How smart or stupid is your country?

I.Q. or Intelligence Quotient is a score derived from one of several standardized tests designed to assess human intelligence.

Like most natural human attributes, such as height, weight, or beauty, intelligence as measured by IQ tests falls into a normal distribution or bell-shaped curve, wherein the average (mean, median, and mode) score bisects the population into two equal halves, with most people clustering at or around the average, and few people in the curve’s two extreme ends.

The normal distribution curve can be divided by standard deviation (SD) units up or down the curve.

In the IQ normal distribution curve:

  • Tthe average raw score is 100.
  • Each SD unit is comprised of 15 IQ points.
  • Approximately 95% of the population have an IQ between 70 and 130, which is within two standard deviations ± of the mean.
  • An IQ score of 145 is considered to be genius-level because, as you can see from the graph above, such an individual has an IQ that’s very rare. Only 0.1% of the human population have an IQ higher than 145; or, put another way, if your IQ is 145, you are more intelligent than 99.9% of humans.
  • In contrast, individuals with IQ of 70 or below are severely cognitively challenged. In non-politically correct terms, they are morons (IQ of 51 to 70), imbeciles (IQ of 21-50), and idiots (IQ of 0 to 20). Please make a note of this.

To convert a raw IQ score into a percentile ranking, click here.

IQ scores have been shown to be associated or correlated with such factors as morbidity (health and disease), parental social status, and biological parental IQ. The inheritability of intelligence is politically controversial because the average IQ of certain racial groups — blacks (in the U.S. and even more in Africa), “native” Americans, and Hispanics — persistently are found to be lower than the human population average of 100. The consensus among scientists is that heredity and environment account for about 80% and 20%, respectively, of human intelligence.

While IQ is not a perfect measure of human intelligence (as if any measure is), IQ scores have proven to be good correlates and predictors of educational achievement, special needs, job performance, and income.

Below is a list of the average IQ scores of the world’s countries. The scores came from:

  • Work carried out earlier this decade by 2 scientists — British psychologist Richard Lynn and Finnish political scientist Tatu Vanhanen — who analysed IQ studies from 113 countries;
  • Subsequent research work by Dutch psychologist Jelte Wicherts.

In the list below, countries are ranked in the order from those with the highest average national IQ scores, to those with the lowest. Here’s the color code:

