January 12, 2010

GDP per capita for American ethnicities

The new site Supereconomy has a first blog post and it's a good one. It cannonballs into the America v. Europe income fray between Paul Krugman ("Learning from Europe") and Jim Manzi ("Keeping America's Edge") by comparing the GDPs of the Western European countries whose policies Krugman prefers to the per capita GDPs of Americans by self-identified ancestral nationality.

Krugman asks:
Actually, Europe’s economic success should be obvious even without statistics. For those Americans who have visited Paris: did it look poor and backward? What about Frankfurt or London?

I don't have a strong opinion on this Europe vs. U.S. income question: I've seen London and I've seen France, and the parts I saw looked spiffy, but for some reason I skipped sightseeing in the parts where the youths hold car-be-ques, so I can't say I've seen a representative sample of Europe. I'm sure Dr. Krugman typically stays in banlieues when he's in Europe, but I try not to.

Super-Economy argues that Europeans make more money in America than in Europe.

For example, the per capita GDP of Sweden is $36,603. But the Census says the per-capita income of Swedish-Americans is such that you can estimate a per capita GDP for Swedish-Americans of $56,865, a 55% advantage for Swedes in America over Swedes in Sweden. You should adjust Sweden's figure for the non-Swedish population, but that's still a big gap.

Overall, Supereconomy finds a 56% GDP advantage for Americans who identify themselves as being from the original 15 countries of the European Union over those EU-15 countries. He notes:
For one country, Sweden, I have calculated the figures when excluding immigrants to Sweden. This reduced the American advantage from 55.4% to 50.5%. If we believe that this is representative of Europe (Sweden has a higher share of foreign born than most other European nations) the American advantage should be around 53%.

What's interesting to me is the rank order among Western Europeans in America.

How do the Western European ancestries rank within the US? Here's a summary of Super-Economy's most novel table:

1. Austrian-American $80k
2. Luxembourger 73
3. Swiss 63
4. Generic European 62
5. Belgian 61
6. British w/o American 60
7. Danish 58
8. Greek 57
9. Swedish 57
10. Generic Scandinavian 56
11. Icelandic 56
12. Norwegian 54
13. British/American 54
14. Italian 53
EU-15-American 53
15. German 52
16. Irish 52
17. Finnish 52
18. Dutch 51
19. French 51
20. Portuguese 48

Plain "American" isn't in the table, but presumably it would be below $50k, judging by the gap between British ($60k) and British + American ($54k).

Keep in mind that these are self-identified ancestral nationalities, and many Americans have several to choose among, so arbitrary whim and fashion influence which ones mixed-nationality people choose. For example, compared to earlier Censuses, German seemed to be in fashion in 2000 and British out of fashion. In reality, a lot of Protestant Americans with German ancestors also have British ancestors, and vice-versa, so there is a fair degree of arbitrariness about what people whose ancestors have been in the country for over 100 years choose. Similarly, a lot of Catholic Americans are some combination of Irish, Italian, German, and French. Not all siblings will choose the same nationality.

The biggest advantages for Americans over their respective European cousins are for Austrians, Portuguese, and Italians. The smallest advantages are Luxembourg (-8%, tax haven), Norway (+1% - oil), Ireland (+15% -- the Irish GDP is somewhat inflated by low corporate taxes so multinationals go out of their way to assign profits to their Irish operations), and Netherlands (perhaps Dutch merchants tended to stay home while Dutch farmers emigrated?).

The anomalously high Austrian figure is probably mostly due to selective immigration (e.g., Arnold Schwarzenegger -- i.e., a man with a plan) rather than mass immigration of hungry peasants. I don't recall ever passing through an Austrian-American rural community in the U.S. Less than a million Americans self-identify as Austrian.

(A commenter points out that many of the Austrians are probably Jewish. Viennese Jews were famously well-educated, so that sounds like a good explanation. The Census Bureau doesn't want you to answer "Jewish" to the ancestral nationality question, so most Jewish-Americans pick an Eastern European territorial state such as Russia to answer this question. Austria is the most eastern of the EU-15 countries in this table.)

The Swiss are a little above average probably for similar reasons of selective technical immigration. I've driven through a Swiss-American farming community in Wisconsin, but other Swiss immigrants came because they were already technically skilled (e.g., my paternal grandfather was Roentgen's deliveryboy for the lens company when the great German physicist was inventing the X-ray machine; lacking a college degree, but with better high tech lens skills than were common in America at the time, a decade later my grandfather came to the U.S. and wound up a successful X-ray machine salesman).

Overall, the various nationalities of Western European-Americans seem pretty similar in per capita GDP. I doubt if anybody is too surprised by Portuguese ending up last, but even they aren't that far down.

If you adjusted for cost-of-living differences, there would probably be a different rank order. The more urbanized groups (Greeks? Irish?) would probably drop a little and the less urban (British? Germans? Swedes?) would tend to do better in terms of cost of living. But I'm just guessing here.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

96 comments:

patrick said...

Many people listing their heritage as "Austrian" are likely Jews whose ancestors came from the Austrian Empire (which included large areas of southern Poland and western Ukraine). Gentile immigrants from Austria-Hungary were mostly Hungarians and Slavs.

Anonymous said...

What about "Euro-Jewish" or Juroish?

Steve Sailer said...

Many people listing their heritage as "Austrian" are likely Jews whose ancestors came from the Austrian Empire ...

Right, people whose ancestors were German-speaking Jews, especially ones from Vienna and Budapest, would likely be among the most affluent of all groups.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

this is a very interesting piece, thank you.

It would be particularly interesting to contrast the IQ of Euro Americans with the IQ of people that stayed behind in Europe.

I have read arguments, for example, that the highest IQ Irish Catholics generally moved to the USA and the lower IQ Irish Catholics stayed in Ireland. If you could show this to be the case then these higher income figures for the USA are less impressive

Anonymous said...

Lots of Jews from Poland, Hungary, and Russia.

Anonymous said...

Steve, you write 'Plain "American" isn't in the table, but presumably it would be below $50k,...'. But isn't this in the first line of the table? 'All American - Per Capita GDP (2007) $45,489'

Chris

Anonymous said...

