March 3, 2013

Average IQ in Jamaica

Over at Human Varieties, Jason Malloy gives a seminar on the the difficulties and methods of calculating the average IQ for a single country. He works through two dozen scientific papers involving IQ in Jamaica, a small English-speaking country with a not undeveloped academic infrastructure. 

Many of the IQ scores come from studies of social science interventions, where the test group are a few dozen disadvantaged people with problems and they are compared to a control group of (hopefully) representative Jamaicans. Other IQ tests were done on advantaged populations (e.g., college students, perhaps people in Montego Bay rather than in the Government Yard in Trenchtown, that sort of thing). Jason concludes:
There is no One True Way to do this, and different methods will have different limitations. An average of all the scores will include many samples that were deliberately chosen for health problems (The median IQ of all the samples in the table is 75). I’ve rated the samples for quality to help limit the influence of less representative test groups. 18 of the 41 samples were disadvantaged, 5 of the samples were advantaged, and 18 were reasonably representative. The median IQ of the disadvantaged samples was 66, while the median IQ of the advantaged samples was 87. 
The median of 18 reasonably representative samples gives us an IQ of 80 for Jamaica. This is also consistent with Samms-Vaughan (2005 ), one of the more recent and methodologically robust studies, which shows an average IQ of about 81.

So that's quite a bit higher than the 72 Richard Lynn came up with 11 years ago in IQ and the Wealth of Nations based on one study. (Malloy discusses the problems Lynn ran into). As I pointed out in my review in 2002, Lynn's low scores for black countries suggested the importance of nurture, not just nature in determining average IQ. Since African-Americans average about 85 and they are about 80% black, then this suggests that environmental forces are holding down black IQs in the third world. 

On the other hand, reanalysis over the last decade has tended to come up with somewhat higher scores, which, paradoxically, tend to lessen the likely power of nurture on IQ. 

On the third hand, Jamaica is not a dirt poor country: in nurture terms, it's healthy enough, rich enough, and smart enough to do whatever it is that helps a country win Olympic sprinting medals.

It would be interesting to see whether there's enough research on the small island of Barbados to come up with a reliable IQ comparison to Jamaica. There has always been a stereotype of Barbados as more educated and genteel than Jamaica, but does it show up in the data?

41 comments:

Aging Hag said...

Slight O/T, Barbados has a small but significant white minority. The business elite of Barbados is white, and of that, a small but significant minority is descended from "Red Legs", British indentured servants who were "Barbado'ed" in the 17th century. Some live in abject poverty, but some became rich.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hoq3TjTw1BA

One of Barbados's biggest gadflies is Richard Goddard. He's a big environmentalist.

JayMan said...

Sounds about right. I'm several standard deviations above the Jamaica mean.

But as my family indicates, Jamaica is not precisely representative of a Black African population as it has a not trivial amount of European, Chinese, and Indian blood in the mix.

Leander said...

Its the ganja, rude boy

Jessup said...

"that's quite a bit higher than the 72 Richard Lynn came up with 11 years ago"

Which corresponds to industrialization and economic achievement.

"On the other hand, reanalysis over the last decade has tended to come up with somewhat higher scores, which, paradoxically, tend to lessen the likely power of nurture on IQ."

How does higher scores in the last decade reinforce the nature hypothesis exactly? evolution changes over thousands of years not in a single generation.

Anonymous said...

American blacks benefitted from the combination of white admixture combined with powerful upselection as the smarter blacks had more children. However, since the LBJ Great Society era the opposite has occurred: stupider and lazier blacks have many more children than smart ones as welfare mothers crank them out. I think that the black underclass has lost probably five to seven points since the mid-60s.

Anonymous said...

"Interestingly, this IQ increase has coincided with a spectacular increase in crime among these British-born Jamaicans. "


http://robertlindsay.wordpress.com/2011/01/19/black-iq-gains-in-britain-kenya-and-dominica/

Anonymous said...

