Thursday, April 21, 2011

Parental income and IQ among teens

Here's a new study of a large sample of teens published in Personality and Individual Differences that shows that the IQs of children from wealthy homes are higher, not because of money, but because of their parents' superior genes.
Parental educational level and family income have been related to individual differences in intelligence. However, large and representative samples are hardly available. Here two samples of young and old adolescents totaling 3233 boys and girls completed an intelligence battery comprising abstract, numerical, verbal, mechanical, and spatial reasoning subtests. Parents’ educational levels, family incomes, and adolescents’ general intelligence (g) were simultaneously related using SEM (structural equation modeling) analyses. The main findings show that (1) parental education strongly predicts family differences in income, (2) family income is not related to adolescents’ intelligence, and (3) parents’ education predicts adolescents’ intelligence regardless of family income. Because it is widely acknowledged that personal intelligence is the best predictor of educational differences, the next causal chain is endorsed: brighter parents reach higher levels of education, which allows approaching better occupations, and, therefore, they can create families with higher incomes. Adolescents from more affluent families tend to be brighter because their parents are brighter, not because they enjoy better family environments.


  1. Anonymous7:48 PM

    So government interventions to improve conditions at home are unlikely to improve school performance.

    ... unless the cause is the parent's influence on the intellectual level at home and if the government can somehow improve that. Questionable on both counts, especially in view of research that shows that peers, but not what parents do at home, influences children's behavior.

    Robert Hume

  2. Florida resident9:10 AM

    Robert Weissberg's recent book
    "Bad students, not bad schools; see Derbyshire's review of it:

    Respectfully, F.r.


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