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IQ Estimates from Wordsum Scores by Ancestry
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++Addition++The Inductivist points out that over half of those who chose the ethnicity “American” are black (I wonder if this is similarly the case with Census data). I should have suspected something was up with the remarkably low average for those of putatively “Scots-Irish” descent. Shame on me for the sloppiness. The white “American” IQ estimate from wordsum scores is 94.2, on the low end of those of European descent but higher than that of blacks or Mexicans.

HBD chickadee has a few bones to pick with Ron Unz about his curious assertion that:

“One very intriguing pattern is that according to Lynn’s IQ data certain European populations such as the South Italians, Irish, Greeks, and South Slavs tended to have IQs much lower than other European populations such as the British and the Dutch. However, according to the Wordsum-IQ data, this pattern is exactly reversed in the United States, with the descendents of immigrants from Southern Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Yugoslavia having much higher IQs than Americans of British or Dutch ancestry.”

I’m not at a point where I’m able to read the referenced posting at the moment, so I’m taking the chickadee’s word for it. She also chastises Unz for failing to make public the data used to come to the conclusions he comes to. Fortunately, it’s easy to tap the GSS for the data Unz presumably used and the chickadee is after, so let’s turn the database sideways.

 To avoid issues with language fluency, immaturity, and senility, all respondents were born in the US and aged 25-65 at the time of their participation. All ethnic groups have sample sizes of at least 50, with most far exceeding that minimum threshold (both the ETHNIC and WORDSUM variables have been consistently employed since the survey’s inception in the early seventies). Mean wordsum values are converted to mean IQ scores under the assumption that a wordsum value of 6.32 equates to an IQ score of 98 (a reasonable estimate of the US average) with a standard deviation of 15 IQ points:

Ancestry IQ
Russian 105.2
Austrian 104.5
Swiss 103.6
Danish 102.6
English/Welsh 102.4
Norwegian 102.1
Hungarian 101.6
Scottish 101.5
Swedish 101.3
Czech 100.4
Italian 100.4
French 100.0
Irish 99.7
Polish 99.7
Greek 99.0
French Canadian 98.7
German 98.5
Other Canadian 96.2
Dutch 95.9
Spanish 92.4
Native American 91.2
African 89.9
Puerto Rican 89.9
“American” 88.7
Mexican 87.7

Just a few quick comments. Ashkenazim constitute about half of those of Russian descent. Contrary to Unz’ assertion, those of English or Welsh descent outscore Italians, Irish, Greeks, and Slavs, though the Dutch do not. The Scots-Irish highlanders of Appalachia who seem to have forgotten their ancestral homelands fare about as well as blacks do. Black rednecks, anyone? Finally, hardly a novel observation here, but current immigration trends in the US portend a dysgenic future for the US.

GSS variables used: WORDSUM, ETHNIC, AGE(25-65), BORN(1)

(Republished from The Audacious Epigone by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. What is an "American" (in quotes)?

  2. I'm shocked that the Germans are so low, since in Europe they have the highest average IQ along with the Dutch, Austrians, Swedes and Swiss.

    Ashkenazi should be part of Germans or Poland.

    I concur, what is "Americans"? African-American?

  3. This is clear evidence that immigration is correlated with IQ.

    Canada's national IQ is above 100, yet Canadian who move to America average lower than 100.

    "1. Canadian children scored Full Scale IQ= 103.34, Verbal= 101.4, Performance = 104.96 on the (American) WISC-III."

    Are the Mexicans left in Mexico also brighter than the ones who leave it all behind for America?

    (For completeness, or that the population mis-reports ethnicity to the GSS.)

  4. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Ashkenazi should be part of Germans or Poland.

    If they inquire of older relatives, a lot of Ashkenazim are told that there ancestors emigrated from "Russia" or "Russia-Poland," which probably means the Russian-ruled parts of Poland. For that reason, I suspect that most Jews whose ancestors came from Russian-ruled Poland are putting themselves into the Russian category rather than the Polish category.

  5. It looks to me like the General Social Survey gives respondents the same options for ancestry as the census does (perhaps it must, or perhaps it was a choice?) Census respondents have American as an option, right next to Native American, African, Hungarian, etc.

    The usual explanation is that Americans of mixed national origins (like me) may choose "American". (I, personally, choose my direct male-line, but that's arbitrary and I've often wondered if I should be choosing "American" instead, or going with my mitochondia and picking my mother's mother's country of origin.)

