March 27, 2010

IQs by state in 1960

Interestingly, Texas high school students were outscoring California high school students way back in 1960, just as Texan 8th graders consistently beat Californian 8th graders on the National Assessment of Educational Progress in recent years.

After Sputnik, the federal government funded in 1960 a vast survey of 15-year-olds' "aptitudes and achievements" called Project TALENT. Across the country in over 1300 high schools, five percent of all high school students, plus a bunch of dropouts they rounded up, took two dozen tests over four half-days.

They gave almost 400,000 students two dozen different tests. This was an era when psychometricians loved to give a wide variety of tests -- think of in The Right Stuff how the scientists loved to try out anything they could think of on the applicants for astronaut training. Since then, testing has tended to narrow as the dominance of the g-Factor has shown that two days worth of testing is redundant.

The overall scores would be a combination of aptitude and achievement, so not exactly like IQ, but no doubt reasonably well-correlated with IQ.

The data are available upon request.

I suspect that more Mexican-American 15-year-olds were enrolled in high school in California than in Texas in 1960, so this might be a biasing factor. Yet, both states were predominantly white in 1960.

One thing to keep in mind is that Project TALENT mostly measured students who were born during the Baby Bust of WWII rather than the famous Baby Boomers, the first of whom were 14 in 1960.

The fact that Texans scored about 1/10th of a standard deviation above Californians in 1960 suggests to me that the more famous accomplishments of Californians in science and technology (e.g., aeronautics) in the first half of the 20th Century were rather narrowly based demographically. In contrast, perhaps Texas's oil industry, which began in 1901 and sped up with the huge find in 1930, brought in to Texas a broad influx of technically skilled mechanics, engineers, and entrepreneurs, especially during the Depression. Anyway, it's interesting that as far back as 1960, there wasn't much evidence in Texas for the educational lassitude that afflicted much of the South outside of Virginia.

Here's something about Project TALENT that I posted in 2004:
IQs by State, 1960 -- You probably remember the notorious "Democratic states have higher IQs" hoax from last May. Well, here, thanks to Prof. Henry Harpending of the U. of Utah anthropology dept., might be the closest thing to a national sample of IQ scores ever: the Project Talent database of 366,000 9th-12th grade students. Unfortunately, it is 44 years years old. Nonetheless, it correlates reasonably with 2003 NAEP 8th grade achievement test scores (here are the 2003 scores). As you can see, in this list of kids' IQs back in 1960, of the top 10 smartest states, in 2000, Bush and Gore each won five. So, we're back to my original conclusion: red states and blue states are similar in average IQ, as are, on average, Republican and Democratic voters.

Some caveats: These IQ scores are set with the national mean of the 366,000 high school students equal to 100 and the standard deviation set to 15. But, keep in mind that we are only beginning to explore this huge database, so take everything with a grain of salt. [These scores are for all students across all races.]

Montana 104.9
New Hampshire 104.5
Connecticut 104.3
Idaho 104.3
Nevada 103.8
Massachusetts 103.7
Minnesota 103.2
Iowa 103.2
Virginia 103.1
Oregon 102.7
Washington 102.7
New Jersey 102.6
New York 102.5
Michigan 102.4
Kansas 102.2
Ohio 101.9
North Dakota 101.8
Illinois 101.7
Texas 101.6
Missouri 101.4
Vermont 101.3
Oklahoma 101.1
Utah 101.0
Colorado 100.8
Wyoming 100.6
Wisconsin 100.5
Maine 100.4
Nebraska 100.4
California 100.1
Pennsylvania 99.9
Hawaii 98.9
New Mexico 98.9
Delaware 98.8
Indiana 98.4
Rhode Island 98.1
Florida 97.4
Arizona 97.4
Maryland 97.2
Mississippi 96.9
Tennessee 96.6
West Virginia 95.6
Kentucky 94.2
Alabama 93.4
North Carolina 92.7
Louisiana 91.9
Georgia 91.5
Arkansas 89.1

There weren't adequate sample sizes from Alaska, Washington DC, and South Carolina, and I excluded South Dakota because the result was too different from North Dakota. (I think something might be confused about both South Carolina and South Dakota -- I'll try to find out more.)

