Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mexican-American IQ

In a previous post, I used GSS vocabulary data to show a 10 point improvement in IQ among Mexican-Americans over the past four decades.  An increase from 85 and 95 is striking, but I didn't take the time to see if the change is statistically significant.

Setting the white IQ at 100, here are the means by decade for people born in America who are of Mexican descent. Sample sizes are shown in parentheses:

Mean IQ

Seventies 85.4 (12)
Eighties 85.6 (106)
Nineties 91.7* (140)
Two-Thousands 94.1* (182)

*significantly higher than the 80s mean

The means for the Nineties and the Two-Thousands are significantly higher than the Eighties' mean but do not differ significantly from each other. The estimate for the past decade is a bit lower than in my last analysis; this is due to the addition of 2008 data. (The mean for 2010 is 91.6, n = 46.)

A mean in the low nineties is not inconsistent with published studies. The low mean of 85 observed in the 1970s and 80s might be due to a lower average level of education. The average respondent in a GSS survey is in his mid-40s which means that if he participated in a survey in the 70s or 80s, he would have gone to school in the 1930s and 40s.  

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

I never trust the vocabulary test as a proxy for intelligence. Why use it when there is SAT data available instead?

Link

The SAT scores over time of Mexican-American, Hispanic, and Puerto Rican students are there. No improvement relative to whites has taken place since the 80's. In fact the above Hispanic groups have lost ground relative to whites.

bgc said...

I would regard Richard Lynn's explanation of improved nutrition - especially in early life - as the default explanation.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/
science/article/pii/
S0160289608000998

Improved nutrition seems to produce an increase of about a whole standard deviation (about 15 points) in measured IQ between, say, African's in Africa and African's in the USA. It would be reasonable to expect something similar for any group coming from an undeveloped country to the USA - although the heavy burden of infectious disease in Africa might perhaps make the difference greater.

Anonymous said...

Improved nutrition seems to produce an increase of about a whole standard deviation (about 15 points) in measured IQ between, say, African's in Africa and African's in the USA.

I think that a far more plausible explanation is that "Africans in the USA" are mixed breeds with European genes.

It's not like Hispanics in Latin America suffer from malnutrition. They're well fed people even before they come here.

I repeat, the vocabulary test as a proxy for intelligence is a very flawed metric. Why use it when there is better data available?

According to the vocabulary data, Hispanics in America have gained nine IQ points on average since the eighties. But according to the SAT data they have gained essentally zero IQ points since the eighties. On what grounds do you ignore the SAT data and trust the vocabulary test?

RKU said...

But according to the SAT data they have gained essentally zero IQ points since the eighties. On what grounds do you ignore the SAT data and trust the vocabulary test?

Actually, the SAT and GSS/WordSum are looking at entirely different data-sets, so the divergence in results is hardly surprising.

The SAT scores include both foreign-born and American-born Mex-Ams, and I believe the GSS/WordSum scores were much lower for the former, so obviously merging the two groups would depress the results, especially if the percentage of foreign-born MexAms has been rising over those decades. Furthermore, the SAT scores involve a very restricted and selective groupt of students, namely those applying to good-quality colleges, and obviously doesn't reflect the entire (mostly working-class) population. Furthermore, if (as seems plausible) the percentage of MexAms taking the SAT has risen sharply during the period in question, we would naturally expect a relative recline in MexAm SAT scores. Unless these possible confounding factors are determined, the mean SAT scores are totally useless in assessing the overall ability of any given group, MexAms included.

By contrast, my impression is that the GSS/WordSum is given to a huge and totally randomized portion of the population, and therefore should be completely representative (or at least as representative as anything we have). The problem is that WordSum is a much less good proxy for IQ than something like the SAT, though it supposedly is g-loaded enough to serve as a reasonable indicator.

People on blogsites are always complaining that the MSM is biased, dishonest, PC, and corrupt, especially on racial issues. This is certainly true. But I'd also add "totally imcompetent" as well. These GSS/WordSum trends for MexAms are absolutely striking, and since they completely accord with the ideological views of the NYT and the rest of the MSM, they should have generated front-page headlines everywhere. But they didn't, and I only discovered them here.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the SAT and GSS/WordSum are looking at entirely different data-sets

Get out! Really?