    In any case, the people picking "American" are often picking it because they have no clue of their ancestry, i.e., they're not the sharpest knives in the drawer. Think of all the Americans who have no idea where their surnames originated….

  6. I have a hunch that more Ashkenazim originate in Lithuania than Germany, but that too is arbitrary because (a) their ancestors could have emigrated from Lithuania to Germany before crossing the Atlantic and (b) it's not clear whether we're talking about the current country that a given place is in, or what country it was at the time. Someone whose family left Kraków in 1912 (a good year to leave!) wouldn't have the option of "Austria-Hungary" as a country of origin; they'd probably pick Poland (where Kraków is now). But a lot of people whose families left Poland-Lithuania when parts of it were in Russia would pick Russia.

    The short answer is, there's no short answer to any of this stuff, because Americans reflexively use national origin as a proxy for race, which is too scary. We really want to know if you're Nordish or Medish or Slavic, and we're too scared to ask, so we ask where (all?) of your ancestors are from (born?) at that one point in time when history happened(?) It's all very droll.

    To me it boils down to:
    Race – a matter of DNA
    Native land – the country which accepted you when you were born
    Citizenship – where your passport is from
    Genealogy – self-explanatory but cumbersome
    Ethnicity – with whom you identify

    Note that the latter can't be determined objectively. You can take someone's word for it; it's obvious to me that lots of people lie about their ethnicity. (The same goes for religion.)

    At this point I'm starting to think that Caucasoid Americans who constantly vilify Whites for fun and profit are not actually White at all. I.e., whiter is not actually a form of White. Deep down, they identify as non-ethnics; they only say they are "white" so they can seem magnanimous when they attack my people.

  7. Olave's explanation of "American" is spot on. See this graphic as an aid for where this self-identity is the strongest (among southern whites).

  8. I actually just read Unz's article on this in TAC last night.

    There has been so much mixing in the US in the last 100 years that it must be nearly impossible to distinguish some of these groups.

    For example, I might get classified as Italian since I have an Italian surname, but I am only 1/4 Italian (the remainder is almost entirely English, German, and French). My wife has exactly zero Italian ancestry, so my son has an Italian surname and yet he's merely 1/8 Italian. This kind of mixing surely means that when comparing Italian-Americans to Italians, you're really not comparing genetically similar people.

    Another problem is that Unz didn't seem to acknowledge that a lot of immmigrants eventually went back, and these were presumably the less-cognitively-gifted ones. This could also go a long way toward explaining the IQ differences between Americans of Europeans ancestry and the people in their countries of origin.

  9. AE: Could you give a racial distribution for "Americans"? From what I remember, something like half of them are black in the GSS.

  10. Inductivist,

    Wow, I should've suspected something was up with the remarkably low average for putative "Scots-Irish" descendants. Shame on me for the sloppiness. I've updated the post accordingly. Thanks.

  11. Unz seems to be both stupid and dishonest. His previous attempt to claim that Hispanics in the US have the same crime rate as whites was also shot through with errors of fact and logic.

  12. I might get classified as Italian since I have an Italian surname, but I am only 1/4 Italian

    In the Census data, people are self-classified. You are Italian-American if that's what you tell the census you are. You don't "get" classified.

  13. I'm shocked that the Germans are so low

    People attribute an accuracy and importance to the wordsum data which it does not really deserve.

  14. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    All else being equal, a group of people living in an urban area will have a higher income, a higher average educational level, and a higher wordsum score than a group in a rural area.

    What Unz cannot wrap his head around is that this does not mean that the urban group is more intelligent. His innate liberalism keeps leading him to faulty lines of thought.

  15. Not to beat a dead horse but…isn't this whole argument centering a little too much around wordsum scores? It is (correct me if I'm wrong) a ten-question vocabulary test. While it may indeed have a .71 (as Unz claims) correlation with other IQ tests, that doesn't mean its measuring the exact same thing. Although IQ is largely heritable, it is not entirely heritable, so it seems plausible to me that wordsum is more dependent on the part of IQ that is less heritable (ie, more prone to environmental change). This makes common sense in the case of wordsum too, since a vocabulary test is much more culture-loaded than, say, Raven's Matrices.

  16. Should be "it's measuring" rather than "its measuring" in my last comment. I've brought shame on my kinfolk.

  17. GR,

    Does Raven's Matrices capture any of the verbal component of intelligence? If not, that's a systemic bias in the opposite direction.

  18. rjp says: • Website

    I am going to back up Anonymous here …

    All else being equal, a group of people living in an urban area will have a higher income, a higher average educational level, and a higher wordsum score than a group in a rural area.