OT.

http://www.vdare.com/fulford/100112_corbett_interview.htm

Corbett interviews Brimelow.

Anonymous said...

Steve, what would be especially interesting to me is the income of people of European ancestry listed by country they immigrated to.

One striking example is the people that moved from Sicily to other countries. My understanding is that the average person of Sicilian ancestry earns a much higher income in the USA than the average person from Sicily earns in Argentina. I think the gap may be greater than two to one or three to one. By this measure I think we can pretty conclusively conclude that the Argentine economic system is a failure at making the most of the raw material that it is provided with.

I am not so sure you can say the same thing about Brazil. Of the Europeans that moved to Brazil who did not intermarry with non Europeans, what is the income? My understanding is that the average pure European in Brazil is doing a hell of a lot better financially than the average pure European living in Argentina, but probably worse than ones living in America

One last comment, my understanding is that the first few waves of settlers to Australia were british criminals. I would speculate that had these criminals spent their whole lives in Britain that many of their great grandchildren would today be part of the infamous chav underclass in the Britain - ie truly depraved and earning a very low income. Instead, providing them with wide open spaces and plenty of sunshine and opportunity in Australia seems to have produced a generally wealthy and successful group.

No one would dispute that Australia provided a much better economic and social system over the past few hundred years than Britain - the results speak for themselves. But if others think I am missing the point please let me know

Anonymous said...

This analysis would be very interesting if conducted on different regions of the USA.

For example, Ulster Scotts settled over a large area of the USA, stretching from New York all the way to the deep south.

The conventional wisdom is that the Ulster Scotts that settled in West Virginia have done terribly in economic terms while the ones that settled in other parts of the USA have done quite well.

Can anyone here argue that somehow the lower IQ Ulster Scotts settled in West Virginia and higher IQ Ulster Scotts settled elsewhere? Probably not.

Of course we all believe that IQ is destiny, otherwise we wouldn't be on this blog, but if an identical group of Ulster Scotts can split in two and have half move to West Virginia and half move to places further north and produce such dramatically different results, environment has pretty clearly been shown to have an impact

l said...

Does Krugman count Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain (the 'PIIGS' basketcases) as European?

Steve Sailer said...

No, by "plain American" I mean people who identify their ancestral identity merely as "American." They tend toward the Scots-Irish.

Anonymous said...

"No, by "plain American" I mean people who identify their ancestral identity merely as "American." They tend toward the Scots-Irish."

More English really. Most "Scots-Irish" were English people anyway and were neither Scottish nor Irish in an ethnic sense.

Black Sea said...

"The conventional wisdom is that the Ulster Scotts that settled in West Virginia have done terribly in economic terms while the ones that settled in other parts of the USA have done quite well."

I think there is a certain "left behind" effect at work here. People have been migrating out of the Appalachians for an awfully long time, and I suspect that those able to get out and successfully establish themselves elsewhere would be the brighter and more hard working contingent, leaving behind those without the forsight, ambition, etc. to pick up stakes and move.

Anonymous said...

Wouldnt Swiss immigrants tend to drift towards others of their linguistic group eg Swiss-Germans ending up identiyfing as German-American.

And Luxembourg, thats so small Im not sure one can deduce much from the numbers there. Not so much a country as a large bus queue.

OhioStater said...

Hey Steve. Whats the income gap between west Africans and black Americans? I imagine its much larger than 50%.

Anonymous said...

Steve,
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I've been arguing this with my liberal friends for almost two years now! These comparisons that pop-star progressives, ranging from Krugman and Thomas Frank to Bill Maher and Lewis Black make between America and Europe are just completely insane. I'm sorry but Americans of white-European descent, who mostly live in the suburbs, just simply live better than Europeans of white-European descent. It's just not even close. Heck, I live in a Northern NJ suburb and we have two families from England and Germany. As much as they love their mother countries, they admit that they would never go back. The middle class just can't live as well in Europe as they can in an American metropolitan suburb.

wwwww said...

in the 2003 heat wave 15 thousand frenchmen died.Why? no air conditioning

William1066 said...

A next step might be to compare the incomes of other ethnic groups (Mex-Americans, African-Americans) to their countries of origin.

OhioStater said...

Hopefully order is maintained in Haiti. If not, it will make New Orleans after Katrina look like a picnic.

Dahinda said...

Many Americans with Austrian ancestry actually identify themselves as German. Many have ancestors who came here when the Austro-Hungarian Empire was still around and Germany was just a collection of kingdoms and pricipalities. Austria was just another of these kingdoms. When Germany got together to form one country Austria didn't join them but it is still just a subset of Germany. People who spoke German from this region identified themselves as such.

KingM said...

I used to live in Rhode Island and there are zillions of Portuguese there and in southern Mass. They are more recent immigrants.

I worked with a really bright Portuguese software engineer, who'd moved to the States at the age of 12 and had no foreign accent. His father, on the other hand, was a laborer who spoke only a few words of English.

liamascorcaigh said...

It strikes me that Krugman is in part conflating wealth with money. London, Paris, Vienna, Budapest, Madrid, Lisbon are all former Imperial capitals whose fabric displays the accumulated grandeur of their former days of political glory, military might and economic power.

This lives on when the energy, daring and ingenuity that made such splendour possible has drained away. These cities were created by giants and are now maintained by midgets.

Steve Setzer said...

@Anon who said "Of course we all believe that IQ is destiny"

No, that is not accurate. Neither Sailer nor his most serious commenters has said that IQ is destiny.

Sailer says that IQ is among the factors that matter in one's destiny and that it is more important than any other single factor (not necessarily more than all other factors combined), and that IQ is largely (not completely) heritable.

Vastly different statements.

Anonymous said...

Sailer,

are you aware that GDP per capita by ethnicity make no sense? You do know what GDP stands for, right? I can understand how one might compute income per person by ethnicity but this is not synonymous with GDP per capita.

liamascorcaigh said...

It strikes me that Krugman is in part conflating wealth with money. London, Paris, Vienna, Budapest, Madrid, Lisbon are all former Imperial capitals whose fabric displays the accumulated grandeur of their former days of political glory, military might and economic power.

