Sunday, February 22, 2015

IQ by race and parental educational attainment

One of the most salient statistics regarding education is the tendency for poor white teenagers to perform as well as rich black teenagers do on college entrance exams. When sharing as much with educational romanticists, I'll often get the response that it isn't money that determines whether or not an environment is intellectually stimulating, it's the household's embrace of education and learning that does.

Well, the NAEP online data explorer allows for cross-tabs to be created using several variables, including race and parental education level*. The following table and graph show estimated average IQ by race and the parental education level among 8th graders taking the NAEP math and reading assessments in 2013. The scores for both tests are on a 500 point scale, with a standard deviation of 37 on the math assessment and 34 on the reading assessment. In the proceeding table and graph, these are converted into IQ estimates with a mean of 98--corresponding to the national average NAEP scores of 283.62 for math and 266.02 for reading--and a standard deviation of 15. The math and reading scores are weighted equally:

IQ by parent ed and raceLess than HSHS gradSome collegeCollege grad
American Indian89.088.395.396.4

White kids from the homes of high school dropouts do about as well as do black kids whose parents are college attendees and graduates (marginally worse and marginally better, respectively). At every level of parental educational attainment, the racial ordering is the same--Asians on top, followed by whites, then Hispanics, then American Indians, and finally blacks. These things are, as Steve Sailer might say, drearily predictable.

NAEP variables used: PARED, SDRACE

* Defined as the highest level of educational attainment achieved by either of a student's parents and broken down into four categories: Did not graduate high school, graduated high school but didn't go to college, went to college but didn't get a bachelor's degree, and graduated with a BA or higher


Anonymous said...

I'm just waiting for someone to yell 'racist' like a typical left-wing idiot.

Anonymous said...

That's pretty much what I expected.

Jokah Macpherson said...

Interesting also how the scores essentially plateau out in the some college category for blacks and Hispanics but not for the other two.

TangoMan said...

If you investigate the 2nd tier of student factors, listed as demographics, you can sort by either mother's or father's education, by the student living with a stepfather, etc.

Also, when you combine eligibility for free lunch you find this:

Math: White student,parents are HS dropouts and student qualified for free lunch = 268

Black student of college graduates who also qualifies for free lunch = 261

White students of dropout parents who doesn't qualify for free lunch - 278

Black student of college graduates who doesn't qualify for free lunch = 280

Also, you can disaggregate the Hispanic category into Cuban, Mexican and Puerto Rican, which on 8th grade math results in 276, 271, 269 respectively. Not at all surprising based on the admixture hypothesis.

Audacious Epigone said...


Thanks. If we drill down far enough, there is of course a point at which well-heeled, well educated black children outperform uneducated, welfare proles.

Anonymous said...

Of course, there is huge selection bias in the Asians being tested--you would see the same results if you tested expats in the Far East...

Steve Sailer said...


JayMan said...

Good work!

Anonymous said...

Education is its own thing and not exactly IQ, but this is not, at all, a surprising pattern.

M said...

Some GSS supplements to this -

Race interactions with parental education and wordsum (White, Black, "Other") - 1972-2012:

Race interactions with parental education and wordsum (White, Black, Hispanic, "Other") - post 2000:

Race interactions with parental education and wordsum (White, Black, Hispanic, "Other") - post 2000, American born only:

(note, there's some randomness particularly with the last set of graphs as the number of American born "Other" is not so high).

linsee said...

I think you may have the "respectively" reversed in
"(marginally worse and marginally better, respectively)"

Audacious Epigone said...


As Jokah notes, that's actually how the data shake out.

Anonymous said...

Regression specially because gap of smart black women fertility??