Tuesday, October 24, 2006

State IQ estimates from McDaniel of Virginia Commonwealth University

What makes being audacious enjoyable can also make it turbulent. Saying or posting something novel runs the risk of overlooking something critical that renders all you've said meaningless and leaves you looking like an idiot (see three-fourths the way down in the comments section). So when a big-league player comes out and mirrors almost exactly what you've come up with, it's quite a relief.

Professor Michael McDaniel of VCU recently had a paper published in Intelligence estimating average IQ by state based on NAEP testing results (easily accessible viewing of the estimates via Dienekes). You may recall that I attempted the same back in July. Well, we were after the same thing. Our results correlate almost perfectly at over .96. Doubtful a distinguished professor gets a confidence boost from the supportive results of some livingroom puke, but the puke sure does!

We did differ in some ways, however. McDaniel set the mean IQ at 100 with a standard deviation of 15 and averaged the mean results from NAEP reading and math scores by state for both the fourth and eighth grades. He also adjusted for the percentage of white children in each state attending non-public schools.

I took the regression equations produced by running the numbers in the data table put together by Richard Lynn in Race Differences in Intelligence where he correlates IQ scores with international math and science test scores (pp 173-175) and then adjusted the nominal test score values (by running an IQ of 98 through the regression equation produced by Lynn's numbers) on the international tests to the NAEP math and science tests in the US, applying an equal weight to eighth grade math and science NAEP scores.

I opted for science scores over reading scores for a few reasons: Lynn used math and science, scholastic science questions are more g-loaded than reading ones are (reading skills are more problematic at younger ages), and reading comprehension questions are more biased against newly-arrived immigrants than either science or math questions are. A minor drawback is that Kansas and Pennsylvania lack NAEP science results so I had to estimate using only the math results for these two states.

Whether math, science, or reading results are used is of mostly academic importance: math and science results correlate at .90, math and reading at .91, and (somewhat surprisingly) science and reading at .95 (all for eighth graders).

McDaniel probably improves on my estimates by taking non-public school attendance into account. He argues that private- and homeschooled children tend to be cognitively above average. Generally that makes sense, although about 7% of private schools in the US are devoted to special education, and with over three-fourths are religiously affiliated, questions of values and morality rather than just academic attributes have to be considered. The NCES estimates that privately-schooled eighth graders score the equivalent of 12.3 points better on NAEP math tests (not in terms of IQ--the max is 500). I'll adjust for the proportion of private school attendees accordingly in the near future to see if it might improve the estimates.

In his VDare column on McDaniel's work, Steve Sailer compares the professor's estimates with those of previous good-faith attempts at ascertaining average state IQs. I correlated mine with the same attempts. With McDaniel's in green and mine in blue, estimates correlate with the 1960 Project Talent at .63 and .60, a mid-eighties study of Vietnam Vets' IQ at .63 and .61, with a combined ACT/SAT estimate at .71 and .71, and with Tickle's averages at .53 and .52. Quite similar, although McDaniel's are a bit more vigorous. I suspect that is due to the non-public schooling adjustment.

McDaniel's work is long overdue, as it dispels the spurious estimates of state IQ that have bubbled up in the past. And his academic courage is admirable. For example, in the discussion following his results, he writes:

IQ at the individual level has strong correlates with race. There are large and intractable mean racial differences in IQ at the person level... Because racial composition of the state is a large magnitude correlate of state IQ, one cannot expect meaningful changes in estimated state IQ as long as the state racial composition is relatively stable.
Plenty of sharp Americans, as well as myself, have long advocated the institution of a merit immigration system to allow the US to glean the global cream of the crop (to increase the national IQ and standard of living, shrink the wealth gap, etc) rather than absorbing millions of destitute third-world liabilities as our current immigration policy does. McDaniel logically takes this same argument to the state level:

States might structure incentives to encourage those with high IQs to remain in the state. Likewise, a state may encourage high IQ individuals to have children. Over time, these policies should raise the average IQ of state residents.
Without apology, he suggests different eugenic techniques, entertaining the 2,500 year old Platonic idea of state-permitted birthing. No less unapologetically, he points out that states might consider becoming "Jewish-friendly" to pull in buckets of Ashkenazi.

