National IQ Trends Over The Decades
Print Friendly and PDF

Sebastian Jensen has posted a huge set of graphs on Substack based on nearly 4,000 national IQ and national school achievement test (e.g., PISA) scores from around the world. How have they been changing over time?

Changes in relative cognitive performance across nations

JUN 05, 2024

Here’s the data for the US. It looks to show a very slight upward trend since 1940, but basically flat.

He produced these graphs for many dozens of countries, so international investors might want to look through them to see if anything stands out. For example, Serbia is less of a laggard within Europe than it used to be:

I don’t know if this data can be used to make money, but at minimum, it appears time to update your Serbian stereotypes.

Turkey did well around the turn of the century:

Note that some of these tests can be gamed by not inviting the dumb kids to take them (e.g., Vietnam and Mexico had low percentages of their 15-year-olds take their recent PISA tests, while the honest Dutch had 101% of the expected cohort show up.) So don’t invest money based on this data without looking hard at specific datapoints.

Sub-Saharan Africa overall looks pretty flat:

Kenya and Botswana do well for sub-Saharan countries with average scores around 79.

[Comment at]

Print Friendly and PDF