Since the late 1960's Canada has been inundated with Jamaican blacks. I believe fully half of all blacks living In Canada today, are Jamaican immigrants or their born in Canada children. They have caused a huge (and very violent) crime wave in what was once very peaceful cities in English Canada (just in the past few weeks here in Toronto, four 15 year old Jamaicans were killed by other black teenagers). They have done much the same thing in England. I believe in 2008 Jamaica had the highest murder rate in the world. In my view, based on a lifetime of experience working and interacting with them, they are among the least intelligent and most beliggerent, obtuse, hostile people I have ever encountered. If there were just one single black immigrant group I could remove from the country it would be them.

ben tillman said...

But as my family indicates, Jamaica is not precisely representative of a Black African population as it has a not trivial amount of European, Chinese, and Indian blood in the mix.

And a lot more Jewish blood in the mix:

http://www.cjnews.com/node/89025

"The many Cohens and Levys in the Jamaican phone books may not be practicing Jews, though they most likely recognize that they may be descendants of Sephardic Jews who settled there after fleeing the Spanish Inquisition.

"The story begins in 1502 with the fourth and final voyage of Christopher Columbus, likely the son of Converso Jews, who shipwrecked on what came to be known as the Jewel of the Caribbean. (Columbus first visited Jamaica on his second voyage, in 1494.) Spanish monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand granted the island to Columbus and his descendants, and there were many Conversos in Jamaica during Spanish rule, living relatively free of the clutches of the Inquisition."

Anonymous said...

"How does higher scores in the last decade reinforce the nature hypothesis exactly?"

You missed the point. The new, higher IQ number for Jamaica is based on more studies than Lynn's and is therefore probably more reliable.

If Jamaica's average IQ is 80 (rather than 72) and the African-American average IQ is 85, then it suggests that the vastly better "nurturing" environment of the United States has done little to increase black IQs.

Anonymous said...

"But as my family indicates, Jamaica is not precisely representative of a Black African population as it has a not trivial amount of European, Chinese, and Indian blood in the mix."

The typical Jamaican looks nothing like they're that mixed.

Anonymous said...

I remember reading somewhere that Brbadoes and Jamaica were settled by completely different tribes of African slaves.
Barbadoes was Britain's first tropical colony. Black Barbadians tend to be small, squat inoffensive folk, apparently desnded form a west African coastal tribe. Jamaicans, on the other hand, are desnded from all sorts of west African tribes of dubious origin, as Jamaica was a far more capitalistic driven colony than the parochial Barbados.

Jessup said...

I guess that's were the fundamental rift of our world view begins.

in that you would describe the United States in any time in history as of being of a "nurturing environment" for black folks.

Anonymous said...

in that you would describe the United States in any time in history as of being of a "nurturing environment" for black folks.

Then find me a place on this planet that IS a nurturing environment for blacks . . . . and let's check out THEIR average intelligent quotients. I have a few predictions on what we'll discover . . .

Big Bill said...

"I guess that's where the fundamental rift of our world view begins"

Why world your "fundamental rift" "begin" there? If it is "fundamental", surely there are dozens of other differences much greater than this.

Please tell us where your blog is so we can go visit you there.

Big Bill said...

"But as my family indicates, Jamaica is not precisely representative of a Black African population as it has a not trivial amount of European, Chinese, and Indian blood in the mix."

One of the fascinating things about the Caribbean is the fluidity of racial definitions. In many places, Rhianna and Beyonce and Halle colored people are called (and call themselves) "white" ... at least until they get to the USA, when they discover that "black" is much more beneficial.

It is not "racist" of them to call themselves "white" and to put on airs, however. It is merely "colorist". "Colorism" is the term American blacks use to describe "racism" when practiced by blacks with an admixture of white blood such as the "whites" in Barbados.

peterike said...

So I guess all those little well groomed black kids dressed up in their cute school uniforms -- a staple shot in every Jamaican tourism commercial ever -- isn't doing all that much. But then, that's probably only the upper crust anyway.

La la la lalala, Montego Bay!

Harry Baldwin said...

I believe in 2008 Jamaica had the highest murder rate in the world. In my view, based on a lifetime of experience working and interacting with them, they are among the least intelligent and most beliggerent, obtuse, hostile people I have ever encountered.

