (Moran et al. 2009) with more self-reported psychological distress (Gale et al. 2009) and with a greater risk of vascular dementia (McGurn et al. 2008). They will probably have fast lifestyles, with restricted planning and savings. They have more accidents than average, probably twice as many motor vehicle accidents than average. In IQ terms they are between 75 and 90.
As a rule of thumb we can say that in the US the average male at IQ 82 would be earning very roughly $43,000 (in 2011 dollars) as compared with $ 63,500 for men of average intelligence. Naturally, this would be far more than in other countries of the world, but shows the nature of the market penalty for low ability.
Another take on the meaning of intelligence, this post by Anatoly Karlin looks at individual maths test items, and links each item to what it might mean for impact on the economy.
For example, here is a level 3 item, which would already be causing trouble to some at the 12th percentile.
There has been a lot of animus against country intelligence scores. As explained before, data quality varies between countries. You already knew that, because if countries really differ in intelligence, that will show in the way they conduct themselves. Some countries will do forward planning, and others will do less. Some will conduct regular censuses and surveys, and others won’t. Some countries may have people who are more willing to cheat than other countries.
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