This lives on when the energy, daring and ingenuity that made such splendour possible has drained away. These cities were created by giants and are now maintained by midgets.

StephenT said...

Anonymous wrote "I have read arguments, for example, that the highest IQ Irish Catholics generally moved to the USA and the lower IQ Irish Catholics stayed in Ireland."

Still another example of how legal Euro immigration of a century ago does NOT resemble illegal Mexican immigration today -- no matter how many desperate attempts are made to rhapsodize it as so.

Anonymous said...

This chart provides a lot of evidence that the US should not emulate the policies of Greece. But not too much evidence that we need to avoid the policies of Finland.

The average Greek person living in Greece is POOR by our standards and becomes truly middle class by moving to the USA and living here for a few generations (see the per capita income of 57 thousand listed here)

The average Finn would do quite nicely in his own country and might even have a lower standard of living here in the USA (see the per capita income of 52 thousand listed here)

overall, I don't think that overall we can say that America is a better place for a Scandanavian person to grow up than Scandanavia is.

My own gut tells me that if you are of, for example pure Danish ancestry and happen to be born with an IQ that is high by Danish standards, you will make a hell of a lot more money here in the USA than you will in Denmark. But if you are of below average IQ by Danish standards, you will have a much lower standard of living here in the USA.

Overall, is the "american system" better than the scandanavian system? I don't really see any definitive evidence, but I sure would like to see a deeper dive in to this topic

Dutch Boy said...

It would be interesting to factor in the per capita national debt and adjust the income figures accordingly to get a truer picture of the relative "success" of nationalities in Europe vs. the USA. A man who makes $50,000/yr but is debt free might well be better off than a man who makes $100,000/yr but is $1 million in hock.

Anonymous said...

As a businessman, one thing that the US economy offers me is access to exceptionally hard working and motivated immigrants.

Now as a class I think that businessmen, if not opposed by another class, will destroy a country by flooding it with cheap labor. I think the businessmen of the USA would have destroyed our country in the 1920's if not for Sam Gompers lobbying for the class of working men. So businessmen need a strong opposition or it all breaks down.

But putting that aside, as a businessman interested in starting a high tech company, I get the benefit of easy access to the smartest people from India and China and Europe, if I want them. For whatever reason it is relatively easy for the smartest people to move to the USA, and smart people want to move here. Diversity actually works in Silicon Valley, in the sense that every smart person in the world feels comfortable in Silicon Valley.

If I wanted to develop a high tech company in Denmark, who would I have access to - Danes, perhaps other Europeans? But would the smartest people from India and China be as happy in Denmark? I think not.

So speaking off the top of my head, it seems that as a businessman who needs access to smartest people from around the world, the US offers something special.

This immigration effect isn't big enough to impact the national statistics, I don't think. But it damn well impacts the micro market in Northern California.

Bottom line, an aggressive, high IQ capitalist oriented Danish businessman is MUCH better off immigrating to America and setting up shop in Palo Alto than he is setting up shop in Denmark. In that sense I don't think it can be argued that the American system is better and produces more wealth.

Peter A said...

Any Christian Austrians who immigrated to the US before 1918 probably identified as "Germans." In those days Austria was just a political entity, not a nationality. Viennese Jews who came before 1918 probably considered themselves "German" as well.

Dutch Boy said...

It might also be useful to look at disposable income per capita (Northern European tax rates tend to the 50-60% range even for people with modest incomes).

VG said...

It's interesting to see that the Dutch are so way down in the table. In the last 200 years, there hasn't been much emigration among the Dutch to any other place in the world except South Africa, where they were called Boers, which is the Dutch word for farmer. The Netherlands has been doing quite well for itself with very little internal tension, so no one had any reason to leave. The majority of Dutch Americans would be descended from either the very first founding fathers in the days of New Amsterdam, which is way far back in history to maintain a pure lineage, or Dutch Jews in the 1930s and 40s. Neither set would have comprised farmers, and I don't think there were very many of them. And yes, the Pennsylvania Dutch are not Dutch, but German.

outlaw josey wales said...

Isn't there an implicit judgment here that person making $X more in the US is better off than that person in Europe merely by virtue of greater income?

What is the marginal increase in happiness for a Swede in the US making $56K vs. one in Sweden making $36K? Seems to me there are really too many variables.

I make much more now than when I was a grad student, but I am not happier by a proportionate amount. I think it's fairly primitive to gauge things solely by income.

Eric Rasmusen said...

Someone noted that Scots-Irish in West Virginia did worse than elsewhere. Putting aside the Scots-Irish vs. Scot question, that kind of difference is actually half the the point of the post. Ancestry matters-- but so does where you're living. West Virginia has not been as well-governed as Wisconsin. (The Mississippi Scots are probably not doing well either.)

Veracity said...

the per capita GDP of Sweden is $36,603. But the Census says the per-capita income of Swedish-Americans is such that you can estimate a per capita GDP for Swedish-Americans of $56,865, a 55% advantage for Swedes in America over Swedes in Sweden.

Through the prism of race, this could be interpreted to mean that the deeply institutional racism in America allows Swedish Americans to unjustly exploit $20,262 from victimized NAMs.

Time for 55% redistributative tax on all Swedish-Americans to begin a substantial dialog on healing the wounds of Minnesotan slavery.

Veracity

Anonymous said...

"Lots of Jews from Poland, Hungary, and Russia."

Yeah, but they are EASTERN European.

Anonymous said...

Americans aren't the same as the populations they came from. They were more enterprising than those who stayed home and this is probably a factor in the high American GDP. This was the opinion of Charles Darwin.

Personally I would add that Americans are more money-grubbing, devious, and less classy and cultured than Europeans. On the plus side, they are friendlier, more practical, energetic, and persistent, and probably more perspicacious in seeing through nonsense.

Anonymous said...

(A commenter points out that many of the Austrians are probably Jewish. Viennese Jews were famously well-educated, so that sounds like a good explanation. The Census Bureau doesn't want you to answer "Jewish" to the ancestral nationality question, so most Jewish-Americans pick an Eastern European territorial state such as Russia to answer this question. Austria is the most eastern of the EU-15 countries in this table.)