I don't know, that just doesn't jibe with those Jamaica tourism commercials where they sing "One Heart, One Love" and talk about how my heart and soul will be changed by the warm, gentle people.

Jonathan Silber said...

An I.Q. of 72 would categorize the average Jamaican as, in old-school terminology, an imbecile or a moron.

Nelson said...

These are interesting findings; it'll be interesting to see if Lynn's hypothesized average IQs for Caribbean nations all turn out to be underestimates. As one interested in Hispanic/Caribbean HBD, I'll keep my eye on Malloy's future findings...

@JayMan: Not surprising when you consider how diverse Caribbean ancestors actually were (from the Taíno, Island Caribs, and other Amerindian groups to Africans to Sephardic Jews and even some East Asians)!

@Anonymous 11:27 PM: Not necessarily, since blacks of Jamaican descent aren't representative of all U.S. blacks. Now, if the average Black IQ of all native populations turned out to be 80, you'd have a point. Interestingly, in the late Rushton and Jensen's 30 years paper, they found that environmental factors shrunk the U.S. Black-White IQ gap by a third (or 5 IQ points; perhaps a difference of 5 points between average U.S. Black IQ and average non-U.S. Black IQ isn't too far-fetched)...

@Jessup: Great point! Though I believe "nurturing" in this context involves education and similar interventions some cats think modulate IQ (think all the hoopla on "achievement gaps")...

Jonathan Silber said...

Could not the supposedly higher I.Q. of the average black American, in comparison with the average black Jamaican, be accounted for not by superior nurture, but simply by the greater admixture of white blood?

Anonymous said...

I guess that's were the fundamental rift of our world view begins.

in that you would describe the United States in any time in history as of being of a "nurturing environment" for black folks.


Something in the US environment causes American blacks to have IQs several points higher than their relatives elsewhere. If that's not a "nurturing environment", what would you call it?

Cennbeorc

Insightful said...

Here’s something to consider, it was the Barbadians who introduced ‘chattel’ slavery to the United States when they settled the Carolinas during the 1600s. Although Virginia brought in the first blacks to the continent (1619), they were more like indentured servants in the early years. A slave culture only gradually developed there in the Chesapeake and was comparatively milder. But blame the Barbadians for creating the mainland plantation economy that eventually spread west to the rest of the Deep South.

Anonymous said...

"If Jamaica's average IQ is 80 (rather than 72) and the African-American average IQ is 85, then it suggests that the vastly better "nurturing" environment of the United States has done little to increase black IQs."

The actual American average for blacks is 82. It has been customary to round it up. This has been mentioned here before.

pat said...

I think most people just don't understand how IQ and the normal curve work. Lots of commenters on these kind of blogs think an IQ score is some kind of percentage. Let me suggest another way to think about this issue.

W.E.B. Dubois coined the term "the talented tenth". Other social theorists think that only the top one percent truly matter. They think that all the real contributions to a society are created by only the top people.

Let's say they're right. Let's say the IQ figure of note is 130. That's two standard deviations above the white mean but three above the black. That means that there will be something like 20 times as many of these talented whites as talented blacks - if the populations were equal.

This is a staggering difference. Fifteen IQ points isn't just a 15% difference but more like a 2,000% difference.

An IQ of 130 is about what we expect in Presidents, CEOs, and top inventors, lawyers and novelists. This is about what you need to get a doctorate in any real discipline. More brains yet would be welcomed in many fields but for most high positions an IQ 130 is plenty.

The 99 percentile IQ is about 135. 130 is about the 98 percentile. That means such a person is the "smartest man in the room" when the room holds fifty people.

In America there about five million whites who have IQs at or above 130. But there are only about 50,000 blacks that smart. That's a difference of a hundred times. The white population has 10,000% more smart guys that the black.

Similarly if Jamaica really has an population IQ of only 80 they won't be able to produce any really capable people.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

Big Bill, Halle, Beyonce and Rhianna are neither black nor white, but part of a racial group with ALL the advantages and NONE of the disadvantages of either, called Piece of A$$.

Marc B said...

"Since African-Americans average about 85 and they are about 80% black, then this suggests that environmental forces are holding down black IQs in the third world."