    What Unz cannot wrap his head around is that this does not mean that the urban group is more intelligent. His innate liberalism keeps leading him to faulty lines of thought.

    While the Wordsum test may be accurate in testing IQ among more learned individuals, it would be useless among the highly intelligent who were not avid readers. Vocabulary is learned for the most part, the ability to fit shapes together is cognitive (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children).

    I have never taken a Wordsum. AE (I think) gave me this link for another test a few months ago: http://www.eskimo.com/~miyaguch/schmies.html

    Something I thought of while I was making a sandwich — how do people of moderate intelligence (by standard testing methods), but who speak multiple languages (say Greek, Italian, and English), do on the Wordsum — that would probably be the control for determining it's reliability, I would think.

  19. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    On this very site there was a breakdown of wordsum projected IQ's by occupation, which found that librarians and schoolteachers are "more intelligent" than engineers and electricians.

    I'm here to tell you that they are not. Librarians and schoolteachers are more likely to know the meanings of the sorts of words which appear on wordsum tests, but that's all you can conclude.

  20. I'm shocked that the Germans are so low

    I''m shocked that people still act like the wordusm test says anything useful about IQ.

  21. FWIW my jewish uncle is Norwegian and Polish ancestry.

    So I think the % jewish of a given ethnic group would affect their IQ.

  22. Let me make it abundantly clear: I think the data suggesting German Americans have lower than average intelligence is flat-out wrong.

    Here is a mapping of white IQ by state.

    http://www-958.ibm.com/software/data/cognos/manyeyes/visualizations/estimated-white-iq-by-state-us

    "upper Midwestern states, including Ohio, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and the Dakotas, have the highest proportion of German Americans at over one-third"
    (wikipedia)

    Every state among these German ones ranks above 101.

    You can also see that the states where Germanic surnames dominate are always above average intelligence.
    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/02/geography/usa-surnames-interactive

  23. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Every state among these German ones ranks above 101.

    You can also see that the states where Germanic surnames dominate are always above average intelligence.
    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/02/geography/usa-surnames-interactive

    But that does not change that the total German average is low.

    So you would need two explanations:

    – Either the Germans outside those states are really dumb.

    or

    – The Germans in those states are typical for German Americans (i.e. lower than the average White American IQ), but the non-Germans in those states are really smart.

  24. FWIW my jewish uncle is Norwegian and Polish ancestry.

    So I think the % jewish of a given ethnic group would affect their IQ.

    "So"?

    If it affected your IQ, it was in a downwards direction.

  25. "But that does not change that the total German average is low."

    But, of course, we are going by self-reported ethnicity. We know for a fact that North Dakota is a heavily German state by ancestry because historically a lot of the settlers were German, and a large proportion of the people there today have German names. So it's likely that the folks of North Dakota have more German ancestry than the average American. By contrast, someone elsewhere may have a German surname, and thus consider himself "German" by ethnicity, but have very little German ancestry.

    And which Germans? There were, iirc, to major waves of German immigration, one during the colonial era to mid-Atlantic colonies like Pennsylvania (most of the "Pennsylvania Dutch" are actually German), and a later one in the 1850's mostly to the midwestern states. Did they come from the same German states? Bavarians, for example, differed culturally from Prussians. Although I'm pretty sure that the Germans who came to the US were overwhelmingly Protestant, which does narrow the field a bit, it's not inconceivable that the Germans in Pennsylvania are descended from a different set of Germans than the Germans in North Dakota.

    So I think it's more likely that "Germans" outside of heavily Germanic areas of the country are not as German as their surnames suggest, and possibly have a different cultural heritage than Germans in the midwest. The idea that all the heavily Germanic states have dumb German populations who just happen to be counterbalanced by smart non-Germans stretches credibility, to say the least.

  26. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    A Cambridge University IQ study done on Germans, minus immigrants, and other non-Germans, resulted in a score of 109. In fact, other European countries in this same study scored higher than studies done just on country scores, but NOT as high as Germany and the Dutch. Germany concluded immigrants were bringing their national IQ score down.

    They wanted to begin testing new immigrants before entering Germany, I suppose not allowing them in if their IQ's were low. This caused such a ruckus and racism name calling, Germany, cowardly, decided not to do it.

    Pennsylvania has many Germans. The state score is 101.5, but it also has quite a few Blacks and Hispanics in the larger cities.

    How about a study done on pure ethnicity as far back as we can go? Beyond that, it's anyone's guess. Probably not many, but I can say I am one of the few remaining.

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