I'm not sure I buy that explanation. The typical Russian person in America seems to be Jewish, but "Russians" don't make the list.

Anonymous said...

Many people listing their heritage as "Austrian" are likely Jews whose ancestors came from the Austrian Empire (which included large areas of southern Poland and western Ukraine




That seems like very tenous reasoning. The Russian Jews who post at the Volokh Conspracy all identy as "Russian Jews". I don't but this notion that Americas Jews identify with the Nazi homeland of Austria.

Anonymous said...

OT. Was George W Bush the first Beavis n Butthead president? Nah, even B & B were more articulate than dubya.

Anonymous said...

Of course we all believe that IQ is destiny, otherwise we wouldn't be on this blog




Hold on thar, skippy! Some of us on this blog don't believe that IQ is destiny.

If you're born in America you are likely to be a very well-off person, by world standards. Even though America does not have an exceptionally high IQ, by world standards.

The wealth of a country depends on its culture, not its IQ.

Anonymous said...

Steve, how blinkered can you be? Who in the hell is arguing that we should have universal healthcare for the sake of an increased GDP? Nobody but the Strawman in your head.

What Krugman writes is that even though Europe has social benefits for the less well-off it still doesn't suck. That's it. And I reckon that he - and most supporters of complete and total health coverage from cradle to grave wouuld be perfectly okay with everyone's income going down slightly for the sake of the good that such social policies accomplish for the weak, as well as for the moral sense of evereyone else.

I definitely hear the difficulty of the fact that America does not have a cohesive society any more and thus payouts will generally flow from one tribe to an unrelated, possibly even warring, tribe but that's a matter to be dealt with up front and honestly rather than by trying to kill universal healthcare with an army of strawmen. The truth shall set you free.

Anonymous said...

Different groups came at different times for different reasons. They also were drawn from different strata of their country of origin, so making comparisons as shown on the list seem's to me to be just above reading horoscopes. By the third generation there's hardly any European left in them anyway, especially after lifelong exposure to the idiot culture of America. Also, the Austro-Hungarian Empire ended in 1918 so the idea that the self identified Austrians in this study are actually descended from immigrant Jews of the 1930's seems rather tenuous to me. Has anyone ever actually met a jewish person that self identified as Austrian? I sure haven't, perhaps due to the unfortunate connection to a certain individual born in that country who went on to greater notoriety.

Anonymous said...

The comparison should be extended to cover other continents; how do GDP per capita of Japanese or West Africans compare to those of Japanese-Americans and African-Americans for example?

Anonymous said...

1. Yes Krugman includes Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain as Europe. You may think these are basket cases, but since they were even poorer in 1980 much of the growth of Europe comes from these countries.

I believe the recession is not in Krugmans data (too recent to have good purchasing power adjusted GDP data).

2. New post that answers a couple of questions.

http://super-economy.blogspot.com/2010/01/miscellaneous-americans.html

greenrivervalleyman said...

This debate frequently conflates material prosperity and cultural- wait for it- vibrancy. During the '90's I remember reading a series of dispatches by a pro-Euro labor organizer going on and on about how amazing Germany was for having bookstores dedicated just to philosophy. Yet Dubai, with reams of petro-dollars to spare, has turned itself into Vegas on the Gulf. It is thus highly dubious to make comparisons based on how "nice" a particular country's major cities look, as Europe has had a 1700 year cultural head-start on America, not to mention the "advantage" of an aristocratic social structure for much of that time ( aristocracy + extravagance = Versailles/Sistine Chapel, democracy + extravagance = Hard Rock Cafe ).

Yet what this debate really ignores is the extent of European free-riding on American technological and military infrastructure. Pharmaceutical and medical device companies continue to innovate only because they know they can always sell to the huge, for-profit U.S. healthcare market. They then turn around and sell the same technology to Europe/Canada at government-regulated prices which, while still providing marginal profit, are way below what would be required to keep the company a going concern. Similarly for national security. No European country except Britain has any significant force projection capabilities at this point, yet they blithely continue to ply their goods on the seas, knowing full well that the U.S. Navy will come to the rescue should those cargo ships chock full of BMWs and Mercedes Benzes ever run across a fearsome Somali pirate motor boat. While I do not recommend for the U.S. to go all Athenian Empire on the Euros, it is high-time the extent of this free-riding be acknowledged and perhaps compensate for.

Bob said...

The Western European middle and upper classes work much shorter hours, so are just as productive as their cousins over here.

Also, per capita US figures are distorted by the extreme wealth of the US top 1%.

Middle class Western Europeans generally live longer, healthier, less stressful lives with more leisure time, better tasting food, and earlier retirements.

Also, the US has much higher natural resources per capita than the EU, making our per capita GDP even less impressive.

Anonymous said...

Off-topic, but if there were such a thing as a person who was an expert on Haitian architecture, building materials, and building techniques, then it would be fascinating to get an informed account of which buildings collapsed and why.

[IYKWIMAITYD.]

corvinus said...

Many people listing their heritage as "Austrian" are likely Jews whose ancestors came from the Austrian Empire (which included large areas of southern Poland and western Ukraine). Gentile immigrants from Austria-Hungary were mostly Hungarians and Slavs.

From Wikipedia:
Austrian Americans are Americans of Austrian descent. According to the 2000 US census, there are 735,128 Americans of full or partial Austrian descent. The states with the largest Austrian American populations are New York (93,083), California (84,959), Pennsylvania (58,002), Florida (54,214) and New Jersey (45,154). This is probably a severe undercount, as many German Americans have ancestors from Austria; before World War I, when most German Americans had immigrated, Austrians were considered a German people (like Bavarians, Rhinelanders, and Saxons).

Anonymous said...

"The Western European middle and upper classes work much shorter hours, so are just as productive as their cousins over here."

800 lb gorilla in the room: Western Europe has fewer supersmart Jews hogging much of the wealth and, as yet, no huge black underclass. But, things are changing with the flood of Africans, Jamaicans, Muslims, etc.