Business schools harp relentlessly on the idea of human capital, and yet the full scope of what this means is so rarely bantered about. Instead, education and training proxy loosely for IQ, but at great deadweight loss (a concept B-schools are also familiar with). I wish I could take a few classes with McDaniel--undoubtedly the lectures and conversations would be more fruitful than the typical blather that ignores human biodiversity.

(Human biodiversity2)


adog said...

In the words of Harry Truman "It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit."

JSBolton said...

I recall that this study used some data from the 90's to average in with more recent tests. Won't this miss some of the further downslide associated with mass immigration of low-IQ populations into some states more than others.
Now that you have validated his results, or he yours, are you going to fish for correlations? There should be quite a lot to be found. Growth of R&D expenditures by state, proportion of professionals, and endless others.
Why was this not done previously, in that are supposedly astute and well-informed investors need to know this information? Would you build a bookstore in a place with an average IQ of 95? Our businessmen supposedly have demographics studied so well, but this state data has only just come out, this year.

crush41 said...


Thanks, but Steve was the one who suggested using NAEP data to estimate the average intelligence of the states, and McDaniel put together an academically forceful paper.


Presumably the investing world would be the place where IQ scores should be given the most attention. It is startling that so little substantive has come out.

Yes, I'll be running correlations with lots of variables. First I'm going to try and improve the estimates a bit using the private school adjustment, and by improving slightly the estimates for Pennsylvania and Kansas using predicted science scores (using math data) rather than simply going with the math estimate.

Angry Al said...


I'm very much in agreement with your emphasis on human capital, I just have to add an unfortunately pessimistic note on this front, at least as far as the USA-- I've worked in a number of Western and East Asian countries, and the United States right now probably has the MOST dysgenic and anti-intellectual, anti-merit policies of almost any industrialized nation.

The shame is that the USA has been blessed with so many quality people, and we're squandering it with our foolish PC policies-- for the first time that I can remember, a substantial fraction of my Ivy League-trained friends are now working in Europe, mostly on the Continent, with many of them having permanently emigrated. The reasons for this as far as I've been able to piece them together:

1. Affirmative action. This is the "perfect storm" anti-merit policy which is utterly and absolutely wrecking the US merit class. It's also about as entrenched as any policy we have. Many of my old Ivy-League buddies in Europe now are graduates of places like Princeton and Yale-- who nonetheless were forced to confront the daunting awfulness of what the affirmative action regime has become. They have the grave penalty of being born white men, which means that they and, especially, their kids face what amounts to state-sanctioned discrimination against them at all levels, from schools to job applications. And unlike the claims that many try to make, affirmative action really is very damaging especially in technical fields that have bottlenecks.

Many technical, science and engineering fields are already being decimated by outsourcing, and when the remaining positions are filled at first pass by "preferred minorities," this puts a terrible economic squeeze on middle-class and newly arrived professional-class whites who don't yet have much in the way of family connections. IOW, AA royally screws those most meritorious whites-- the ones who make it based on the sweat of their brows and their own abilities, rather than connections-- that we need to retain most.

Not even a sustained push could get rid of affirmative action-- it's too deeply and subtly entrenched in the institutional practices of the public and private sectors. Richard Nixon started this with the Philadelphia Plan in 1969 against overwhelming opposition from both parties, and he really worked it in to a truly pernicious extent. The anti-affirmative initiatives in places like California and Washington have become nothing more than sick jokes-- those referenda never had anything in the way of enforcement measures and in any case, all of this requires a willing legislature and statehouse, which neither of these states has. So affirmative action is paradoxically much stronger here than ever before, enforced through ever more elaborate and subtle schemes to the extent that the very idea of merit itself is being questioned-- the SAT and other standardized tests have become among the most despised institutions here.