Harpending also looked at whites only data (unfortunately, the majority of participants don't have a race recorded) with the smartest whites (which I suspect is all that white liberals care about -- feeling smarter than white conservatives) were (in descending order): Connecticut, Montana, Nevada (I bet that's not true anymore!), Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Virginia. The dumbest whites were in (in descending order): Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Kentucky.

The overall results by state in 1960 follow Daniel Patrick Moynihan's insight that the easiest way to improve social indicators in your state is to jack up your entire state, slide wheels under it, and haul it north up close to the Canadian border.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

March 25, 2010

What have we learned?

I've been following education statistics since the summer before my freshman year in high school when I started preparing for the 1972-73 debate topic:
Resolved: That governmental financial support for all public and secondary education in the United States be provided exclusively by the federal government.

What has been learned over those 38 years?

By way of contrast, I'd like to cite what Bill James learned about baseball in his first dozen years of statistical research:
A Bill James Primer
Extracted from The Bill James Baseball Abstract 1988

"What I wanted to write about... is a very basic question. Of all the studies I have done over the last 12 years, what have I learned? What is the relevance of sabermetric knowledge to the decision making process of a team? If I were employed by a major-league team, what are the basic things that I know from the research I have done which would be of use to me in helping that team?"

1. Minor league batting statistics will predict major league batting performance with essentially the same reliability as previous major league statistics.
2. Talent in baseball is not normally distributed. It is a pyramid. For every player who is 10 percent above the average player, there are probably twenty players who are 10 pecent below average.
3. What a player hits in one ballpark may be radically different from what he would hit in another.
4. Ballplayers, as a group, reach their peak value much earlier and decline much more rapidly than people believe.
5. Players taken in the June draft coming out of college (or with at least two years of college) perform dramatically better than players drafted out of high school.
6. The chance of getting a good player with a high draft pick is substantial enough that it is clearly a disastrous strategy to give up a first round draft choice to sign a mediocre free agent. (see note #1)
7. A power pitcher has a dramatically higher expectation for future wins than does a finesse pitcher of the same age and ability.
8. Single season won-lost records have almost no value as an indicator of a pitcher's contribution to a team.
9. The largest variable determining how many runs a team will score is how many times they get their leadoff man on base.
10. A great deal of what is perceived as being pitching is in fact defense.
11. True shortage of talent almost never occurs at the left end of the defensive spectrum. (see note #2)
12. Rightward shifts along the defensive spectrum almost never work. (see note #2)
13. Our idea of what makes a team good on artificial turf is not supported by any research.
14. When a team improves sharply one season they will almost always decline in the next.
15. The platoon differential is real and virtually universal


1. Major league teams still must surrender choices in the amateur draft in exchange for signing free agents.
2. The defensive spectrum looks like this:
[ - - 1B - LF - RF - 3B - CF - 2B - SS - C - - ]
with the basic premise being that positions at the right end of the spectrum are more difficult than the positions at the left end of the spectrum. Players can generally move from right to left along the specturm successfully during their careers.

It took James another decade and a half to get that baseball job he was advertising for here, but this was pretty decent start.

So, what have we learned from school statistics?

The overwhelming finding, going back to James S. Coleman's 1966 report funded by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is that race matters in school performance. Persistently large racial gaps are the single most obvious fact about educational performance.

But making the racial gaps go away is also the highest priority of educational research, which debilitates the research. Wishful thinking is preferred.

But, once we adjust for race, what have we learned over the years about what works in education? Can we make up a list for education research like James made up for baseball?

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Are white Californians dumber than white Texans?

On the four sections of the 2009 federal National Assessment of Educational Progress tests (4th and 8th grade Reading and Math), non-Hispanic white public school students in Texas rank an average of 7th in the country, while their non-Hispanic white equivalents in California rank an average of 32nd.

That's a big difference between the two most populous states in the country.

What are the reasons?

P.S., Your Lying Eyes has a good post, Achievement Gap Grows with Achievement, on how the white-black gaps within states tend to get larger the higher the white scores. Thus, New Jersey has the highest white reading score and the largest white-black gap.

