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Jason Malloy on Hawaiian IQ
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++Addition++The Wordsum distributions for Portuguese-Americans and non-Hispanic whites follow respectively. The P-A average is a slightly more than .4 standard deviations below n-H whites, suggesting an average IQ of around 93 or 94. So if those in Hawaii tend toward the lower end of the SES scale, as Jason asserts, 90 seems to fit as an average for P-As in Hawaii.

Jason Malloy offers an answer to the question of why Hawaiian white kids do so poorly on NAEP testing compared to whites in other states (short answer–one-sixth of Hawaiian whites are Portuguese by descent). As a bonus, he provides a similar explanation for why Hawaiian Asians (a category including native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders) also fare so poorly. His calculations are below.

Median IQ for Hawaiian ethnic groups from The Global Bell Curve and a few other sources:

White: 100
(Portuguese): 90

East Asian: 101
(Chinese): 99
(Japanese): 101
(Korean): 102
(Chin-Haw): 91

Filipinos: 89

Hawaiians: 88
(White-Haw): 93

Puerto Ricans: 78

Applying the ethnic demographics of Hawaii to the IQ numbers listed above, we surprisingly get the same numbers as the NAEP IQ estimates virtually down to the same decimal point.

Japanese 101/16.7%
Chinese 99/4.7%
Filipino 89/14.1%
Korean 102/1.9%
Polynesian 88/16%

Weighted IQ = 93.8
NAEP IQ = 93.6

Non-Portuguese 100/21.9%
Portuguese 90/4.0%

Weighted IQ = 98.5
NAEP IQ = 98.5

Man, the guy is good. I need an RSS feed that tracks every comment and contribution he makes across the entire world wide web.

(Republished from The Audacious Epigone by permission of author or representative)
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  1. Is that really the answer? Do Portuguese whites really have such pitiful IQ scores that they are actually closer to blacks than to other whites? I grew up with a lot of Portuguese and I didn't notice any great yawning gap between them and all the other white nationalities.

  2. Lynn gives an IQ of 95 for Portugese in Portugal in IQ and Global Inequality. Why would Hawaiian-Portugese performance be worse? Just noisy data?

  3. I second Stopped Clock's comment. Having grow up and lived for many years in a city with a big Portuguese population, it's very surprising to me that they have such low IQ scores. They always seemed to me like just another white ethnic group.


  4. Thanks, AE.

    The average IQ of Portuguese-Americans in the GSS is about 93. Although they do not show lower SES, which may explain the surprise. (In Hawaii they do have lower SES, and traditionally they weren't even considered "white" on the islands)

    The IQ of Portugal in various studies, including international assessment tests, ranges between 90-95.

    This is consistent with IQ scores in Southern Spain, Southern Italy, and the Balkan Peninsula, which all fall in the subtropical range of Europe.

  5. Also consider that the Hawaiian Portuguese community is descended from immigrant laborers that originated on the islands of Madeira, Azores, and Cape Verde. The lower IQ estimate may be consistent with the greater degree of sub-Saharan African admixture present in those source populations.

  6. Not that I think it is much related, Portugal is also the country with the highest amount of Sub-Saharan admixture.

    4% Northern Portuguese
    2% Southern Portuguese

    3.2% Northern Portuguese
    6.4% Central Portuguese
    10.8% Southern Portuguese

    And the North African paternal component is also high in Portugal (7.1%) and Spain (7.7%).

    The Hawaiian Portuguese were not largely from the islands anon mentions, but primarily from the mainland.

  7. I've put the wordsum distributions of Portuguese-Americans and non-Hispanic whites in the body of the post. The P-A average is a little more than .4 standard deviations below n-H whites, suggesting an IQ of around 93-94. So if those in HI tend toward the lower end of the SES scale, that seems to fit.

  8. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:


    According to this study And Yet They Come: Portuguese Immigration from the Azores to the United States (PDF) mainlanders contributed a smaller fraction of Portuguese emigrants to Hawaii than Madeira and Azores. I appear to be incorrect about the significance of Cape Verde for the origin of Portuguese-Hawaiians. See an excerpt from pg 88 here.

    The author states that much of the Portuguese emigration occurred following the devastating impact of orange and grape blights upon the agricultural productivity of the Portuguese mainland and Atlantic islands. Portuguese families arriving in Hawaii to work as plantation laborers found themselves at the bottom of the Hawaiian social hierarchy and eventually many of the upwardly mobile among them appear to have simply re-immigrated to enclaves in California.

