Saturday, April 10, 2010

IQ and Census response rates

Complementing the assertion that IQ and quality of life correlate positively with one another is the presumption that IQ is similarly correlated with higher levels of civic participation. Using data gathered by GMU professor Michael MacDonald, it has been revealed here that intelligent people vote more frequently than dullards do.

They also appear to be more compliant and timely in completing and returning their census information, despite the official pitch being that completing the form means more government money coming your way, a message that should appeal more to the lower classes than to those at the top. The US Census site has an interactive map that displays response rates by state as of April 9th. State response rates and estimated average IQ correlate at .57 (p = 0). Parenthetically, the correlation between IQ and eligible voting rate by state is a similar .65 (p = 0).

This is not simply the result of lower response rates among states with large immigrant populations--among the bottom five states, only one (New Mexico) has a sizeable Hispanic immigrant population to speak of (the others are Alaska, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and West Virginia--excepting Alaska, dull white states). It might also be assumed that low population density would be an explanatory factor (though I'm not really sure as to why, since the forms were sent out and to be returned by mail), but the top of the list is full of relatively sparsely populated places like Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Kansas.

Speaking of top responders, what jumps out immediately is how well the Midwest does compared to the rest of the country. The following table shows average state response rate by US Census region:


A friend has been pestering me to take a month off this summer and go backpacking through Europe with her to celebrate getting her Master's degree. Even though I'm only two years older than she is, the chasm in life stages is a lot wider than the marginal gap in age is (she's actually one of my older female friends). My responsibilities make it impossible for me to go traipsing through the Old Continent for several weeks, and anyway I don't want the upper body shrinkage walking for hours day after day will result in!

But, to at least tangentially tie the story to the post, I don't have any desire to leave the Midwest for an extended period of time, even a month. The people here are pragmatic, friendly, and neighborly. The demographics are good, the real standard of living is high, and the population density isn't suffocating. The weather can be grating, especially in the winter, but as far as I know, no one has located Eden yet.


Anonymous said...

The Census went with Fed Ex for the big contract. Some Post Office guys were peeved. Rural areas where everyone uses a post office box? Post Office didn't stuff the boxes.

Anonymous said...

> [life's good in] the Midwest

I've ridden about 200 bicycle miles there. Cars pull waaay over on the left when passing, compared to Virginia, where I've ridden a thousand bicycle miles. Not that this will surprise anyone.

> The weather can be grating

The magnificent light coming off the snow really does something for you though. Or for me anyway. I had infinite attention span in northern Wisconsin winters and would read for 10 hours a day by the window, barely looking up. In leaden mid-Atlantic winters, I fare poorly and neurotically. Count yer blessings (not that you don't already).

If you don't believe that light has a broad effect on the population, just look up the levels of "seasonal affect disorder" in Alaska and other ultra-northern zones. I suspect that places where the snow is there all winter, but which are not too northerly (dark), are optimal for winter affect, at least for one fairly broad band of the population.

Anonymous said...

Indeed at least the western Midwest gets a fair amount of winter sunlight, (much more than say, Europe) and having snow on the ground is a huge bonus because it reflects so much light. (think 'snowblind') Dress warm and go outside on a sunny winter day... great way to fend off seasonal depression (or read by a bright window!)

Anonymous said...

I would love to be a fly on the wall when they get the initial responses. Bunch of dang whites and Asians. Then they have to go out and hunt up the minorities that they really want to count. I would just love to know the ethnic breakdown of the returns they actually get without chasing them down.

Steve Sailer said...

The last I checked, the number #1 town in America for returning Census forms by mail was Dubuque, Iowa.

Audacious Epigone said...

Livonia City, Michigan, according to the Census' site.