Two states that stand out are Wisconsin, where blacks just do badly without whites doing particularly well, and Texas, where, at least on math, whites score well but the white-black is only middling due to blacks doing relatively well. (Hispanics also score well on math in Texas. Does Texas just bribe kids into trying really hard on the NAEP, or are they actually doing something right with teaching math in Texas?)

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Is your state adding value?

Americans have devoted an enormous amount of effort over the centuries to devising useful baseball statistics. In recent years, Americans have talked a lot about devising useful educational statistics.

For example, I've pointed out a million times over the last decade that it doesn't make much sense to judge teachers, schools, or colleges by their students' test scores. Most of the time, all you are doing is determining which kids were smarter to start with. Logically, it makes more sense to judge their "value added" by comparing how the students score now to how they scored in the past before the people or institutions being measured got their mitts on the students.

Over the last few years, everybody who is anybody in education -- Bill Gates, Arne Duncan, you name it -- has come around to this perspective (although they won't use the word "smarter").

A big problem, however, is that this value added idea remains almost wholly theoretical because almost none of the prominent educational statistics are published in value added form.

In contrast, when Bill James was pointing out 30 years ago that Batting Average, traditionally the most prestigious hitting statistic (the guy with the highest BA was crowned "Batting Champion"), wasn't as good a measure of hitting contribution as Slugging Average plus On-Base Percentage, he could show you what he meant using real numbers that were available to everybody, even if you had to calculate them yourself from other, more widely published statistics.

Readers would say, "Yeah, he's right. For example, Matty Alou (career batting average .307, but slugging average .381 and on-base percentage .345) wasn't anywhere near as good as Mickey Mantle (career batting average only .298, but slugging average .557 and on-base percentage .421). If you add on-base percentage and slugging average together to get "OPS," then Mickey had a .977 while Matty only had .726. And that sounds about right. Mickey was awesome, but it didn't always show up in his traditional statistics. Now, we've finally got a statistic that matches up with what we all could see from watching lots of Yankee games."

On the other hand, other innovative baseball statistics from that era have faded because they didn't seem to work as well in practice as in theory. Readers would be rightly skeptical that Glenn Hubbard and Roy Smalley Jr. really were all time greats, as these complicated formulas said they were.

A couple of years ago, Audacious Epigone and I stumbled upon a potentially promising fluke in the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress test scores by state. Since these tests are given every two years to representative samples of fourth and eighth graders, then you ought to be able to roughly estimate how much value the public schools in each state have added from 4th grade to 8th grade by comparing, say, a state's 2009 8th grade scores to that state's 2005 4th grade scores.

Granted, people move in and out of states, but if you just look at the scores for non-Hispanic whites, you can cut down the effect of demographic change to what might be a manageable level.

So, how to display this data in a semi-usable form? In the following table, I've put the Rank of each state. For example, in NAEP 4th Grade Reading scores in 2005, white public school students in Alabama ranked 48th (out of 52 -- the 50 states plus D.C. and the Department of Defense schools for the children of military personnel). By 2009, this cohort of Alabamans was up to 47th in 8th Grade Reading. That's a Change in Rank of +1. Woo-hoo!

In contrast, in Math, Alabama's 4th Graders were 50th in 2005 and the state's 8th Graders were 50th in 2009, so that's a Change in Rank for Math of zero.

There are measures that are better for some purposes than Rank, but, admit it, ranking all the states is more interesting than using standard deviations or whatever.

A new idea is embodied in the last column, which reports the Difference in Rank between Math and Reading scores for 8th Graders in 2009. Because Alabama was 47th in Reading in 2009, but only 50th in Math in 2009, it gets a Difference in Rank of -3. Boo-hoo ...

What's the point of this last measure?

There's a fair amount of evidence that schools have more impact on Math performance than Reading performance. For example, math scores on a variety of tests have gone up some since hitting rock bottom during the Seventies (in most of America outside of Berkeley, the Seventies were when the Sixties actually happened). In contrast, reading and verbal scores have staggered around despite a huge amount of effort to raise them.