This problem has now gone nationwide. I've had to deal with this myself as a contractor, and you cannot believe the number and severity of hurdles you have to overcome to get contracts if you're cursed to be a white person-- and if you're unfortunate enough to be one of those hated white "strivers" making it on our own, rather than using family connections that, frankly, most of us don't have in any case. (Even more infuriating, affirmative action defenders always justify their policy by claiming all kinds of "white privilege" through these very family connections that most hard-working whites do not have!) So after surviving the gauntlet of affirmative action throughout high school, college, graduate school *and* my entry-level jobs, I have to deal with its most aggressive form trying to get contracts. Anybody who thinks this affects government contracts only is laughably naive-- any contract even remotely connected to "government funds" or institutions is liable to the affirmative action requirements and effectively enforced by dozens of agencies in the public and private sectors (including Chambers of Commerce), and the burden is only becoming ever more onerous. In direct contrast, whenever I've worked in Europe-- on the Continent, at least (Britain is stupidly following the US example)-- I've found the contract negotiations there to be refreshingly free of this sort of nonsense.

The upshot of this policy, in combination with economic drains such as increased cost of living as well as horrible traffic and crime, isn't hard to predict-- capable Americans go somewhere else. Most of my Ivy League friends also had some training in a foreign language which they put to use. While most are still here in the US, a somewhat shocking number (to me) are now expats and naturalizing themselves in Europe or East Asia, with many others inclining in that direction. The two smartest guys that I know are now in northern Italy, half a dozen others learned German and are scattered in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, others even in France and Spain. A few others, mostly with ethnic ties, have also left for East Asia-- one in South Korea, one now in Hong Kong, one in Taiwan, one in Vietnam interestingly enough (big manufacturing expansion) and a couple others in mainland China. (Most are Asian-American but one of the guys in China is not.) One guy even moved to Costa Rica, for a variety of reasons. All of these countries have rejected affirmative action, have a much more merit-friendly culture and policies and which, also, have sharply curbed immigration from Arab/Turkish countries (especially Germany/Austria and France, recently). Which leads to

2. Immigration policies. Continental European countries have much less hesitation in enacting the sorts of merit-attracting immigration policies that you talk about, probably in part because they've eschewed the "rentier economy" model that we have in the US, as a debtor nation, and have a stronger sense of themselves as ethnic entities unsullied by the stupidity that comes with a self-perception as a "globalist marketplace" or a modern imperialist state, as we have in the US. Smaller Central European nations such as Austria and Switzerland have long had such tough restrictive, meritocratic immigration laws. The most unbelievably smart people I've met IMHO have been in Switzerland, with Austria at a similar level-- what immigration they do have is, chiefly, from German-speaking intellectuals in Eastern Europe, who in turn identify with the classical period of German accomplishment, musicians and scientists such as Bach, Beethoven, Kepler, Wohler and Gauss. IOW, this ethnic identification is at the heart of those countries' immigration policies. It should also be noted that Austria (along with Cyprus and, curiously, France) is at the forefront of blocking Turkish accession to the EU, requiring a referendum that is an insurmountable obstacle to Turkey joining up.

Recently, the bigger Euro countries have been following the lead of Austria and Switzerland. Germany in the past two years has basically been imitating Austria, with a strict immigration system that essentially forbids Turkish entry except for accomplished intellectuals, and which does the same for other countries-- basically, German immigration has been restricted predominantly to educated people from Europe, South America, North America, smaller numbers from India and East Asia, and also to entrepreneurs in general. Criminal immigrants or those with terrorist ties are deported. Italy's been more gradually moving in a similar direction-- they did have a recent amnesty there (although even it was predominantly directed toward legalizing the millions of Romanians/Greeks/Croats long resident in Italy), but Italy is moving in a similar "filter" direction. Spain is following the Italian model although more gradual still.