Anonymous said...

Overall, it seems to me that if you are a Greek or a Sicilian living in Greece or Sicily, and you want to work hard, you should move to the USA. Chances are your children will have a standard of living way way higher than what they would get at home.

On the other hand, if you are a Dane or a Finn, you may as well stay where you are because the standard of living of your children will be about the same.

Anyone else see it this way

Steve Sailer said...

Armenians would be like Greeks squared -- live in squalor in Armenia or live well in America.

People from strong family, weak civil society cultures tend to do well in the U.S.

Anonymous said...

I think it needs to be discussed in a separate thread, but perhaps the success of an economy depends on the mix of people. If we assume that Danes have different traits than Greeks, perhaps a country like America that mixes up Danes and Greeks in the same local economy gives a better outcome. Assuming you agree with me that different white ethnic groups have different strengths and weaknesses.

New Zealanders often complain that their country lacks enough entrepreneurial dynamism, and lacks as much aggressive risk taking as they would like. Perhaps NZ would benefit from a more diverse mix of people of European ancestry living there (just to be clear, I am not advocating non White immigration to NZ, just a more robust mix of Europeans)

Pom said...

One last comment, my understanding is that the first few waves of settlers to Australia were british criminals.

That is correct. The voyage to North America was a hell of a lot shorter than the voyage to the upside down world. Why go to Australia when it was first discovered when you could instead choose to go to the young USA or Canada where civilization was already established?

I would speculate that had these criminals spent their whole lives in Britain that many of their great grandchildren would today be part of the infamous chav underclass in the Britain - ie truly depraved and earning a very low income. Instead, providing them with wide open spaces and plenty of sunshine and opportunity in Australia seems to have produced a generally wealthy and successful group.

No one would dispute that Australia provided a much better economic and social system over the past few hundred years than Britain - the results speak for themselves. But if others think I am missing the point please let me know


I don't know if you are missing the point on the wider questions, but this Englishman who still lives in Britain thinks you are absolutely correct.

I wish I had gone there when I was younger.

A high proportion of Brits regard Australia as the promised land.

Halvorson said...

I'd like to hear more about Steve's travels through obscure ethnic villages across the United States. I didn't really appreciate the amount of ethnic diversity in the rural U.S. until I saw this map taken from the 2000 census:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a7/Census-2000-Data-Top-US-Ancestries-by-County.svg

Apparently there's a belt of predominantly Finnish counties in the Upper Peninsula. How do you anglicize a Finnish name?

DanJ said...

I live in Finland. During the era of migration to the US, most people were raised on small farms. To keep the farm intact, it would pass to the oldest son, the other children would get very little. Many of these migrated overseas. So in terms of personal ability, IQ or adventurousness, they were very similar to the ones who stayed behind.

Today, people do move to the US if they are motivated to do so. But it depends on your situation. If you are a young professional, go for it, you might do well over there. If you have children to care for and see through school and college, stay where you are.

Felix said...

I have to disagree with the notion that European immigrants to America came from the higher quality segments of the European population, especially if we're talking about the older massive waves of immigration from which most American whites are descended. The immigrants who arrived here in the 19th and early 20th century had to abandon everything they had back home and start anew largely from scratch. I'm sure some of them took this drastic step becasue they were enterprising and daring, but most did it because they were dirt poor in the old country and had nothing to lose. America got a disproportionate share of the working class and the poor, and not too much of the intellectual elite and the professional classes of Europe, with all that this entails for the relative IQ of Eurpopean immigrants to America vs the IQ of those who stayed behind.

David said...

Felix, yes and there is the theory (hardly ever bruited about over here) that America, on average, got the dregs of Europe.

Nor did the new environment necessarily do them good. Mencken said that when he looked at Americans, he didn't see "the people who had tamed a continent." He saw "a people broken to the plow."

Anonymous said...

"Also, the Austro-Hungarian Empire ended in 1918 so the idea that the self identified Austrians in this study are actually descended from immigrant Jews of the 1930's seems rather tenuous to me. Has anyone ever actually met a jewish person that self identified as Austrian? I sure haven't, perhaps due to the unfortunate connection to a certain individual born in that country who went on to greater notoriety."

You need to get out more and/or learn more history than just the garbage spewed out by the history channel.

I've known Jews who self-identified as Austrian; granted they were old and had immigrated during or before WWII. I knew several of this type at University several decades ago; they're probably dead now and I doubt that their grandchildren self-identify as "Austrian-American" but they themselves certainly did.

The Austrian-Jewish community was rather large and wealthy and was proud of thinking of themselves as Austrian (Freud being the most obvious example); the fact that Hitler also came from Austria would tend to reinforce this identity, because Hitler considered himself German, NOT Austrian, and Hitler was anti-Austrian for many of the same reasons that he was anti-Jewish. Therefore, it made perfect sense for Austrian Jews to self-identify as Austrians and NOT as Germans.

Anonymous said...

GDP per capita (nominal) is a difficult measure to work with because its not as stable as you would think. The numbers are in dollars and exchange rates flucuate quite a bit.

Just look at the 1995 data:

America was only ranked #12 back then at $27,573.81. Sweden was ahead at $28,381.81 per capita. Japan was way ahead at $41,807.14. Now the US is ahead of both those countries.

More than one year worth of data needs to be used.

Anonymous said...

New Zealanders often complain that their country lacks enough entrepreneurial dynamism, and lacks as much aggressive risk taking as they would like.

Perhaps they should import the entire population of Iceland. The Icelanders seem to have acquired quite a reputation for risk taking.

Anonymous said...

High taxes in Sweden have led to a very large black or underground economy. In Summer Swedish tradesman I know will work 8 hours in their taxed job and then work another 4 or more hours doing cash-in-hand work. Also, much of the labouring work in Sweden is performed by Poles and others doing cash-in-hand work.

The Swedish GDP per capita figures don't accurately account for the large black economy. The Swedish economy is larger than the formal figures suggest.

John Seiler said...

Most interesting statistic: Per-capita GDP of Washington, D.C.: $148,046. That's double the GDP of the highest state, Delaware: $69,576. No wonder we're in a Depression we can't get out of: our money is being sucked out of us by the D.C. vampires.