Why have math scores proven more open to improvement by schools than reading scores? One reason probably is that because kids only spend about 1/5th of their waking hours in school. And almost nobody does math outside of school, but some kids read outside of school. So, if you, say, double the amount of time spent in school on math, then you are increasing the total amount of time kids are spending doing math by about 98%. But if you double the amount of time spent on reading in school, there are some rotten stinker kids who read for fun in their free time, and thus you aren't doing much for them in terms of total hours devoted to reading.

Not surprisingly, a decade of the No Child Left Behind act, which tells states to hammer on math and reading and don't worry about that arty stuff like history and science, has seen continued slow improvements in math, but not much in reading -- except at the bottom (i.e., the kids who don't read outside school).

So, by 8th grade, Reading scores would likely be a rough measure of IQ crossed with bookishness (personality and culture). In contrast, 8th Grade Math scores are more amenable to alteration by schools since kids aren't waiting in line to buy Harry Potter and the Lowest Common Denominator. So, the idea behind the final column is to compare rank on 8th Grade Math to rank on 8th Grade Reading. A positive number means your state has a better (lower) rank on Math than on Reading, which might reflect relatively well on your public schools given the raw materials it has to work with relative to other states.

For example, on the NAEP, Texas ranks 11th among white 8th graders in Reading, which is pretty good for such a huge state. But, it ranks a very impressive 4th among white 8th graders in Math, for a Difference in Ranking score of +7. This suggests Texas is doing something with math that's worth checking into. Maybe they are just teaching to the test, but this is the NAEP, which isn't a high-stakes test. And there are worse things than teaching to the test. (Whatever they are doing, they are starting young, because Texas ranks 2nd in Math for white 4th Graders.)

So, here is this huge table:

NAEP Read Read Read Chg Math Math Math Chg Math-Read
Public 4th 8th 4th-8th 4th 8th 4th-8th 8th-8th
White 2005 2009 09-05 2005 2009 09-05 09-09

Rank Rank Chg in Rnk Rank Rank Chg in Rnk Dif in Rnk
Alabama 48 47 +1 50 50 +0 -3
Alaska 37 31 +6 31 21 +10 +10
Arizona 41 29 +12 36 27 +9 +2
Arkansas 34 46 -12 37 44 -7 +2
California 32 33 -1 25 36 -11 -3
Colorado 9 9 0 13 6 7 +3
Connecticut 4 2 +2 8 7 +1 -5
Delaware 3 14 -11 11 17 -6 -3
DC 1
+1 1
+1 0
DoDEA 8 5 +3 21 16 +5 -11
Florida 16 21 -5 14 37 -23 -16
Georgia 27 38 -11 33 34 -1 +4
Hawaii 40 45 -5 40 48 -8 -3
Idaho 30 35 -5 29 26 3 +9
Illinois 13 10 +3 28 18 +10 -8
Indiana 43 34 +9 26 29 +-3 +5
Iowa 42 41 +1 39 41 +-2 0
Kansas 33 19 +14 10 15 +-5 +4
Kentucky 46 37 +9 51 49 +2 -12
Louisiana 45 51 -6 41 45 -4 +6
Maine 36 39 -3 42 39 3 0
Maryland 7 3 +4 7 2 +5 +1
Massachusetts 2 4 -2 3 1 2 +3
Michigan 28 40 -12 22 42 -20 -2
Minnesota 12 7 +5 4 5 +-1 +2
Mississippi 49 48 +1 48 51 +-3 -3
Missouri 26 27 -1 45 32 13 -5
Montana 21 16 +5 35 10 +25 +6
Nebraska 18 20 -2 30 28 2 -8
Nevada 51 49 +2 44 40 +4 +9
New Hampshire 19 24 -5 20 23 -3 +1
New Jersey 6 1 +5 5 3 +2 -2
New Mexico 35 25 +10 49 38 +11 -13
New York 10 8 +2 16 19 +-3 -11
North Carolina 22 28 -6 6 8 -2 +20
North Dakota 20 22 -2 24 9 15 +13
Ohio 14 12 +2 12 30 +-18 -18
Oklahoma 50 50 0 46 46 0 +4
Oregon 44 36 +8 34 31 +3 +5
Pennsylvania 15 6 +9 17 14 +3 -8
Rhode Island 39 43 -4 43 43 0 0
South Carolina 38 44 -6 9 24 -15 +20
South Dakota 29 13 +16 23 12 +11 +1
Tennessee 47 42 +5 47 47 +0 -5
Texas 11 11 0 2 4 -2 +7
Utah 31 30 +1 38 33 +5 -3
Vermont 24 18 +6 32 22 +10 -4
Virginia 5 17 -12 15 20 -5 -3
Washington 17 15 +2 19 11 +8 +4
West Virginia 52 52 0 52 52 0 0
Wisconsin 23 26 -3 18 13 5 +13
Wyoming 25 32 -7 27 35 -8 -3
NAEP Read Read Read Chg Math Math Math Chg Math-Read
Public 4th 8th 4th-8th 4th 8th 4th-8th 8th-8th
White 2005 2009 09-05 2005 2009 09-05 09-09