Of course they look at different data sets. The point still stands - if the average IQ of Hispanic Americans increased by almost ten points, that should show up in all sorts of places. One of the places being SAT scores.

Obviously the group of people taking the SAT are not perfectly representative of the American people at large. Still, if the average IQ of blacks rose by ten point, we'd expect to see it reflected in blacks doing notably better on the SAT. If the average IQ of Asians rose by ten points we'd expect to see it reflected in Asians doing better on the SAT.

(Actually the SAT data does shown Asians doing better on the SAT over time)

And if the average IQ of Hispanics in America rose by ten points, we'd expect to see THAT reflected in improved SAT scores, as the performance of the smartest Hispanics improved along with the average.

But the improved academic performance is not there.

Anonymous said...

What other possible explanations are there?

1) Hispanic IQ really has risen by ten points. And Hispanic SAT scores rose as well. But two other things happened: a) the SAT test itself changed over time, and (b) the IQ of everyone else in America increased at the same time by more than ten points!

Very unlikely.

2) The Hispanic population is really exceptionally homogenous, and has very little variation about the mean. The increase in average IQ of Hispanics fails to result in increasing numbers of high IQ Hispanics of the sort who do well on SAT tests.

Again, very unlikely.

Anonymous said...

Unless these possible confounding factors are determined, the mean SAT scores are totally useless in assessing the overall ability of any given group, MexAms included.

Oh, come on! The mean SAT scores by group are routinely used here in HBD land in discussions of the relative intelligence of blacks, whites, Jews, Asians, etc. They obviously do not tell you the average IQ per group, not directly at least, but we can make some inferences based on the reasonable assumption that the SAT's roughly measure the intelligence of the smarter members of each group.

And what the SAT data indicates is that the smarter Hispanics remain just a little smarter than their black peers, with no improvement relative to other groups since the mid 80's.

Anonymous said...

my impression is that the GSS/WordSum is given to a huge and totally randomized portion of the population

The sample sizes are given in the post. The largest sample (of Mex-Am's) was 182 people in the 2000's. The IQ in the mid eighties figure was based on samples of 12, (yes, twelve) and 106 people.

We're not talking huge samples here.

RKU said...

Oh, come on! The mean SAT scores by group are routinely used here in HBD land in discussions of the relative intelligence of blacks, whites, Jews, Asians, etc.

Well, sure, lots of *stupid* people who hang around on HBD websites do this, but I prefer not saying stupid things.

For example, I remember back a few months ago, there was a posting on Sailer's blogsite highlighting that East Asians and whites had very similar mean SAT scores (in CA I think), and arguing that might prove there really wasn't much difference in IQ. But I immediately pointed out that the numbers showed a much larger fraction of EAs were taking the SAT, meaning that the results were reaching much deeper into the dumber/lazier EAs.

Similarly, unless we can separate out the foreign-born and American-born MexAm SAT scores, or check that the percentage of MexAms taking the SAT hasn't risen dramatically, the mean SAT numbers don't really conflict at all with the rapidly rising GSS/WordSum numbers.

Admittedly, the GSS/WordSum sample sizes are pretty small, but the results certainly are statistically significant by any standard, and the trend lines look pretty clear.

And by the most amazing coincidence, the measured IQ of Irish in Ireland was precisely the same as that of Mexico back in the 1970s (cf. Lynn), and as Ireland became less rural and more developed, their scores rose by almost exactly the same amount.

Anonymous said...

Well, sure, lots of *stupid* people who hang around on HBD websites do this, but I prefer not saying stupid things.

Oh, right, I forgot about your belief that you're a super-genius. Then you make arguments from authority, and claim that the authority is .. you. That's a pretty neat trick for an anonymous internet commenter.

the GSS/WordSum sample sizes are pretty small, but the results certainly are statistically significant by any standard

Really? I seem to recall you making the exact opposite argument when it suited your purposes. Something about a sample size of 75 Irish people being too small to be useful? You seem to have a habit of making up the rules to get your desired result.


And by the most amazing coincidence, the measured IQ of Irish in Ireland was precisely the same as that of Mexico back in the 1970

Of course it was.