France and the Netherlands I find to be the most interesting examples, since they're former imperial nations with more-or-less universalist self-images that have nonetheless been toughening up their immigration policies. France now has one of Europe's most restrictive immigration policies after the Sarkozy law (which was itself-- no doubt-- a partial result of the pressure applied from the nationalist French parties) was ratified. North Africans and Arabs are largely kept out except for a small number of accomplished elites. Generally, only educated and skilled professionals from anywhere can come there, but there's a further twist in that the French law has broad provisions to allow for deportation for not only crimes but even slight sympathizing with terrorist groups. The Dutch have also enacted such a restrictive law though not quite as tough as the French one-- the Moroccans are clearly the target, with Dutch arms thrown open to educated Eastern Europeans and Americans.

Denmark has tough laws, and Belgium is moving that direction. Only Great Britain and Sweden seem to be imitating the US "suicide model" on the immigration front.

IOW much of Continental Europe has already adopted precisely the sort of selective immigration approach that you advocate, which they have no trouble doing with their stronger ethnic cohesion and history. The US, with our obsession at being a global multicultural power, can never do this-- unfortunately, the UK, Canada and Australia have all followed the US lead.

3. Miscellaneous factors. US policies on marriage and divorce are profoundly dysgenic. We all know about the low fertility issues in European countries, but in fact these are common throughout the Western world. The difference is that Europe provides generous subsidies to professional couples that have and raise children and have no qualms about doing so. We don't do this in the USA, and our "higher fertility" is illusory-- white and professional birth rates in the USA are remarkably low, in fact USA TFR is by far the highest in the lowest-intelligence, non-professional groups. IOW, Europe has a kinda-sorta mild eugenic fertility policy, while that in the USA is profoundly dysgenic.

US divorce laws are also a part of this. Marriage is in part a financial risk in case things don't work out (which they inevitably do in a fraction of couples). In countries where the financial policies associated with divorce give due recognition to the training and economic contributions of a productive partner-- respecting not only advanced degrees and wealth but demonstrated capacity to contribute to the economy of a society-- divorce is less costly for a professional class, and more people are willing to take the risks of marriage and children in the first place. East Asia and Continental Europe have this sort of economic formula. The USA, Canada and, especially, Britain are notoriously harsh on contributing spouses, however, quite often taking over half the accumulated assets of a productive spouse away to give to the other partner (and attorneys). Prior education and demonstrated economic productivity are largely disregarded, thereby introducing a much greater economic risk and penalty to productive professionals considering marriage.

The ugly Paul McCartney divorce is a cardinal example, but the United Kingdom is notorious for this, as are the USA, Canada and Australia. This has a profoundly dysgenic effect and, again, it discourages childbearing among the professional class.

The one perhaps less dysgenic aspect of the USA compared to Europe in the past has been abundant land and fewer people-- less crowding means cheaper land in general, which is associated with greater ease in having and supporting children even for the educated classes. But as we hit 300,000,000 people and our cities become increasingly crowded, polluted, crime-ridden, gang-infested and choked with traffic, this advantage has utterly disappeared. Robert Putnam has pointed out that this problem in US cities and suburbs is compounded by lack of ethnic solidarity which atomizes a society and further discourages childbearing in other ways. Anybody who's been trapped in the hell of Los Angeles traffic knows how intolerably crowded the US has become-- there's no longer cheap land here and thus we have another dysgenic factor in the USA.

IOW Crush41, it's Europe that-- admittedly in fits and starts but very much overall-- is embracing this more eugenic immigration and domestic policy, while the USA continually moves in an increasingly dysgenic direction in terms of affirmative action, immigration and other policies. As a result we're losing an increasing number of our own frustrated intellectual, technical and professional class to other countries. Frustratingly, the UK, rather than embracing the more eugenic Continental model, has instead bought into the damaging Atlanticist idiocy of the US-Canadian multicultural model, and thus is taking the same suicidal path.