Rank Rank Chg in Rnk Rank Rank Chg in Rnk Dif in Rnk

As J.K. Simmons asks at the end of Burn After Reading, "What did we learn?"

I'm not terribly sure, either. Who knows enough about what goes on within the educational establishments of all the states to know whether these numbers make sense?

But, at least we have some value added numbers and aren't just still talking about how valuable they'd be if we ever got around to getting any.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

March 24, 2010

NAEP 2009 Reading Scores: USA Still Not on Track for 100% Proficiency by 2014

Almost a decade ago, President Bush and Senator Kennedy got together and pushed through the No Child Left Behind act, which mandated that every single child in America would score "Proficient" or "Advanced" on reading and writing by 2013-2014, and told the states to concoct, administer, and grade their own tests to demonstrate this (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

Some states got the hint, such as Mississippi, which soon reported that, even with a couple of years left on its Five Year Plan for Educational Awesomeness, 89% of Mississippi 4th grade readers were already Proficient/Advanced. Whether the governor of Mississippi also invited President Bush and Senator Kennedy to float in state down the Mississippi and see all the thriving new schools that he had erected on the banks of that mighty river is lost in the mists of history.

Unfortunately, while Bush and Kennedy were at it, they forgot to abolish the federal National Assessment of Education Progress test, which has gone on reporting that reading test scores have just kept on keeping on. From today's Washington Post:
Reading scores stalled under 'no child' law, report finds

... progress nationwide has stalled despite huge instructional efforts launched under the No Child Left Behind law.

The 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress showed that fourth-grade scores for the nation's public schools stagnated after the law took effect in 2002, rose modestly in 2007, then flatlined. ...

The national picture for eighth-grade reading was largely the same: a slight uptick in performance since 2007 but no gain in the seven years when President George W. Bush's program for school reform was in high gear. ...

When Bush signed the law, hopes were high for a revolution in reading. Billions of dollars were spent, especially in early grades, to build fluency, decoding skills, vocabulary, comprehension and a love of books that would propel students in all subjects. The goal was to eliminate racial and ethnic achievement gaps. But Wednesday's report showed no great leaps for the nation and stubborn disparities in performance between white and black students, among others.

Another way to look at it is that we're actually doing pretty good. With demographic riptide running in the wrong direction, just staying in the same place is a tribute to a lot of hard work.

Other notes: the white-black gap in 4th grade reading scores is by far the largest in the most liberal jurisdiction, the District of Columbia. Nationwide, it's 25 points, but in DC it's 60 points. The next biggest white-black gaps for 4th graders are in Minnesota (35 points) and Wisconsin (35). The smallest white-black gaps are in West Virginia (12 points -- dumb whites), New Hampshire and Vermont (few blacks), and Pentagon-run schools (need a 92 IQ to enlist).

Indeed, DC has by far the highest scoring white kids (15 points ahead of Massachusetts). It's black students are no longer the lowest scoring, being four points ahead of Wisconsin. (The worst scoring black 4th graders are in the socially liberal Old Northwest: Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota. This is probably due in part to high welfare payments and easy eligibility requirements in the 1960s attracting the most feckless Southern blacks.)

