Average IQ in Europe by country (map)

by Jakub Marian
Tip: Did you know that “iron” is pronounced as “I earn”, not as “I Ron”? Learn more about the most common pronunci­ation mistakes in English (PDF version).

Please note: Quality of education greatly influences IQ scores, i.e. a lower average IQ is more indicative of lower access to wide-scale quality education rather than innate intelligence (see my explanation of the issue). Also, testing conditions influence results; wealthier countries are more likely to be able to afford better testing conditions for participants.

The data may be outdated for some countries (not all up-to-date statistical data was available for all countries). Because of inevitable statistical errors, isolated figures must be taken with a grain of salt.

Before using strong words in the comments, please consider:

My intention with the map wasn’t to advertize or ridicule any particular country (I didn’t know the numbers beforehand). I just created a visualization of statistical data based on a highly-cited scientific paper (see below).

Lower access to quality education anywhere in the world is in no one’s interest (maybe apart from politicians and companies wanting to conrol people). The correct question we should ask therefore is: What is the reason behind the trends we see? What can we, the European society, do to help countries with worse performing education systems?

Update: Lynn, Vanhanen (2012)

The following map has been made after one of my readers pointed out that a book based on newer data, Intelligence: A Unifying Construct for the Social Sciences by Lynn and Vanhanen, was available. See below for the original map. Note that particular figures in most countries may be slightly lower than in the original map simply because the normalization used is based on a different set of data. Numbers written in parentheses are only estimates based on demographics.

Lynn and Vanhanen (as well as Rindermann below) used not only IQ measurements available in the respective countries but also, to a great degree, various standardized student assessment studies and known correlations between IQ and results of such studies:

UPDATE for Bosnia and Herzegovina: Due to a controversy surrounding the Balkans, I reviewed the data. Lynn and Vanhanen made a numerical (or typographical) error in the case of Bosnia, which is now corrected. The data for the rest of the Balkans agrees with the available PISA and TIMSS studies (standardized student assessment studies).

europe-iq-2012

It is also not without interest what the map looks like when the raw IQ data is not adjusted using student assessment studies. N/A means that the IQ shown above was based solely on student assessment studies:

europe-iq-2012-unadjusted

To be able to better compare the maps, you can see the difference in the following picture. One should note that an unusually high difference for Bosnia and Herzegovina shows that there must be a significant statistical error in at least one the figures above.

europe-iq-2012-change

The original [outdated!] map: Rindermann (2007)

Note: Since the maps above are based on more recent data, the map shown here should be considered outdated. The map is based on statistical data contained in the 2007 paper “The g-Factor of International Cognitive Ability Comparisons” by H. Rindermann. Rindermann used available IQ measurements and other available testing data in various countries, normalized the data using the so called “Greenwich IQ”, i.e. setting UK = 100, and then applied certain adjustments to estimate the average IQ of the whole population.

UPDATE for Croatia: As was pointed out by one of my readers, although Rindermann used data on Croatia from a relatively recent paper, the paper in turn used data several decades old, which I wasn’t aware of while creating the map. The caption for Croatia has been changed to N/A as there is no up-to-date data source for it consistent with the rest.

Note: Kosovo is understood as a part of Serbia and Crimea as a part of Ukraine for the purposes of these statistics. Rindermann estimated data for several countries, which were originally in the map but are now set to N/A because the map above provides actual data, so the estimates are now worthless.

The underlying blank map is due to Tindo and licensed from fotolia.com. If you want to share the map, please share a link to this webpage instead of sharing just an isolated picture.

europe-iq

By the way, are you not a native English speaker? Then you should check out the list of over 500 commonly mispronounced words I have compiled in the form of a book. There’s also a downloadable PDF version.

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