  9. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Could the modest Portuguese-American Wordsum scores be caused by relative unfamiliarity with English? It was my impression, growing up in a city with many, that the Portuguese were more recently arrived in America than most other white ethnic groups (the Albanians were the only exception). Many had come over after World War II, and there were some still arriving even into the 1980's, while the other European groups were largely of pre-1920's origin.


  10. Anon, thanks, my source was from published US census data (pp 119-120), but I see that the author warned that many Portuguese from the islands may be reported as mainlanders, so I will trust your source based on Portuguese records.

    Still the African component on those islands appears to be similar to the mainland (more similar to Southern Portugal in Madeira, and Northern Portugal in the Azores).

  11. How come most ethnic groups have a lower IQ listed here than listed in "IQ and Global Inequality"? This includes the Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans.

  12. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I'm from Hawaii and I have two thoughts/questions about the test results. (1) After more than 100 years of racial mixing, there are relatively few "pure" Portuguese left in Hawaii. People who identify themselves as "Portuguese" may well have Hawaiian and Filipino ancestors.(2)Many Portuguese, like other "locals," speak some version of Hawaiian Creole ("Pidgin English"). Could this explain the relatively low verbal test scores for the Portuguese (and other ethnic groups) in Hawaii?

  13. Hawaiian Creole emerged in the 1920s among the mixed race children of sugar cane workers who spoke pidgin. It's really something to hear — you wonder "Is he speaking English?" because a lot of the words are English but the sentence construction is different.

  14. Hawaii has the highest number of years of schooling among non-Hispanic whites of any of the 50 states, according to the 2000 Census. California, another state where whites do below the white average on the NAEP, isn't far behind in years of schooling.

    Maybe it is true that sunshine makes you dumb.

  15. Peter,

    I don't know. It's always a potential problem, I suppose. Non-Hispanic whites average 8 months more education than Portuguese-Americans though, which probably serves as reasonable proxy for intelligence.


    Re: the low verbal test scores of the Portuguese in HI, the Wordsum vocab test is administered by the GSS. HI's relatively low performance is in the National Association of Educational Progress (NAEP) and is among 8th graders in math and science, so it's doubtful that there is much of a language fluency issue there.

  16. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    On the climate and IQ correlation, any thoughts on why the trend might be somewhat reversed in India? It would be one thing if it were just an IQ difference between the south indian brahmins and north indian brahmins, perhaps the assorting effect derived from high castes was stronger in south , but there is also the higher IQ of the population derived from the tamil laborers in Singapore compared to populations derived from north Indian laborers in Fiji and elsewhere. Any other parts of the world where the ethic groups buck the climate-IQ trend?

  17. Yes, India does seem to be an interesting counter-example.

  18. By the way, though, Bangalore, the software capital in southern India is at moderate altitude, so it's not quite as hot as you might think from the latitude.

  19. Anon,

    My knowledge is very limited, but there are other within-country examples. In the UK, the SE is more prosperous than the north, and has been at least since the 17th Century. Germany's East-West split is much more conspicuous than its North-South split is. Communism looms larger than relatively subtle differences in average intelligence. The correlations aren't perfect, at the state or the national levels.

  20. BGC says: • Website

    The following is the only study I have found about IQ differences in the British Isles.

    Lynn, R. (1979) The social ecology of intelligence in the British Isles. British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 18, 1-12.

    The basic message is that IQ declines with distance from London (e.g. Ireland had the lowest IQ in the British Isles) – and Lynn hypothesises that one important factor was differential migration of the most intelligent people to London over the past few hundred years.

    (NB: There would need to be at least one other factor to account for the gradient.)

    Migration would presumably quickly overcome any underlying evolved differences in national IQ that might exist due to climate – and indeed the climate gradient is not very large in the British Isles.

  21. What is the IQ of the Irish in Hawaiian?

    I would like to see a break down of ancestry of the whites.

  22. Hmm,

    ethnic demographics of Hawaii

    Irish (4.4%)

    IQ and the Wealth of NationsLynn and Vanhanen data table of national mean IQ studies summarized by Steve Sailer


    Test Type


    6 to 13

    Sample Size

    Reported Score (IQ)

  23. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Is this true?