Unfortunately, there aren't enough white 8th graders in DC public schools for the NAEP to come up with an adequate sample size of white 8th graders in DC.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

For my Finnish readers

On a per capita basis, I seem to have more Finnish readers than American ones. From a press release by the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland:

The Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) together with its collaborators has compiled the Finnish Gene Atlas, which contains genome-wide gene marker data for more than 40,000 Finns. The first findings obtained with this collection, which is exceptionally extensive for Europe, pertain to determination of the origin of Finns.

Hundreds of thousands of gene markers make it possible to examine similarities in the genetic architecture of Finns and other European peoples. Use of the Atlas has revealed, for instance, that:

  • Finns are unique on the genetic map of Europe; we differ considerably both from Central Europeans and from our neighbours to the east.
  • Genetically, Finns have more in common with, for example, the Dutch or Russians living in the area of Murom, to the east of Moscow, than with our linguistic relations, the Hungarians; genetic closeness clearly follows geographic distance more closely than linguistic distance.
  • Owing to our settlement history, the genetic differences among Finns are great on both the east/west and north/south axes; the greater the geographic distance is, the greater the genetic differences are. In comparing the Finnish dialect areas, the greatest genetic differences are found between Finns of Southwest Finland and inhabitants of Kuusamo in Northeast Finland.
  • The linguistic link between Swedish-speaking Finns living in coastal areas and Swedes is also reflected in the greater genetic closeness of these two groups in comparison with Finnish speakers.
During 2010 the Finnish Gene Atlas will be supplemented with the first Finns whose whole genome will be fully sequenced.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Poker Playing Dogs

As we've discussed before, 19th Century dog breeders invented all sorts of highly useful breeds, while 20th Century dog breeders mostly conserved and ornamentalized existing breeds.

What kind of breeds would be useful in the 21st Century? Maybe somebody could breed a poker player's assistant, a dog with such a refined sense of smell and of human body language that he could tell when the other players were bluffing.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

March 23, 2010

"The Genius in All of Us"

Here's an excerpt from my new Taki's Magazine column
A widely-praised new book by David Shenk, The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About Genetics, Talent, and IQ Is Wrong attempts to “debunk the long-standing notion of genetic ‘giftedness.’” Instead, it manages to unconsciously exemplify how political correctness paradoxically rationalizes the growing elitism and dynasticism in American life.

One hero of The Genius in All of Us is Mozart. Not Wolfgang Amadeus, but Leopold, the composer’s father, who chose to “shift his ambitions away from his own unsatisfying career and onto his children.” Leopold made sure little Wolfie “had an entire family driving him to excel with a powerful blend of instruction, encouragement, and constant practice.”

The Genius in All of Us serves as a quasi-scientific pep talk for upper-middle class stage moms and sideline dads. Even the most ambitious modern parents sometimes doubt whether their precious progeny have what it takes genetically. Shenk reassures them, however, that new discoveries have disproved all that Bell Curve stuff. What matters instead is implacable willpower.

Besides, Shenk implies, you are not only pestering your kid so he can get a college scholarship, you are simultaneously fighting racism, genetic determinism, and eugenics! Heck, you’re being Green: “… human talent and intelligence are not permanently in short supply like fossil fuel, but potentially plentiful like wind power.”

Shenk endorses a rule of thumb that has become popular among political pundits such as David Brooks and motivational speakers such as Malcolm Gladwell: innate talent matters far less than putting in 10,000 hours of practice.

Indeed, in one sense, the 10,000-hour idea is empirically reasonable. In most highly competitive, highly compensated fields, vanishingly few make it to the top with less than the equivalent of five solid years learning their crafts.

Shenk admits that just because everybody who is a winner puts in 10,000 hours doesn’t mean everybody who puts in 10,000 hours will be a winner: see, your kid also has to practice the right way, making “continual skill improvement.”

That is a wonderfully unfalsifiable notion.