  • Blue: countries in North America
  • Green: Central and South America, Caribbean islands
  • Pink: Europe (East, West, Central) and Russia
  • Pink & Brown: Eurasia
  • Purple: Middle-East (incl. some countries in North Africa)
  • Brown: Asia (East, Central, South)
  • Turquoise: Australia, New Zealand, Pacific islands
  • Red: Africa
1 Singapore 108
2 South Korea 106
3 Japan 105
4 Italy 102
5 Iceland 101
5 Mongolia 101
6 Switzerland 101
7 Austria 100
7 China 100
7 Luxembourg 100
7 Netherlands 100
7 Norway 100
7 United Kingdom 100
8 Belgium 99
8 Canada 99
8 Estonia 99
8 Finland 99
8 Germany 99
8 New Zealand 99
8 Poland 99
8 Sweden 99
9 Andorra 98
9 Australia 98
9 Czech Republic 98
9 Denmark 98
9 France 98
9 Hungary 98
9 Latvia 98
9 Spain 98
9 United States 98
10 Belarus 97
10 Malta 97
10 Russia 97
10 Ukraine 97
11 Moldova 96
11 Slovakia 96
11 Slovenia 96
11 Uruguay 96
12 Israel 95
12 Portugal 95
13 Armenia 94
13 Georgia 94
13 Kazakhstan 94
13 Romania 94
13 Vietnam 94
14 Argentina 93
14 Bulgaria 93
15 Greece 92
15 Ireland 92
15 Malaysia 92
16 Brunei 91
16 Cambodia 91
16 Cyprus 91
16 Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 91
16 Lithuania 91
16 Sierra Leone 91
16 Thailand 91
17 Albania 90
17 Bosnia and Herzegovina 90
17 Chile 90
17 Croatia 90
17 Kyrgyzstan 90
17 Turkey 90
18 Cook Islands 89
18 Costa Rica 89
18 Laos 89
18 Mauritius 89
18 Serbia 89
18 Suriname 89
19 Ecuador 88
19 Mexico 88
19 Samoa 88
20 Azerbaijan 87
20 Bolivia 87
20 Brazil 87
20 Guyana 87
20 Indonesia 87
20 Iraq 87
20 Myanmar (Burma) 87
20 Tajikistan 87
20 Turkmenistan 87
20 Uzbekistan 87
21 Kuwait 86
21 Philippines 86
21 Seychelles 86
21 Tonga 86
22 Cuba 85
22 Eritrea 85
22 Fiji 85
22 Kiribati 85
22 Peru 85
22 Trinidad and Tobago 85
22 Yemen 85
23 Afghanistan 84
23 Bahamas, The 84
23 Belize 84
23 Colombia 84
23 Iran 84
23 Jordan 84
23 Marshall Islands 84
23 Micronesia, Federated States of 84
23 Morocco 84
23 Nigeria 84
23 Pakistan 84
23 Panama 84
23 Paraguay 84
23 Saudi Arabia 84
23 Solomon Islands 84
23 Uganda 84
23 United Arab Emirates 84
23 Vanuatu 84
23 Venezuela 84
24 Algeria 83
24 Bahrain 83
24 Libya 83
24 Oman 83
24 Papua New Guinea 83
24 Syria 83
24 Tunisia 83
25 Bangladesh 82
25 Dominican Republic 82
25 India 82
25 Lebanon 82
25 Madagascar 82
25 Zimbabwe 82
26 Egypt 81
26 Honduras 81
26 Maldives 81
26 Nicaragua 81
27 Barbados 80
27 Bhutan 80
27 El Salvador 80
27 Kenya 80
28 Guatemala 79
28 Sri Lanka 79
28 Zambia 79
29 Congo, Democratic Republic of the 78
29 Nepal 78
29 Qatar 78
30 Comoros 77
30 South Africa 77
31 Cape Verde 76
31 Congo, Republic of the 76
31 Mauritania 76
31 Senegal 76
32 Mali 74
32 Namibia 74
33 Ghana 73
34 Tanzania 72
35 Central African Republic 71
35 Grenada 71
35 Jamaica 71
35 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 71
35 Sudan 71
36 Antigua and Barbuda 70
36 Benin 70
36 Botswana 70
36 Rwanda 70
36 Togo 70
37 Burundi 69
37 Cote d’Ivoire 69
37 Ethiopia 69
37 Malawi 69
37 Niger 69
38 Angola 68
38 Burkina Faso 68
38 Chad 68
38 Djibouti 68
38 Somalia 68
38 Swaziland 68
39 Dominica 67
39 Guinea 67
39 Guinea-Bissau 67
39 Haiti 67
39 Lesotho 67
39 Liberia 67
39 Saint Kitts and Nevis 67
39 Sao Tome and Principe 67
40 Gambia, The 66
41 Cameroon 64
41 Gabon 64
41 Mozambique 64
42 Saint Lucia 62
43 Equatorial Guinea 59
North Korea N/A

The average IQ of No. 43: Equatorial Guinea is 59, which means the average Equatorial Guinean is a moron (IQ of 51 to 70).

Let that thought and its implications sink in . . . .

I cannot emphasize enough that the above IQ scores are national AVERAGES, which means the scores are not representative of EVERYONE in those countries. There are intelligent and stupid people in every country and every race — which is why we should never generalize from these average IQ scores to INDIVIDUAL members of a country or race. Instead, we should treat everyone we meet as INDIVIDUALS, not as members of some race or country.

Lastly, many years ago I learned a very important lesson from the department secretary of the university in which I was teaching. She was not the brightest bulb: I estimate her IQ to be slightly below the population average of 100, probably in the 90s. But she was kind and sweet, a loyal friend and a genuinely good soul.

The lesson I learned from Kathy is that intelligence is greatly overrated. If I had to choose, I will always pick virtue over a high intelligence. In fact, there is no one as dangerous and lethal as a highly intelligent but evil person. After all, Adolf Hitler no doubt was highly intelligent.

Whatever your IQ is, it was a gratuitous gift from our Creator. What is important is not how gifted we are but what we do with the intellect and intelligence He so generously gave us. Just remember the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30): To some He gave great intelligence and many talents; to others, He gave only a few. But each of us, whether genius or imbecile, one day will be called to account for what we did with the talents we were given.


