Indian IQ, Part 1: Diaspora Demographics
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Since 2002, I've been pointing out that a crucial piece of missing information that anybody (such as an investor) interested in predicting the path of 21st global history would want to know is what is the potential average IQ of India.

We have some IQ data on India, as collected in Lynn and Vanhanen's IQ and the Wealth of Nations and their other books, and they point toward low average scores.

On the other hand, first, India is an extremely complicated place, so it's harder to come up with a nationally representative sample there than in any other country.

Second, India has been severely burdened by malnutrition, disease, and illiteracy. We know from comparing Africans (average IQ around 70) to African-Americans (average IQs around 85, despite being no more than 20% white) that tropical poverty can prevent people from reaching their genetic potential in IQ.

Something similar is probably true in India. Its recent rapid economic progress makes it more plausible that the environmental deficits lowering average IQ in India will ameliorate to some substantial extent over the course of this century.

An iSteve commenter calling himself Rec1man has built a model of potential Indian average IQ based on IQ scores of the Indian diaspora in various countries more affluent than India. This seems like a plausible approach, so I've been discussing it with him via email and now I'm going to begin posting it.

I want to break my posting of Rec1man's model up into several stages, because, in my experience, it's easy for a reader to skip right to the bottom line of a complex model and accept or reject it as a whole, and then get invested in defending one's initial reaction.

His is necessarily a complicated model because the Indian diaspora is extremely heterogeneous due to the caste system in India and the different selection filters for Indian immigrants in diaspora countries. Thus, for example, the average caste level of the Indian diaspora in the U.S. is much higher than in former British tropical colonies where the British were looking to import diligent peasants rather than computer programmers.

So, Rec1man has come up with estimates of the demographics of the Indian diaspora by caste for each country.

From there, he can work back to estimating IQ by caste within each diaspora country and then to potential IQ by caste in India and finally back to potential overall average IQ for India as a whole.

Today, though, I'm going to post just his demographic breakdowns by caste for Indians in various country, and leave his IQ estimates for another day. This is information I've never seen published before, even though I've long wondered about it.

But, I don't know whether his demographic estimates are accurate. If you have some knowledge of this subject, please comment on whether the following look reasonably accurate or not.

If they do look plausible, then I'll go ahead and post Rec1man's IQ estimates.


Brahmins, 5% Upper Castes, 15% Backward Castes, 40% Muslims, 15% Dalits [Untouchables] and Tribals, 25%

Indians in the U.S.A.

US Brahmins, 25% US forward castes, 50% US backward castes, 25%

The British exported castes as per their requirements.


30% upper caste 40% backward caste 30% Dalit.

In the UK, the British wanted factory workers after WW2, so they did not import dalits (agricultural workers). They imported peasant backward castes from Indian Punjab and Pakistani Punjab. The British knew that Dalits may not be able to work in factories while the backward castes could be trainable

Later in 1970, Idi Amin fell in love with an Indian woman in Uganda. Her family sent her off to India to protect her from Idi Amin's lust. In revenge, Idi Amin expelled the Indians in Uganda, who were mostly small traders, forward merchant castes, and these went to UK

So, in UK:

Forward caste 60% Backward caste 40%

Pakistanis in UK are all [descended from] backward castes [who converted to Islam].

In Pakistan, few forward castes and brahmins and dalits converted to islam. They remained hindu and went to Indian Punjab

Pakistanis in Pakistan are [by descent]

Forward caste, 10% Backward caste 80% and dalit 10%

Bangladeshis in UK are

Backward caste 50% Dalit 50%

Similarly, Bangladeshis in Bangladesh are Backward caste 50% Dalit 50%

Razib of comments:

US Brahmins, 25% US forward castes, 50% US backward castes, 25%

this looks skewed to me. around 50% of indians in the USA are gujaratis, mostly patels. about 25% are punjabis, often sikhs, who mostly be from jats (i think they're classified as backward, but i don't know, i think it depends on region and stuff). the other 25% are mixed up with various groups; a lot of these are brahmins, but not all. for example, christians from kerala are way overrepresented, and they're derived from non-brahmins by and large. i think a brahmin figure on the order of 15% is more realistic. backward caste depends on how you classify it, since south indian non-brahmins are all technically "lower caste," but i think kerala christians are considered forward. in short, bump up the forward caste number, and lower the brahmin and backward.

most of other numbers look OK, but i think a lot of the muslim classifications are by their nature guess work. i have no idea how backward and forward caste in bangladesh is assigned here. 90% of people in bangladesh are now muslim, and most of the hindus remaining are low caste groups who couldn't or wouldn't move to india for whatever reason. the general consensus is most bangladeshi muslim were non-forward caste peasants, as is true of hindus in west bengal. the only thing with bangladeshis in the UK is something like 90% are from one region of bangladesh, syhlet, but i doubt that makes a big difference in your assessment....

i would add a few other points

1) mauritius, mostly backward castes with a small minority of merchants and upper castes

2) south africa, the same (here the upper classes are disproportionately gujarati merchants)

3) the guyana & trinidad & suriname, the same

4) fiji, the same

a disproportionate number of the overseas diaspora in places where they were sent to do agricultural work are from eastern uttar pradesh and bihar; the north-central gangetic plain. malaysia and singapore are exceptional insofar as the indians are mostly tamils from the south from across the bay of bengal....

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