Read the whole thing there and comment upon it here.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

March 22, 2010

A Modest Proposal

In 1982, South Asian immigrant businessmen persuaded the Reagan Administration to reclassify Asian Indians from Caucasian to Asian so that they would be eligible for minority business development low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration and for breaks on federal contracting. (Hasidic Jews were given special privileges in 1982, as well.) According to a 2005 report by the Office of the Inspector General of the SBA: "In 1982, SBA designated “Asian Indian Americans” as a socially disadvantaged group."

The 2010 Census will likely reveal that of the 15 specified racial groups on the Census form, "Asian Indians" have the highest average incomes.

Wouldn't it be a right and fitting gesture for Indian-American groups to announce publicly (before the 2010 Census results are published) that they no longer need these economic breaks? "We'd like to thank the American people for their kindness in granting us these favors, but 28 years is enough. Therefore, we're requesting that we South Asians no longer get special treatment by the government."

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Can you game the Census form?

Of the eight questions on the typical 2010 Census form, two are about ethnicity and race:
NOTE: Please answer BOTH Questions 7 and 8.

7. Is Person 1 Spanish/Hispanic/Latino? Mark the "No" box if not Spanish/Hispanic/Latino.

_ No, not Spanish /Hispanic / Latino
_ Yes, Mexican, Mexican Am., Chicano
_ Yes, Puerto Rican
_ Yes, Cuban
_ Yes, other Spanish /Hispanic / Latino — Print group.

The Census Bureau's website helpfully explains:
Asked since 1970. The data collected in this question are needed by federal agencies to monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions, such as under the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act. State and local governments may use the data to help plan and administer bilingual programs for people of Hispanic origin.

The next question is:
8. What is Person 1’s race? Mark one or more races to indicate what this person considers himself/herself to be.

_ White
_ Black, African Am., or Negro
_ American Indian or Alaska Native — Print name of enrolled or principal tribe.
_ Asian Indian
_ Chinese
_ Filipino
_ Other Asian — Print race.
_ Japanese
_ Korean
_ Vietnamese
_ Native Hawaiian
_ Guamanian or Chamorro
_ Samoan
_ Other Pacific Islander — Print race.
_ Some other race — Print race.

The Census Bureau explains:
Asked since 1970. Race is key to implementing many federal laws and is needed to monitor compliance with the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act. State governments use the data to determine congressional, state and local voting districts. Race data are also used to assess fairness of employment practices, to monitor racial disparities in characteristics such as health and education and to plan and obtain funds for public services.

Two general forms of resistance to these questions have been advocated:

1. Idealistic -- Answer "Human Race" or "American Race" or leave the questions blank.

2. Cynical -- Identify yourself as a member of a legally protected minority even if you are not, or your claim is far-fetched (e.g., "I'm African-American because my ancestors left Africa around 50,000 years ago") in the hopes of legally entitling you to affirmative action benefits.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but both attempts are likely to be counterproductive. In general, the people who benefit from disparate impact / affirmative action have spent a lot more time thinking about how to rig the system in their favor than you have about how to game it in yours. They've anticipated your every move.

For example, during the 1990s, some individuals with parents of different races began a successful campaign to be allowed to check more than one race box on the Census form so that they wouldn't be forced to choose between their parents. The Census Bureau said okay to that, at which point, the race lobbies such as the NAACP went nuts because if the data was interpreted in a reasonable matter (e.g., assigning fractions based on how many boxes checked), then their quotas would be smaller. So, just before the 2000 Census, Bill Clinton announced that people could check more than one box, but only the non-white boxes would count for calculating the size of quotas and doing disparate impact calculations.

So, the organized pressure groups have thought about this a lot harder than you have.

For example, if you are a non-Hispanic white person who fills in his race as "Human" or "American," you have merely made the burden the government imposes on your family members via disparate impact lawsuits worse.

My understanding is that Census-like numbers are sometimes used to calculate the denominators in the EEOC's Four-Fifths Rule calculations, but not the numerators.

Just because you put down on the Census form that you are, say, "Guamanian or Chamorro" doesn't mean you will personally get the benefit of the "Guamanian or Chamorro" quota. There's no cybernetic connection between what you put down on the Census form and what shows up on your job application.