Anonymous said...

I thought a large entrepreneurial class left Europe after the failed 1848 revolutions? Wikipedia says "Some disaffected German bourgeois liberals (the Forty-Eighters, many atheists and freethinkers) migrated to the United States after 1848, taking their money, intellectual talents, and skills out of Germany."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutions_of_1848#Legacy

Hereward said...

Felix,
The 19th Century white ethnics certainly tended to be poor. This would indeed imply that they were from the left half of the bell curve, assuming that 1840's Ireland, 1870's Bohemia, and 1890's Sicily were intellectual meritocracies whose upper classes earned their positions through brains. I just don't think that's the case, though. In traditional societies, even doctors and lawyers tended to be drawn from the gentry - nobody was combing the villages for bright lads to promote. In fact, that couldn't happen, except by great good fortune, outside of societies where education was relatively widespread, as in Puritan New England or Lowland Scotland in the 17th or 18th Centuries.

Anonymous said...

the "dregs of Europe" notion, whatever validity there is to it, is certainly not a complete description. E.g. German immigration after the Revolution of 1848 consisted of middle class people pissed off at the political situation. Perhaps not surprisingly those Germans did really well for themselves really quickly. Also, even considering cases of lower class immigration from England, we should note that these were the ones with enough gumption to emigrate. They did have more conventional avenues in life, e.g. stay as a (possibly impoverished) worker in England or enlist in the military and ship off to India (that's what the real dregs did).

Anonymous said...

In response to VG above on Dutch-Americans. No, you're overlooking the vast majority of American people who would identify as Dutch-Americans. I'm of 100% Dutch extraction myself, and grew up in the upper midwest. That's where most D-As reside -- in small agriculture-fueled towns in Michigan and Iowa, and to a lesser extent in several other states. My ancestors were all late 19th-early 20th century immigrants, i.e. they came over just when the Boers were headed to SA. The ones who went to the USA also largely became farmers, much as Steve has suggested.

I think this explains much of the current low income number, i.e. D-As live mostly in rural, low-cost-of-living areas, and have predominantly been involved in farming until recent years.

One other salient point is that many Dutch people emigrated to the USA for theological reasons. Members of the Reformed Church, i.e. the Calvinistic state church of the Netherlands, which in the USA then split (mainly) into the Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church, are characterized by the most hard-core, sophisticated understanding of Christian theology you'll see in just about any denomination; really, it's amazing. But this led to a lot of splintering and separatism and isolationism in the Dutch immigrants to the USA. That made them far less likely to strike out afield for the big city, high-paying jobs, etc. They devoted much more energy and (I think considerable) brainpower; Dutch people tend to be pretty sharp) to debating issues such as the implications of Christ's limited atonement on the need to evangelize those who are not among the elect, and so on.

So I'd add a little corollary to Weber: the Protestant work ethic indeed leads to orderly, prosperous communities (like my own heavily Dutch-American hometown) but it may also divert people who take the theology seriously from chasing the really big money. Not only would that call one's election back into question (you'll appear too much devoted to the treasures of this world) but you may not have the time in between church services, catechism classes and Sunday school!

Anonymous said...

On the plus side, they are friendlier, more practical, energetic, and persistent, and probably more perspicacious in seeing through nonsense.

And thus we will never now what would have happened if the lightweight GWB had been elected in 2000 or the shallow Obama in 2008. Luckily the voters saw through that nonsense.

Anthony said...

I wonder how many "Swiss" are Germans who started calling themselves Swiss during The Great War to avoid persecution by Wilson and his agents?

My wife's living German ancestors don't speak a word of German, because it became illegal to teach German in Iowa in 1918.

Oh - and how do you anglicize Finnish names? Take off the umlauts and undouble the double letters.

Anonymous said...

"This chart provides a lot of evidence that the US should not emulate the policies of Greece."

As a Greek I can tell you: you betcha. Greece has been in the dungeon since the '80s when the socialists' onslaught began building up an enormous dysfunctioning public sector and legitimising civil&economic corruption. So that now the country is on the brink of bankruptcy begging the EU to bail us out. I'm seriously considering migration.

Btw, Krugman is a joke. What's up with that guy? How do you manage to be wrong 9/10?

Svigor said...

Hey Steve. Whats the income gap between west Africans and black Americans? I imagine its much larger than 50%.

I did a very rough comparison of the wealth of sub-Saharan Africans vs. African-Americans a few years ago (based on clues in articles, not good numbers) and my best guess was 1:20.

Scots Irish 4 Real said...

"Most "Scots-Irish" were English people anyway and were neither Scottish nor Irish in an ethnic sense." Not true. They were for the most part Scots and English - with most of them being Scots.

Steve Sailer said...

Re: The Class of 1848

You can read the success of German immigrants like Carl Schurz after the repression of liberal reformers in Germany in 1848 two ways. The half empty way is to suggest that big impact of the Class of 1848 suggests that the typical German immigrant in other years wasn't from the educated upper middle class.

In terms of elite influxes in the first few centuries of America, the U.S. got a lot of bright people in the Puritan immigration in the 1630s, maybe some Royalists in the 1640s, some good Quakers late in the 17th Century, and Class of 1848, anti-Nazi immigrants like Billy Wilder and Enrico Fermi in the 1930s.

In general, though, America was made mostly by farmers who weren't terribly high ranking at home.

Truth said...

"People from strong family, weak civil society cultures tend to do well in the U.S."

And who produces this "weak civil society"; could it possibly be people from "strong (Armenian) famil(ies)?"

Anonymous said...

Anon:"I'm sorry but Americans of white-European descent, who mostly live in the suburbs, just simply live better than Europeans of white-European descent."

That simply isn't true. It takes an income of about 60,000 dollars or more per year to live comparably in the USA, whereas in Europe a person could live a similar lifestyle for 35,000 a year -- and they work a lot less, have more leisure time, have less crime, don't have to pay for healthcare, go in to debt for college, and so on.

Truth said...

