Which US states are the smartest?

I tried to assemble some new measurements of IQ data from around the US and make them accessible:

State IQ can be estimated by analyzing scores from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competency (for adults), and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (for fourth and eighth grade children) exams.

This was done in this paper (and that’s where I drew the data from):

The author was fired from the university for his research, and here’s a “rational” character assassination piece made about him:

But he’s fighting back:

The numbers are comparable to other estimates, e.g.: The States With The Highest (And Lowest) Average IQ - Zippia




I so want to see that map extended north.


I wouldn’t bother. There’s something fundamentally wrong with any state that acts thuggish. All the northern states allegedly have higher IQ, yet ALL the fundamentally wrong thinking comes from those self-same states.


Perhaps. but extending the map north goes into Canada, where the pressures on IQ distribution are different. Extending South into Mexico would also be interesting for the same reasons.

Also, if bad ideas are correlated with high IQ, than the map should have the highest IQs centered around both New England and California, where I maintain the worst ideas are.

I suspect there is something wrong with the data anyways.


I sometimes think that IQ is a bit like programmability: the more programmable you are, the easier it is to mess things up. Compare, for example, a highly programmable Windows with a more constrained iOS or Android.

Humans have been coevolving with religion for millennia to constrain plastic intelligence to what makes evolutionary sense.


I think climate matters. Risk of dying from exposure raises the benefit to learning from others’ mistakes. Modest pressure on the gene pool becomes significant over long time spans.


The real issue is people who think they are smarter than they are. And that’s actually going to be a bigger problem in communities where there are a lot of smart people.

Someone with a 115 IQ in a community of people with 120 IQs but who thinks he has a 140 IQ is likely to think up something really stupid that adversely effects the world.

Someone with a 90 IQ in a community of people with 95 IQs but who thinks he has a 105 IQ is less likely to think of anything but, if he does, the effects will be quite limited.


A related thread with more info:
Screenshot 2024-02-14 at 11.54.39 AM

What’s surprising is the contrast between intelligent suburban communities – and the Democrat cities where the elites are supported by a considerable number of servants, lowering the average.


Perhaps. But my experience is that really intelligent people are so only in a narrow band. OTOH they think they’re geniuses - at EVERYTHING. This sense is usually greatly enhanced if they have money. In our society, a person’s worth is measured on the balance sheet - unfortunately. I OTOH have known a number of real geniuses. It is fascinating to watch how their minds “work” - or more often fail. At simple things.


A related, but better, hypothesis is that midwits* are more conformist because they are adept at discerning which way the social winds are blowing. Thus, they are able to virtue-signal their way to higher status. This idea is not originally mine; it’s from Ed Dutton’s work, who in turn relies partly on a publication by Noah Carl.

The graphic linked in the post identifies the states with a higher concentration of midwits.

*midwits doesn’t mean someone of average IQ. Dutton explains in the linked video.


This map is a classic midwit product. Note the absence of any units for the cognitive ability scale. Are those IQ points, sigmas,…? If they’re just points out of 100, 3 is only about 1/5 sigma, which is negligible. It’s highly unlikely that the units are sigmas because it’s not credible that any county would be three sigma above the mean.

The thread that contains this map has other products of midwittery, viz., unitless SeS. What are the units of socioeconomic status, anyhow?


It takes a midwit to reject a whole journal just because two papers had a typo. :stuck_out_tongue:

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The journal Mankind Quarterly has been on the leftist hate list for a long time.

Or was the “journal” in question a thread on X? In that case, only a midwit would think leaving off the units on data is a “typo” and refer to a social media site a a “journal.” :stuck_out_tongue:


It’s always fun to embrace and extend the environmental-determinists during social interacts with, “Intelligence is 100% environmental…” at which point they nod vigorously in pious approval, at which point I say to them… “if I take a loaded gun, remove the safety, point it straight at your head and pull the trigger, the environment eliminates 100% of your intelligence!”

Now, while I understand that this doesn’t deal with their retreat position which basically says something like, “Yeah, systemic racism is doing that to black babies!” it does manage to get them to start thinking about intelligence as a potential not necessarily shared by your typical potato.