If you put down "Guamanian or Chamorro" on your job application, eventually some bureaucrat will take a look at you and say, "No, you are not." It doesn't do you any good to whine, "Yes, but I put down Guamanian or Chamorro on my 2010 Census form, and if I got away with it there, why can't I get away with it here?"

However, because you checked "Guamanian or Chamorro" on your Census form, many "Guamanian or Chamorro" quotas will be larger. So, you and your relatives (assuming they are not Guamanian or Chamorro) lose.

As far as I can tell, the best thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones is to answer these questions honestly. If you are white and non-Hispanic, and you put that down on the Census form, then the quotas for protected groups will be smaller than if you try to be clever and put down something else.

In a world of official and de facto disparate impact quotas, numbers count. And by diminishing the size of your group, you just make things worse for everybody in your group.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

What were they thinking?

From my new column:
Journalists always like to say they write "the first draft of history," but, really, there are three drafts. And it’s the middle one, in between Breaking News and History, where the worst distortions creep in. Between the raw feed and the history books, journalists quickly simplify the immense complexity of events into stock clich├ęs that can go unchallenged for decades. For example, by 1992 the press had rewritten the 1988 election around Willie Horton.

Likewise, it will probably take one to two generations before historians can cut through the rewrites to understand the fundamental dynamics of the last decade. Why did the Bush Administration waste eight years on Immigration, Invasion, and Indebtedness? Why did it encourage Mexicans to illegally immigrate to America by calling for amnesty? What was Karl Rove thinking when he tried and failed in four different years (2001, 2004, 2006, and 2007) to shove through amnesty and guest worker legislation?

With Rove’s boss, George W. Bush, the question is less of a puzzle. I suspect that minimizing the border between Mexico and America was Bush’s personal passion, while Rove just thought they were being clever.

Striking a deal with Mexico was traditional Bush family business, going back at least to 1960 when George H. W. Bush’s Zapata Off-Shore oil company formed a partnership with Jorge Diaz Serrano to sneak around Mexico’s ban on foreign involvement in its oil industry. (Diaz Serrano later became head of Pemex, the Mexican oil monopoly, and then went to prison for corruption.)

Further integration of the U.S. and Mexican economies was naturally attractive for the Bushes. The senior Bush negotiated NAFTA and encouraged Mexican president Carlos Salinas to turn public monopolies such as the phone system into private monopolies (a policy which has made Carlos Slim the richest man in the world). Yet, in NAFTA, Mexico withheld from privatization its crown jewel monopoly, Pemex.

Business and immigration all blended together for the younger Bush, which is why his 2001 plan was to have his Secretary of State negotiate an immigration deal with Vicente Fox’s Foreign Minister. In his 1995 New York Times op-ed, No Cheap Shots at Mexico, Please, then-Governor Bush warned Republicans off from the immigration issue by holding forth on the profits to be made from further integration with Latin America:
"Mexico is proving to be a strong economic friend. Our economic bond with Mexico carries with it some very positive long-term results. An isolated United States will not be able to compete successfully in a world economy where Europe and Asia are united into common-market partnerships. The trade agreement wisely affords our country the opportunity to join forces with Canada and our neighbors to the south—first Mexico, then Chile, then other emerging capitalist countries in Latin America."

On the personal side, George and Barbara Bush employed a live-in Mexican maid, Paula Rendon, of whom W. has said, "I have come to love her like a second mother." He went on to employ another Mexican immigrant, Maria Galvan, to raise his two daughters. Younger brother Jeb married a Mexican girl, Columba Garnica, who had spent some years as an illegal immigrant in California.

Jeb and Columba’s son, George P. Bush, was such a natural politician and heir to the Bush dynasty that W., who nicknamed his father "41" (for being the 41st President) and himself "43," called his nephew "44."

So, from 43’s dynastic perspective, electing a new people in order to keep electing Bushes to the White House all made a certain grandiose, demented sense.

Yet, for Rove, who was supposed to be the brains of the operation, the motivations are murkier —other than sheer submissiveness toward his willful boss.

Let’s run through the possibilities:

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer