How smart are we?


Go lookup any standard distribution chart of IQ for the country (or the world in general). You’ll find the following obvious but alarming results. One half of the human population has an IQ of less than 100.

Just let that sink in.

Additionally, approximately 20% has an IQ of less than 90. In the U.S. (320M) that would mean 1/5 of people, ~64million people have an IQ less than 90. For the world? 1/5 of 7.4B = 1.48B.


One and a half billion people have an IQ of 90 or less. These aren’t magic numbers or fake numbers. These are approximate facts.

I’m not trying to stigmatize anyone here. In fact, intelligence, in my book, doesn’t mean squat. I would posit that there are more happy people at the lower end of the IQ scale than at the upper; ignorance is bliss and with power (intelligence) comes responsibility (and the associated problems). And, to me, happiness is the real gauge of a successful life.

That said, how many people do you know with an IQ less than 90? Yet they exist and can vote and have opinions (although, with a stereotypical bias those opinions might be mal- or un-informed.)

I don’t point this out because I’m an intellectual snob (far from it if you knew my history), only that I would offer that one might use such open and obvious information as the basis for understanding the country’s and the world’s opinions and predispositions.

I know this feels a tad distasteful. As if by discussing this we’re betraying a huge portion of humanity. However I want to continue to stress that this is a reality. It’s not a politifact or fake-news.

The other side of this coin is that just because one possesses a supposedly high IQ does not make one automatically superior in thought or opinion. Bigotry, misogyny, racism live quite well in many of the world’s smart people. Sure a greater intelligence may predispose you to a more open mind — but it does not guarantee it.

When I read or watch the news and see statistics and counts of people doing this or that I’ve tended to think that most people are like me: average intelligence, average beliefs, average faults and ideals. What a chart like this shows, what the knowledge of this disparity of intelligence should tell me, tell us, is that this is not the case. That “average” may actually have little bearing on what truly exists in the world regarding intellectual capability.

What do you think of this distribution of IQ? Does it challenge your assumptions about people?




[Pretty much <90 we’re dealing with people who, in general would have a hard time graduating high school, writing an essay, read and follow instructions for building a model toy, memorize 10 phone numbers. (my interpretation)]

6 thoughts on “How smart are we?

  1. And then we went camping with a couple that were a few years past their PHD. We had to follow them around like following toddlers because they couldn’t comprehend the relationship of the panhandle being above the fire with how hot the handle gets.
    One example of many. Very stressful. God bless them and their many cause and effect injuries on that short camping trip!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I sure as hell hope that by the time I’m “elderly” they’ve got robots to scurry around behind-to-the-sides-infront of me so I don’t explode the internet or the world or my local mini-mart.


  2. Indeed M. Merveilleux, 67% gap. I suppose “average” to me probably meant 10 points to either side of myself. If I’m 110, then 100 to 120 would, to me, probably mean average. Obviously IQ measurement comes loaded with assumptions, a substantial portion of them wrong.

    Still the impact of the post, that to make us aware that, in general, we here reading and writing blog posts, are to the high side of 100. And that we come with a bias, which is that most of us may think most of us are similar to ourselves. This is not true. If you have an IQ of 120, which many of us probably do here, how much of humanity falls to the left side of that mark? The number, again, to me, is shocking.


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