How smart or stupid is your country?
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0 responses to “How smart or stupid is your country?

  1. That was a phenomenal posting! You are so right, a righteous heart beats out high intelligence every time.

  2. Dr. Eowyn: in regards to your last — and so very important — point.
    One of the very first jobs I ever had was in the Ladies’ Department of a low-end chain store, no longer extant. I found it horrifically boring, and endured it for a bit less than a year until I went off to college.
    A few months into my tenure there, they hired a woman from a local halfway house (those were pretty new back then). She was mildly retarded; too much so ever to live alone. Her name was Helen.
    Helen was a darling. She loved everyone; she came in to work every day cheerful and happy. She was SO proud of being able to have a job. She was entrusted with the keys to the changing room, and could count to be sure ladies brought in no more than 3 garments. She gave them the tag with a 1, 2, or 3 on it to take in with them, and made sure the garments brought back out were equal in number to the tag. When not busy with this duty, she folded clothes out on the tables.
    I had to fight hard within myself not to envy her, because I realized that I would NEVER hold a job that thrilled me so much, that was a rigorous intellectual challenge that I could still meet every single day, where I was surrounded always by the nicest people I would ever hope to work with, serve the nicest customers in the world, and be so appropriately proud every day of what I had achieved.
    I still think of Helen, and wonder how she is doing (she may well be gone now; this was decades ago and she wasn’t young then). She, who was so intellectually my inferior (I graduated from a college, the diploma from which gains instant membership to MENSA), had so VERY much to teach me. Considering how bone-stupid I was in many ways, at 17 years old, I am so fortunate that I was able to see and learn the life lessons she had to teach to me.

  3. Son of the Rabbit People

    I appreciate what your point is; and count myself to be truly blessed to live in a country as blessed as this is. What I couldn’t help but notice is this: if I were running a country, I would try to attract as many people from the top of the list as possible while limiting severely the opportunities for people from the bottom of the list. This would ensure that my country imported the brightest and most capable. Now I ask you…which half of this list does our government seem to want to attract?

  4. Liberia is 67…any wonder why they can’t control Ebola there? The general population isn’t bright enough to understand basic concepts of hygiene, among other things…


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  8. Thank you Dr. Eowyn for this most noteworthy post. Thank God that Our Lord does not require great intelligence to be holy.

  9. Dr. Eowyn: Thank you for the reply to my question about I.Q. scores. Your post is so interesting, and the detail it covers is amazing. The Bible verse in Matthew 25:14-30, that you quoted, is a wonderful spiritual perspective. The story that Catherine told about Helen is deeply touching. I have often wondered if “keen intuition” is considered as a type of intelligence. Well, according to the information, a score of 119 is above average, but not genius. I took a test once for employment at a military base. The testing psychologist wrote the comments: High end of normal functioning. There was also a portion that involved rendering drawings from certain sizes and shapes, on the test. One drawing was in the shape of a “C”, so I drew a picture of a pretty teacup on a saucer . Were the sizes and shapes used to determine if someone was sane or not? Then, there was a square, so I drew interconnecting cubes. Well, the good part was “I was hired”. You always have such interesting and informative topics. God Bless, Leeann

    • Thank you, Leeann.
      To put your 119 IQ in better perspective: Its percentile ranking of 89.7 means only 10% of the population have a higher score than you, which is impressive! That means out of 10 people you randomly meet, the chances are only one of them is smarter than you. 😉
      The drawings from certain sizes and shapes in the test you took probably was a spatial perception test, which is one element of overall cognitive intelligence.

  10. Someone from far away

    Thanks for the interesting article. And I realy like the way you finished it. 🙂 In my country (East-Europe) women like me are bullied all the time (my highschool IQ scores are 148), so I really appreciate my boyfriend, who has an average IQ, but has a hight EQ, meaning accepts me as I am, doesn’t want to prove that females are worthless, and doesn’t call me names just because my interests and knowledge are different from other girls. I’m really blessed with him! 🙂

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  12. I want no more Italian jokes! Hear what I am saying, everybody from Iceland to East Guinea. Sorry to try humor in such a serious subject needing your posting, but I am from one of the countries in the greater mass of humanity beneath Italy.


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