"t takes an income of about 60,000 dollars or more per year to live comparably in the USA, whereas in Europe a person could live a similar lifestyle for 35,000 a year"

This is a total and complete lie.

Anonymous said...

in the 2003 heat wave 15 thousand frenchmen died.Why? no air conditioning

Straying into neocon, cheese eating surrender monkey territory there pal.

Why is air conditioning uncommon in France? Because in normal times its just not needed, not because the French are so impoverished that they can't afford a potentialy life saving piece of kit.

If the lack of air con was really a symptom of French backwardness and poverty, we would hear stories of 15,000 dying every summer, we don't.

Markku said...

The average Finn would do quite nicely in his own country and might even have a lower standard of living here in the USA (see the per capita income of 52 thousand listed here)

The average Finn has a lower standard of living in Finland than in the USA, (GDP per capita of $35,000 vs. $52,000) assuming the table lists purchasing power parities. If not, the reality is even worse for Finland.

On the other hand, the USA is a multicultural nation with a large fraction of trouble making minorities purchase escape from. (Idiot multiculturalists are working hard to destroy Finland's only attribute capable of attracting high quality work force.)

Markku said...

It might also be useful to look at disposable income per capita (Northern European tax rates tend to the 50-60% range even for people with modest incomes).

No, it wouldn't. The greater relative disposable income of Americans is not truly disposable. Much of it goes to the kids' college funds or health insurance policies of those family members not covered by employers.

In Finland, no middle class family needs to set any money aside for the children's education. It's already done by the taxman.

Markku said...

No European country except Britain has any significant force projection capabilities at this point, yet they blithely continue to ply their goods on the seas, knowing full well that the U.S. Navy will come to the rescue should those cargo ships chock full of BMWs and Mercedes Benzes ever run across a fearsome Somali pirate motor boat.

Bullshit. Those waters are patrolled by warships from nearly every NATO member.

During Cold War, neither the US or the UK had conscription. It is preposterous to claim that Western Europe relied on the US alone for defence at that time. Conscription of the male population was abolished in most of Europe only about 15 years ago. The vast majority of the NATO soldiers fighting in Europe would've been European. In Finland, 80% of men still serve between 6 months and one year + refresher training in the military.

It pisses me off to listen to some random American ignoramus to run their mouth about this topic time and again.

Anonymous said...

YESTERDAY, ME: Off-topic, but if there were such a thing as a person who was an expert on Haitian architecture, building materials, and building techniques, then it would be fascinating to get an informed account of which buildings collapsed and why. [IYKWIMAITYD.]

TODAY, WSJ: ...The earthquake is also a reminder that while natural calamities do not discriminate between rich countries and poor ones, their effects almost invariably do. The 1994 Northridge quake was nearly as powerful as the one that struck Haiti, but its human toll was comparatively slight. The difference is a function of a wealth-generating and law-abiding society that can afford, among other things, the expense of proper building codes.

In the long term, the best defense against future natural disasters is to promote the political and economic conditions that can move people out of the slums and shanties that easily become death traps...

dk said...

"Most interesting statistic: Per-capita GDP of Washington, D.C.: $148,046."

Just look at the 1995 data:

"America was only ranked #12 back then at $27,573.81. Sweden was ahead at $28,381.81 per capita. Japan was way ahead at $41,807.14. Now the US is ahead of both those countries."

These 2 quotes give me absolutely no faith in gdp stats. Just WHAT does DC "produce" hmmm.

And since the euro has just about doubled in value in real terms 99-present and US gdp has ostensibly nearly doubled...guess that means the americian economy is 2 times as productive as it was in 1995 in dollar terms....yeah sure.

Oh wait or do they adjust gdp stats for currency fluctuations. I guess that means swedens economy has shrunk by 50%. Again, yeah sure.

David said...

>If the lack of air con was really a symptom of French backwardness and poverty, we would hear stories of 15,000 dying every summer, we don't<

Any story in the world press around 2003 regarding the French would play up the "Old Europe" sneer of the neocons. Perhaps 15K, more or less, do in fact perish every summer - and it was just more advantageous to the spread of neocon memes to report it in 2003.

Omission and inclusion of stories on the wires is not done on a scientific, unbiased basis. Everything is either advertising or hate speech.

Dahlia said...

Steve,
Is that the blog of one of your favorite commenters, Tino? I hadn't check it out until TGGP said Tino was running it and I presumed it was the same one. He was always outstanding here.

corvinus said...

Felix,
The 19th Century white ethnics certainly tended to be poor. This would indeed imply that they were from the left half of the bell curve, assuming that 1840's Ireland, 1870's Bohemia, and 1890's Sicily were intellectual meritocracies whose upper classes earned their positions through brains. I just don't think that's the case, though. In traditional societies, even doctors and lawyers tended to be drawn from the gentry - nobody was combing the villages for bright lads to promote. In fact, that couldn't happen, except by great good fortune, outside of societies where education was relatively widespread, as in Puritan New England or Lowland Scotland in the 17th or 18th Centuries.


Pretty much the case. Ireland is one example. The Catholic majority, no matter their inherent IQ, had pretty much all been driven into the underclass by the penal laws of the 1700s. And these were the same people who were the intellectuals of Europe during the Dark Ages. Of course, the more ambitious could convert to Anglicanism, but they generally saw that as selling their soul to the devil for worldly gain.

Then keep in mind that most Irish live in the United States and the Commonwealth countries now. I don't know what effect that would have on the average IQ of the remaining 5% of Irish living in Ireland though...

Anonymous said...

"It takes an income of about 60,000 dollars or more per year to live comparably in the USA, whereas in Europe a person could live a similar lifestyle for 35,000 a year"

As long as you're safe from black crime or illegal alien invasion, you can live just fine in the US for 20,000 a year or even less.

Anonymous said...

America got a disproportionate share of the working class and the poor, and not too much of the intellectual elite and the professional classes of Europe




Yes. Even the "elite" which America did get was in many cases made up of people the home country regarded as trouble makers - religious dissenters and the like. The Puritans, Quakers and Presbyterians were encouraged to move to America by the British to get those religious troublemakers out of their their hair.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Spain for 2 years as a Mormon missionary, which meant I was just living in normal housing in normal areas, not necessarily in high-culture university towns where people go to be tourists.