    FACT #54: Populated by White stock, the nation of Portugal rose in four
    centuries to be the wealthiest most powerful country in the world. A great
    commercial and maritime power, it had large colonies in Asia, Africa, and
    America. Its seamen were the first to explore western Africa and they
    brought back hundreds of Negro slaves. By 1550, at the height of Portugal's
    power, one-tenth of its population were Blacks. Today, Portugal's population
    is described as one of the most homogeneous in Europe, having slowly
    absorbed the Negro gene pool. As of l975 it had lost all of its outside
    territories. Its workers are the lowest paid in Europe and they have the
    highest rate of illiteracy and a high infant mortality rate. In terms of
    art, literature, music, science and philosophy the "new" Portugal has
    produced virtually nothing in 100 years and by most standards is the most
    backward nation in Europe. *Keep in mind that the Black population of the
    U.S. is approximately 13%. (27)

    From "100 lies"

  24. Anonymous [AKA "António Vitor"] says: • Website

    Well I am portuguese, and I never scored bellow 120 IQ score in many I repeat many IQ score tests I performed, please put me on those SMALL samples, and we portuguese should score better…lol…CRAP. My child even had better score than me, na 130 IQ score for 8 years old and she is only 6… and…well she is dark, darker than most portuguese…interesting, but not from african genes.

  25. Anonymous [AKA "Jemimah"] says: • Website

    In my view one and all must glance at this.

  26. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Portuguese population of Hawaii, is NOT really Portuguese.
    Thus, it should NOT reflect in the IQ of a real Portuguese.

    The Portuguese of Hawaii, are in fact a mixture of Portuguese and Chinese settlers mixed with Hawaiian natives, who advocate Portuguese culture, nothing more.


    The average IQ of a Portuguese lays between 95 – 100, the average, according to Dr. Richard Lynn in "Wealth of Nations".

    Per capital, the average IQ of someone from Lisbon falls to 102.

  27. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Anonymous, that "FACT #54" is a lie.
    It was written by Ray Smith, and has been refuted long ago.

    Portugal countrywide, was never 10% Black.
    It was only the city capital.

    Only Lisbon, I repeat ONLY Lisbon accounted for 10% of Black population, which means… no more than 1% of the population countrywide.

    Further, the slaves were shipped to Brazil, when a shortage of workers had a significant impact in the sugar cane plantation.

    Other slaves were sold to emerging powers such as France, UK and Holland.

    Portugal today remains one of the countries in Europe, with the lowest African diaspora. Hence, Being only 2% of the population.

    The average Portuguese never absorbed anything, the slaves were castrated.

    This could be explained considering that Y-DNA has been accounted to be at a frequency of 0.0%.
    Only mtDNA is found, which is accounted from modern day immigration after the decolonization of African colonies, such as Cape Verde or Mozambique.

    Interracial is still seen as a Taboo in Portugal, for that matter.

    Portugal is not a backward nation.
    It has produced and still does produces geniuses.
    When it comes to Literature I could just mention a few writers to contemplate that point.
    Éça de Quiros, Fernando Pessoa, etc. for modern day writers.
    Music, what about Amália Rodrigues, Pdero Abrunhosa, etc.
    Then again, when was the last time an American, like Ray Smith, had the time or actually bothered to search Portuguese artitsts?

    Portugal is a country which doesn't have contact with the main stream media, so it's normal for people to be unaware of it.

    Portuguese create Art.
    Americans produce Entertainment.

    Countries like Latvia, Estonia or Lithuania supposedly who didn't have contact with Blacks, are far worse, having lower salaries and higher illiteracy rates, than Portugal.

    They must be Blacks, then…

  28. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Average IQ of Portugal is 95, not 90. Furthermore the education level of adults in Portugal is in a 3rd-world level, far away from any other European country, which explains why the average IQ isn't near 100 like other European countries (education, while it's not everything, has a lot of impact on IQ, you should know that). You can't compare the average IQ of Portugal with Southern Italy. At a time, 20% of Portugal's population were Jews, which have an average IQ of 110. Furthermore the smashing majority of the genetics comes from Europe.
    Furthermore, Portugal is well placed in PISA scores, ahead of countries like Spain and Italy. So basically this is a ignorant post, from someone who didn't study the issue enough and makes wild assumptions based on that.

  29. Portugal was mixed with arab and north african DNA during the islamic occupation of spain, and probably also at other times due to sheer geographic proximity, which probably explains why it has one of the lowest IQs in Europe.

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