I've considered the prospect of an emigration myself (my expat friends gave me a treasure trove of language-learning and paperwork-filling resources among other things for German-speaking countries and Italy), though I haven't settled on it. I desperately wish there were some way to reverse course in the USA, but the problem is that our culture has become profoundly dysgenic and anti-intellectual.

Moreover, as the US becomes more multiculti and as US whites become an overall minority-- they already are among early school students, and in absolute terms in California, Texas, Florida, New Mexico and soon Illinois, Michigan and Arizona-- then any prospect of ethnic cohesion, let alone eugenic policy, collapses.

I'm sorry, but the truth is, I see only dysgenic and anti-intellectual policies for the US in the future, and efforts to change that are a lost cause-- the cultural, economic and demographic weight against meritocracy is far too powerful to fight anymore. One of my good friends once tried to make minor and eminently reasonable changes to the affirmative action policy at a university where he was working, and the viciousness with which he and his family were attacked-- and the resulting retrenchment of AA policies-- shows how deeply rooted these policies and their proponents are. My reform-minded friends in the government or private sector have fared little better, and what I find most disheartening is the tremendous malice directed against those who try to make even modest moves in the direction of meritocracy. Such meritocratic practices are possible in some European countries, but not in the US.

IOW, it's probably a better investment of resources and revenues to try to encourage and refine such policies in the context of some European countries with better ethnic cohesion. I used to see promise in the future of the US, but I've now become embittered by the reality here. The media, public and private sectors, government, schools in the USA-- all have now internalized the anti-meritocracy concept, and bean-counting dominates over even mild measures of merit. The very concept of meritocracy is moribund in the USA and becoming even weaker by the day. I no longer possess any confidence in this place.

crush41 said...

Angry Al,

Thanks for the thoughtful anecdotal commentary. There is little I can contest. In New Mexico whites are not only no longer a majority, there are actually more Hispanics than there are nh whites.

Unfortunately, I don't share any of your optimism regarding Italy. As I understand it, northern Italy has a less accomodating view of Mediterranean immigration, but the new government doesn't appear to have any more sanity than the previous one.

A few possible reasons I don't believe all hope is lost in the US:

- The US is religious, an aberration in the developed world. Yet we're also wealthy, and relatively intelligent (checking the worst aspects of religiosity). Evangelicals are the fiercest opponents of unfettered immigration, and religion and patriotic/nationalistic sentiment are often of the same feather (in the US).

- We're having more kids than the rest of the West save for Israel. The white total fertility rate is still over 1.8. I wonder how birthrates break down across income brackets in the US. This report shows ratios by wealth, and globally the trend is clearly dysgenic to varying degrees.

- US incarceration rates have a eugenic effect and will remain that way into the future, so long as the inane idea of coed prisons doesn't regain momentum. We keep 2+ million of our worst from procreating at any given time.

crush41 said...


The 1969 Philadelphia precedent put in place by Nixon's department of labor (if memory serves) was only the beginning.

"Disparate impact" effectively relegates affirmative action quotas to the entire private sector, unless an entity can manage with fewer than 15 employees.

It is inanity. In what other legal arena within the US is one guilty until proven innocent? Yet disparate impact codifies just that.

Jim Bowery said...

A more complete list of correlations with McDaniel's IQ estimates.

This rank ordering automatically applies sqrt or log to one or both of the variables to maximize the correlation before entering it into the list of correlations. It does not attempt to maximize normality of the distributions so the significance measures are a maximum.

Infidel said...

I put those state IQ statistics up against Religious importance with expected but none the less convincing results.

Audacious Epigone said...


What's the correlation between the two? Judging from the graph, it looks to be in the area of .60. As you say, not surprising, but worth verifying. Good stuff.

Infidel said...

Pretty close, came in at -0.49. Just looks a little higher - I had to stretch the chart a bit to make the state names legible on a blog.