Or that African Americans are beneficiaries of a commensurate increase in IQ to go along with their 20% White (on average) admixture.

alonzo portfolio said...

United States in any time in history as of being of a "nurturing environment" for black folks

Look at it this way: in your entire life, have you ever heard a single white person say to any black, "look, why don't you start speaking standard English?" Why wouldn't you consider blacks to be "nurtured" (coddled) given uniform immunity to such a reasonable demand?

Anonymous said...

"..in that you would describe the United States in any time in history as of being of a "nurturing environment" of black folks.

Yeah sure, unlike the nurturing environment of Haiti, Somalia, Ethiopia, or Idi Amin's Uganda. Or a hundred other places.

Anonymous said...

Harry Baldwin said...

"I don't know, that just doesn't jibe with those Jamaican tourism commercials where they sing "One heart, One love", and talk about how my heart and soul will be changed by the warm and gentle people".

I am not sure if you are serious or sarcastic. You could go looking for those "warm and gentle" people here in Toronto's immigration created Jane and Finch area. Why not go for a stroll alone at night and see for yourself? Or you could go to "Jamaica, Mon", and get the real experience for yourself. There were 1,680 REPORTED murders in Jamaica in 2009 alone. For an island with only a few million people this is incredible. (Source. Jamaica Observer Friday January 8 2010.)

ogunsiron said...

albertosaurus said:

Similarly if Jamaica really has an population IQ of only 80 they won't be able to produce any really capable people.

Albertosaurus
===
You may confidently say that jamaica can't produce proportionately as many geniuses as (insert higher IQ population here) but I would be wary of declaring that black jamaica can't produce even one black genius.

This man

https://www.google.ca/search?q=clifford+johnson+string+theory&rlz=1C1CHKW_en-gbCA473CA478&aq=0&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=fr&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=ykI1UY-sFubOyAHAkYGYAQ&biw=1170&bih=579&sei=90I1UdTbJqXGygG0oYGQAQ

is a bona fide string theorist and he's from one the tiny caribbean islands (montserrat) that are much smaller than Jamaica. As you can see, he certainly looks mostly black african and he's a real physicist.

Please note that he got his degrees in England.
===
@jayman :
While there of course are many people of mixed background in Jamaica, it seems to me that, just like in haiti, the vast majority of the population is fully or overwhelmingly black african.

===
To give you an ethnic haitian perspective, people like Rihanna and Beyoncé would belong to the mulatto group because they look like an obvious mix between black and white. In haiti at least, the whites are the actual whites, the arabs ( levantines) and the very light skinned mulattoes from the german, french, danish descended families. I've heard that there was a small jewish community in haiti at some point but that it was absorbed into the local palestinian community(!!!). It sounds unbelievable so I'd have to check that again.

Anonymous said...

But there are only about 50,000 blacks that smart (130 IQ)

Still useful to note that that means fifty *thousand* blacks who are more intelligent than 98% of all whites, including (statistically) almost every commenter here (including me).

Jonathan Silber said...

I'd like to know how many of those fifty thousand Jamaicans who are calculated to have I.Q.s of 135 or more are black, and how many are of other races.

And I'd like to see a list of the accomplishments of the black Jamaicans of genius and near-genius I.Q.

Anonymous said...

"But there are only about 50,000 blacks that smart (130 IQ)

Still useful to note that that means fifty *thousand* blacks who are more intelligent than 98% of all whites, including (statistically) almost every commenter here (including me)."

we all know this. In the larger scheme of things--urban blight, crme stas, street harrassment, integrated scools and shopping malls, just about place where blacks become more than an insignificant minority--it just makes no difference that about one is 5000 has an iq higher than most whites.

Anonymous said...

"An IQ of 130 is about what we expect in Presidents, CEOs, and top inventors, lawyers and novelists. This is about what you need to get a doctorate in any real discipline. More brains yet would be welcomed in many fields but for most high positions an IQ 130 is plenty.

