Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The least intelligent region in America: In an earlier post, I used the General Social Survey (GSS) to show that mean IQ is lowest (94.2) in the East South Central Division, which includes Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Now, part of the reason for the low average is that a large number of blacks live in the region: 22% of the total population, according to the GSS. In the table shown below, the black mean in the region is 87.5, almost 10 points lower than for whites. But the white IQ is also below-average (96.1), so the question arises whether this low mean is due to smart people leaving for higher-opportunity regions. Here are the numbers:

Mean IQ--East South Central Division

Total 94.2
White 96.1
Black 87.5
Other 99.4

Stayers 91.2
Leavers 99.6
Comers 101.4

Stayers 87.4
Leavers 89.2
Comers 87.4

It doesn't surprise me that whites who move out are smarter than the stayers, but it is a bit of a surprise that whites who have moved into that part of the country are just as smart as the leavers (in fact a bit smarter) and are almost as numerous (14.1% of the total regional population versus 16.6%). So, basically the leavers and the comers cancel each other out in terms of IQ. Those who move out lower the IQ, only to have it raised to the previous level by those moving in. This, by the way, is the same thing I saw when I looked at New England in the earlier post.

The pattern for blacks is also a surprise. Stayers are about as smart as leavers or comers. So blacks, as a group, don't appear to move because their brains would profit them more in another region.

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