My impression is that living in Europe is a lot like living in a very urban American area. You have more cultural and food amenities and you have a cramped living quarters, a tiny car, and everything costs a ton of money. My Spanish friends were always talking about my villa and my estate, which were a normal-sized American home on a 5-acre hobby farm.

If you're smart but lazy, and you're Spanish, Spain might not be a bad place to live. If you are at all ambitious or hard-working, move to America.

DanJ said...

I don't think it is possible to make assumptions of the IQ or other personal traits of Europeans who moved to America. Too many variables. People migrated for different reasons in different times. America probably got a perfectly average set of European genes.

Granted, people in our European ruling elites seldom moved to America. You have not missed much. Actually, we could send them over right now, if you still want them.

Steve Sailer said...

"America probably got a perfectly average set of European genes."

That would be my default assumption, too.

I'm sure there are interesting exceptions, but that's a good starting point.

Anonymous said...

"America probably got a perfectly average set of European genes."

Prolly prolly. I've often heard that the kind of people who left the Old World tended to be more daring, intelligent, and blah blah. Maybe they were just poor, desperate, and had nothing to live for--especially if they left in huge numbers during something like the potato famine.

Some may have come with a vision, but most came just to find a job or flee from persecution. And, some were just kicked out.

The first wave of Cubans who came to the US following the commie revolution were prolly quality folks. But, many who came in the 70s were criminals.
Today, Chinese and Hindus come to work in hightech, Mexicans migrate to pick lettuce.

n/a said...

"The Puritans, Quakers and Presbyterians were encouraged to move to America by the British to get those religious troublemakers out of their their hair."

This assertion is certainly false as regards the Puritan settlers of New England.

In seeking to identify emigrants and explore their motives
for moving, historians have received invaluable assistance
from none other than Charles I. Not long after the exodus to
Massachusetts began, the king and his archbishop of Canterbury
became increasingly concerned about the departure of so
many English folk for wilderness homes across the seas
. On 21
July 1635, in an attempt to keep track of the movement,
Charles I issued a proclamation requiring all those who
wished to leave the realm to obtain a special license from the
Privy Council.

Migrants and Motives: Religion and the Settlement of New England, 1630-1640
Author(s): Virginia Dejohn Anderson
Source: The New England Quarterly, Vol. 58, No. 3, (Sep., 1985), pp. 339-383


In 1633, however, probably through the increasing strictness of ecclesiastical discipline at home, the emigration increased. In the course of the year seven
hundred persons crossed the seas, amongst whom was John Cotton of Boston, and other leading Puritan divines. The English Government took alarm lest the example of the successful establishment of extreme Puritanism in America should give encouragement to those who aimed at the realisation of the Puritan ideal on the Eastern side of the Atlantic.1 A cry came up to Laud from Ipswich that six score emigrants were preparing for a voyage across the ocean, and that six hundred more were soon to follow. The kingdom, said his informant, would be depopulated. Trade would be ruined. Bankrupts would assert that they were flying from the ceremonies when they were in reality flying from their creditors. An Order in Council at once prohibited the sailing of the vessels.

[. . .] Laud clearly perceived that the danger of spiritual contagion could not be confined within any geographical limits. The few hundreds of Puritans who had established themselves in Massachusetts might easily obtain an influence over those like-minded with themselves in England, whilst the hope of finding a refuge beyond the Atlantic might serve as an encouragement to the nonconformists at home. As his manner was, he went to the root of the difficulty. In April 1634, a Commission, of which he was himself the head, was appointed to take all English colonies under its control; ' to make laws, orders, and constitutions ;' to establish a clergy, supported ' by tithes, oblations, and other profits ;' to remove the governors and other officers, to inflict punishment, to set up ecclesiastical courts, and to call all charters in questions before a court of law, if they were found to contain privileges injurious to the Crown or to the King's prerogative.1

In the following December the Privy Council placed further restrictions on emigration. No man of sufficient means to be rated on the subsidy books was to go to New England without a special license from themselves, and no poorer person was to go without a certificate of conformity from the minister of his parish.1


The personal government of Charles I.: A history of England from the assassination of the Duke of Buckingham to the declaration of the judges on ship-money; 1628-1637
http://books.google.com/books?id=5cxIblikePIC

Anonymous said...

YESTERDAY, ME... TODAY, WSJ...

At 1:40PM on his show today [Thursday, 2010-01-14], Rush Limbaugh made exactly this point [about the quality of Haitian construction techniques].

Also today, I heard Mark Levin make the point that the government wouldn't allow banks to grow [via mergers] unless they were strictly in compliance with the CRA & the anti-redlining initiatives, which is a story that I have only ever seen covered here at iSteve.

I think a lot more famous people hang out here than we realize.

David said...

>The Puritans, Quakers and Presbyterians were encouraged to move to America by the British to get those religious troublemakers out of their their hair.<

Yep, and these fanatics and their progeny and acolytes wreaked hell on America all the way up to the first quarter of 20th Century - from Puritans to Abolitionists to Comstocks to Prohibitionists. Woodrow Wilson plunged the West into WWI. Maybe the Europeans had a point about "bad seed" troublemakers.

Svigor said...

I think a lot more famous people hang out here than we realize.

That's the great thing about ideas. They leak. So what if Rush doesn't read iSteve? He's going to hear about everything that goes on from someone who does, or someone who talks to someone who does, etc.

My impression is that living in Europe is a lot like living in a very urban American area.

I think it's impossible to properly compare Europe and the US without keeping population density at the forefront.

Anonymous said...

Off-topic, but if there were such a thing as a person who was an expert on Haitian architecture, building materials, and building techniques, then it would be fascinating to get an informed account of which buildings collapsed and why.

Here is a picture of the UN building which collapsed - immediately next to it is a building [perhaps even a wing of the same complex?] which looks to have suffered little if any damage at all.

I wonder which was the corrupt building contractor and which was the honest building contractor?

Or maybe the UN building had an architect like I. M. Pei?