Monday, March 16, 2009

Indian American IQ? Not to get into all the specifics, Steve Sailer reported a study that put the mean IQ of young, recent Indian American (IA) immigrants at 112. I calculated it for the GSS's 20 IA's born in the United States. It is 95.2 (!), nowhere close to this other figure that, by the way, was calculated using a backward digit span test. Chinese Americans born here, by contrast, averaged an IQ of 105.0, according to GSS data.

Update: The GSS estimate of IA's match up with Rushton's summary.


  1. Anonymous3:50 PM

    I'm Indian-American. In my community, it seems like every kid is becoming a doctor or dentist of some sort. Even the less successful IA kids usually end up with a finance or accounting degree from State U. Law school is a common route too, with a few going the MBA route.

    No way is the GSS sample representative.

    If you don't believe, just read the names of the National Merit Scholarship Finalists published annually in your local paper. Look at the rolls at any east coast medical school. Talk to anyone doing residency anywhere in America. View a list of the junior associates and partners in any VC or i-banking firm. I'm not trying to brag, but Indians are doing pretty well here....

    Let me quote a study for you:

    In their analyses of all freshman students enrolled in the eight University of California campuses in 1984, Sue and Abe (1988) reported on both the high school GPAs and SAT scores of different subethnic groups of Asian Americans. With high school GPA, they found East Indians/Pakistanis had the highest GPAs (3.8) followed by Japanese (3.75) and Chinese (3.73), and Filipinos the lowest (3.56). All subethnic groups had higher mean GPAs than whites (3.59) with the exception of Filipinos (3.56). With SAT verbal and math scores, East Indians/Pakistanis had the highest verbal scores (520.0), followed by the Japanese (510.8) and Chinese (473.4), and Koreans the lowest (417.8), whereas the Chinese had the highest math scores (611.8) followed by East Indians/Pakistanis (605.8), Japanese (603.8), and Koreans (594.0). Only the East Indians/Pakistanis had higher verbal SAT scores than whites (512.4), whereas all the subethnic groups had higher math SAT scores than whites (576.9) with the exception of Filipinos (519.5) and Other Asian Americans (555

    This suggests IAs are overrepresented at the elite end of the IQ bell curve

    In the UK, stats show that Indian kids academically outperform whites substanially (on achieving GCSEs). They also form 12% of the medical student population, but are merely 1.5-2% of the total population.

  2. Anonymous4:06 PM

    Let me add one more comment.

    In the UK, 45% of 2nd generation Indians have a post-secondary qualification. About 25% of whites have such a qualification. Indians also have a lower rate of school expulsion, a lower rate of incarceration than even the Chinese (both are lower than white), a 1% illegitimacy rate (whites are 40-45%), and slightly higher incomes in the 2nd generation. Their unemployment rate is a little bit higher though.

    Lynn found the UK Indians to test at an IQ of 96, but commented that verbal IQs were aritifically depressed. He speculated that when raised in a first world environment, Indians had IQ scores equal to whites. The stats seem to support this. To the extent that Indians in the UK outperform whites, we might credit home culture.

    When you consider that Indians originally arrived a factory laborers in the 1950s, with subsequent growth being the result of natural increase and family reunification, Indians are doing pretty well.

    Indian-Americans are a much more elite group than UK Indians though. So 112 IQ for their kids doesn't seem implausible.

    View the number of IA Rhodes Scholars below.

    Rushton is wrong.

  3. Anonymous2:01 PM

    We might have lower IQs but we work harder.

  4. thoreaulylazy2:59 AM

    Rushton (and too many other people) repeat the same primary source, and that's a table of IQs from "IQ and the Wealth of Nations" (not peer reviewed). The IQs for India were taken from a set of children from public schools in the 3 poorest states within India in 1979.


    Also, you should read the Wiki page for "IQ and the Wealth of Nations" (, especially this sentence: "One estimate is that the average IQ of the US was below 75 before factors like improved nutrition started to increase IQ scores."

  5. thoreaulylazy3:17 AM

    Also, the data from "IQ and the Wealth of Nations" is fraught with stupid mistakes. For instance, "Upon reading the original reference, we found that the “data point” that Lynn and Vanhanen used for the lowest IQ estimate, Equatorial Guinea, was actually the mean IQ of a group of Spanish children in a home for the developmentally disabled in Spain."

  6. Justin8:23 PM

    There is no link between us American-Indian and Indian from India living in UK. Yes, we are smart.

  7. Anonymous4:01 PM

    The GSS study is flawed and not representative at all with just having a sample size of 20 indians.

    the Digit Span Survey used hundreds of indian americans for their survey so their result at 112 IQ is accurate.

    so apparantly indians are smarter than chinese people

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