The 99 percentile IQ is about 135. 130 is about the 98 percentile. That means such a person is the "smartest man in the room" when the room holds fifty people."

my IQ was tested at 138 when I was 24, and I haven't achieved didly. Nevertheless, I wouldn't trade it away.
Even if there is high intelligence there is not necessarily driveor special talent. But, yes, you do need the intellignece first anf foremost.
As far only the upper 1% mattering, all giant achievers stand on the shoulders of the average. None spring from a vacuum. An average/high average population in needed to build an intellectual forum, provide the tools, the maintenance, the improvements, etc.

james wilson said...

The society of Jamaica is strictly self-regulated by degrees of blackness, and that is reflected in social status, employment, and wealth. Eric Holder is but one example. To marry into a higher caste family one must first pass the paper bag test. It is understood very well in mulatto run societies that skin color represents something more substantial than merely an undeserved advantage. It may even be felt more acutely in that type of society than it is in ours, where DWL have inured blacks to truth and consequences.

Anthony said...



CEOs (and Presidents) have way more ambition and drive than the average person, but don't need to be *that* much smarter. Lawyers need to be about 115-120 to get into law school and pass the bar.

George W Bush has an IQ of about 125, iirc. (Kerry the same or slightly lower.) Obama may be closer to 130; Clinton almost definitely is (White trash Rhodes scholar - no real hand up there). Nixon was probably around 135-140. I'd guess Reagan at 120-125.

In finance, the guys on the trading floor and the people doing the actual computer and financial work are probably smarter than the CEO (unless he's a former floor trader).

If there was an AQ (ambition), you'd see most Presidents and most big-company CEOs who didn't inherit the job out around 150+ AQ. That's what makes them really different from other smart people, not so much a greater degree of smarts.

Aging Hag said...

Re: Barbados and IQ, I got their average IQ as 78. My source..why, Steve Sailer! (Quoting Richard Lynn.)

http://www.vdare.com/articles/a-few-thoughts-on-iq-and-the-wealth-of-nations

(But a respectable GDP purchasing power.)

Every Bajan I've ever met loathes and despises Jamaica and Jamaicans.

I've never been to either country but I've heard nice things about Barbados.

Why is Barbados so much nicer than Jamaica? Is it really as simple as having a larger and more influential white minority?

Anonymous said...

Reply to Aging Hag said...

"Why is Barbados so much nicer than Jamaica? Is it really as simple as having a larger and more influential white minority?"

It could very well be.

By far the worst country in the whole area is Haiti, which is just about 100% black. The best by far, is Bermuda, which is about 35% white. Then there is sub-Saharan Africa. The one and only country that historically had any significant numbers of whites was South Africa. It was incomparably more advanced then all the other black countries on the continent. As whites continue to flee, I imagine it will revert to the mean for black African countries.

Anonymous said...

"Every Bajan I've ever met loathes and despises Jamaica and Jamaicans".

Not just Bajans. Jamaicans are pretty much despised all across the West Indies. I know a woman from Trinidad and she talks about Jamaicans in language that would shame a klansman.

Anonymous said...

Blacks have a smaller frontal lobe. They aren't as smart. Deal with it.

Ronald J Riley said...

I am an independent inventor and entrepreneur and the founder of the Professional Inventors Alliance. I have had contact with many top inventors, including Nobel and Inventors Hall of Fame inductees.

My IQ is in the mid 170 range. I am also Asperger, something which seems to run in our family.

I have really enjoyed reading this discussion and while I am late to weigh in I hope this might be useful.

As a young man I greatly valued IQ and thought that on balance smarter people should be better people all around because they are aware of so much more than others.

It turned out (forty years later) that smart does not mean that people are more ethical, or more empathic and so on.

As pointed out here, I have known a handful of pretty smart blacks, but it is a very small number compared to other groups.

There is also the issue of drive which affects rather or not inventors and business people succeed. It is not uncommon for the smartest people to not fare well on their own, while the right partnership often brings out the best of all.

I decided to write here because I very much like to see all people regardless of race. But, in order for people to succeed they need to understand their strengths and weaknesses, to accept what they may be and to work hard to either overcome those or to partner with others who excel in those areas.

In the end, people have to want to improve their lot in life, you can lead them to water but cannot make them drink.