Measures of human intellect are known as IQ. To get an IQ score, people take standardized exams and get a ranking of their intellect. The greater someone scores on the IQ test, the more intellectual they are deemed to be.
It is important to note that the concept of intelligence quotient (IQ) is a controversial and contested measure of intelligence, and it is not a perfect or definitive way to compare the intellectual abilities of individuals or populations.
That being said, there are some sources that attempt to rank countries by average IQ scores, although these rankings should be taken with caution and skepticism.
IQ scores are usually reported as a number, with the average score being 100 and scores above or below that indicating above or below average intelligence, respectively.
However, it is important to note that IQ scores are just one measure of intelligence and do not account for other important factors such as emotional intelligence, creativity, and social skills.
Additionally, there is controversy around the use and interpretation of IQ scores, as some critics argue that the tests are culturally biased and do not accurately measure intelligence across diverse populations.
Table of Contents
There are two sides to every coin: IQ and education.
The level of one’s education and the resources at one’s disposal are often reflected in one’s IQ score. Compared to nations with higher IQ scores, areas of the globe with lower IQ scores are often poorer and less developed, notably in education.
For a long time, scientists have used IQ to identify the world’s brightest nations. The IQ map above shows the average IQ score for each nation. A violet indicates a lower IQ with a deeper tint. As a result, nations with the highest average IQ score look red-orange.
Is There a Country with the Highest IQ Per Capita?
Research by Ulster Institute academics Richard Lynn and David Becker found that the average IQ of the Japanese population is the highest in the world, with Taiwan and Singapore close behind. You can see the top 10 in the table below and the entire rankings.
Top 10 Countries with the Highest IQ:*
- Japan – 106.49
- Taiwan – 106.47
- Singapore – 105.89
- Hong Kong (China) – 105.37
- China – 104.10
- South Korea – 102.35
- Belarus – 101.60
- Finland – 101.20
- Liechtenstein – 101.07
- Netherlands & Germany (tie) – 100.74
While Lynn’s findings are detailed, they tend to spark much discussion. The methods Lynn uses to get estimates in the absence of concrete data are contested by other scholars.
It is said that unrepentant white supremacist Lynn misinterprets scientifically erroneous and racist evidence to promote his views on eugenics.
Average IQ scores vary widely over the world, as the data shows. In some studies, academics rank the world’s nations based on their average IQ.
To get these averages, we began with the country’s average IQ score (a usual starting point) and then fine-tuned those scores using other metrics (such as national math, reading, and science evaluations) while also taking into account the overall quality of data.
Measures of Intelligence Other than IQ
To be sure, IQ isn’t the only technique to gauge a person’s intellectual capacity. Finding the world’s brightest nations may be done in various methods that have nothing to do with a country’s average IQ.
Compare academic exam results, the chance of extending the frontier of knowledge and introduction of new data technologies (Intelligence Capital Index), or even the number of Nobel Prizes each nation has received, to name a few such comparisons.
You could even merge all three metrics into a single one.
The OECD PISA 2018 rankings of the world’s most intelligent countries based on students’ test scores in reading, math, and science:
- China – 555, 591, 590
- Singapore – 549, 569, 551
- Macau (China) – 525, 558, 544
- Hong Kong (China) – 524, 551, 517
- Estonia – 523, 523, 530
- Canada – 520, 512, 518
- Finland – 520, 507, 522
- Ireland – 518, 500, 496
- Korea – 514, 526, 519
- Poland – 512, 516, 511
Also See: Average Height by Country 2022
Intelligence Capital Index 2017: Top 10 Countries:
- United States – 74.88 (A+)
- United Kingdom – 64.19 (A)
- Germany – 64.18 (A)
- Australia – 63.96 (A)
- Singapore – 63.60 (A)
- Sweden – 61.58 (A)
- Switzerland – 61.57 (A)
- Canada – 61.15 (A)
- Finland – 60.45 (A)
- Denmark – 60.25 (A)
How countries are ranked on the basis of IQ?
Countries are typically ranked on the basis of IQ by taking the average IQ scores of a representative sample of the population. IQ tests are designed to be standardized, meaning that they are administered and scored in a consistent way across individuals and populations.
The tests typically include a series of questions or tasks that assess various cognitive abilities, such as memory, problem-solving, and spatial reasoning.
To calculate the average IQ of a country, researchers may administer IQ tests to a representative sample of the population and then calculate the mean score.
The sample should ideally be representative of the entire population in terms of factors such as age, gender, education level, and socioeconomic status.
However, it can be challenging to obtain a truly representative sample, especially in countries with large and diverse populations or in areas with limited access to education and testing resources.
It is important to note that IQ tests are not perfect measures of intelligence and can be influenced by a variety of factors, such as cultural background, language proficiency, and test-taking ability.
Additionally, there is debate among researchers and psychologists about the validity and reliability of IQ tests, and some argue that they are not an accurate or fair measure of intelligence.
Therefore, country rankings based on IQ should be viewed with caution and skepticism, and should not be used to make generalizations or stereotypes about particular groups or populations.
Listed below are the top 10 countries in terms of IQ:
- Japan (106.48)
- Taiwan (106.47)
- Singapore (105.89)
- Hong Kong (105.37)
- China (104.1)
- South Korea (102.35)
- Belarus (101.6)
- Finland (101.2)
- Liechtenstein (101.07)
- Germany (100.74)
|66||Bosnia and Herzegovina||88.5400||3249.3170|
|83||Trinidad and Tobago||85.6300||1406.5850|
|86||Turks and Caicos Islands||84.2900||39.7410|
|106||United Arab Emirates||82.0500||10081.7850|
|113||Northern Mariana Islands||81.3600||58.2690|
|131||Papua New Guinea||78.4900||9292.1690|
|138||British Virgin Islands||76.6900||30.5960|
|157||Antigua and Barbuda||70.4800||99.5090|
|158||Saint Kitts and Nevis||70.4800||53.8710|
|177||Sao Tome and Principe||65.2200||227.6790|
|179||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||63.4200||111.5510|
|180||Republic of the Congo||62.9700||5797.8050|
|183||Central African Republic||62.5500||5016.6780|