Because you and people like you have bet the future of America on the supposition that Amerindians, or American aboriginals, will turn out to be functionally equivalent to Europeans. And you cast about frantically for any scrap of evidence which will refute that which is increasingly obvious to you - that they are NOT functionally equivalent.

There's no credible evidence that the IQ of Mexican-Americans has increased since the 1980's. I've pointed out evidence to the contrary, which you simply ignore.

The IQ tests cited by Lynn are very unreliable. You admitted as much yourself. But since it is necessary for you to pretend that the Irish IQ increased from the mid-80's to about 100, you WILL believe it. And facts and rationality do not enter into it.

You're a stupid, stupid man. Like most such people you have convinced yourself that you're brilliant.

unless we can separate out the foreign-born and American-born MexAm SAT scores

Dear God, you're a moron. So now you're trying to argue that mostly American born Hispanics take the GS vocabulary test, but lots of dumb Mexican born Hispanics are taking the SAT?

I repeat - your entire data analysis "technique" consists of starting off by deciding what you what to be true, and then searching high and low for any scrap of data which can be interpreted as supporting your position. All data which contradicts your preferred conclusion is dismissed or simply ignored.

Anonymous said...

I remember back a few months ago, there was a posting on Sailer's blogsite highlighting that East Asians and whites had very similar mean SAT scores (in CA I think), and arguing that might prove there really wasn't much difference in IQ. But I immediately pointed out that the numbers showed a much larger fraction of EAs were taking the SAT, meaning that the results were reaching much deeper into the dumber/lazier EAs.

You certainly have a penchant for reminding people of what you imagine to be your past triumphs.

That aside, are you seriously attempting to claim that a much larger fraction of Mexican-Americans are taking the SAT's than that of white, black, or Asian Americans, so that "the results (are) reaching much deeper into the dumber/lazier MA's"?

I doubt if you are seriously attempting to do that. You're just blowing smoke, trying to obscure the fundamental absurdity of your position.


"Hispanic students, like Black students, remained underrepresented among test-takers relative to their share of the population. Asian and White students continued to be overrepresented among test-takers."


link

RKU said...

Really? I seem to recall you making the exact opposite argument when it suited your purposes. Something about a sample size of 75 Irish people being too small to be useful? You seem to have a habit of making up the rules to get your desired result.

"Anonymous" is awfully confused. Obviously part of the problem with taking seriously an IQ sample of 75 Irishmen is that the number is so small. But the much greater problem is that it likely wasn't representative---probably everyone came from a single small factory or worksite. By contrast, the WordSum numbers in question are quite a lot larger---totalling over 400---but much more importantly they're randomized and hence representive. Now an "IQ" test based on a sample of 400 isn't great, but it---and the decade subsamples---are at least large enough that the results are statistically significant. If it weren't a random national sample this wouldn't be the case.

Dear God, you're a moron. So now you're trying to argue that mostly American born Hispanics take the GS vocabulary test, but lots of dumb Mexican born Hispanics are taking the SAT?

Probably not. But even if the SAT scores of foreign-born MexAms are much lower---as I think was seemingly indicated by the WordSum results---and they're just e.g. 1/4 of the total, they would substantially impact the mean.

That aside, are you seriously attempting to claim that a much larger fraction of Mexican-Americans are taking the SAT's than that of white, black, or Asian Americans, so that "the results (are) reaching much deeper into the dumber/lazier MA's"?

More confusion. I'm certainly not claiming that a higher percentage of MexAms are taking the SAT than whites, just that it's very possible that the *percentage* of MexAms taking the SAT has risen considerably over recent decades, which, all things being equal, would tend to depress the scores. For example, suppose 5% of MexAms took the SAT in 1986 but 15% took it in 2006. That means the 2006 scores represent the average of a much dumber and less elite portion of the MexAm population than the 1986 results. So unless there'd been a very substantial rise in *average* MexAm academic performance, mean test scores should have plummetted, which they didn't. I don't have a clue whether the number of MexAm test-takers rose by such a large amount, but a substantial rise is a reasonable hypothesis which should be investigated.


It's been my experience that a good fraction of the dumbest, most ignorant Internet commentary is by people who choose to call themselves "Anonymous." The reasons are obvious, and this exchange is a perfect example.

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Anonymous said...

Ron,

Did you set the White norm using the whole sample, or normed against the Whites of the appropriate decade?

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