Monday, November 10, 2008

How many intelligent Americans fail to get a college education? In the comment section of the previous post, Robert Hume wondered if the academic achievement of intelligent Americans might be on the decline. I assumed that a declining correlation between IQ and completed years of education is due to less intelligent students pursuing higher degrees and not to declining achievement among smart students, but it's better to look than to assume. So here's what I found:

Mean completed years of education of high IQ Americans

This decade 16.67
Nineties 16.12
Eighties 15.79
Seventies 15.64
Sixties 15.40
Fifties 14.85

No need to worry about fewer smart people getting educated.

It wasn't until the 1980s, however, that the average education of intelligent Americans approached four years of college. In my view, our smartest folks should get a four-year degree, so we're doing a better job for this population than we used to.

But how many high-IQ Americans don't go to college? Here's the breakdown:

Highest degree earned--percentage

Graduate 26.2
Bachelors 47.7
Junior college 3.5
High school 20.3
Less than high school 2.3

While the percent going to college is at the highest level in 50 years, the proportion of smart people who do not go is still disturbingly high. Well, we know how things are here in America. Institutional racism is still obviously holding back intelligent blacks.

Oops. I did the calculations, and 92% of the sample of smart students not attending college are white. Only 5% are black, and 3% are some other race. We need some white outreach.


  1. The high IQ people who do not attend college probably have personalities low in the personality trait of conscientiousness - which along with IQ is required for academic success as in the equation:

    intelligence X perseverance = accomplishment

    which has (in various versions) been knocking-around since the time of Francis Galton.

    (Hans Eysenck - in Genius - and Richard Lynn - in Dysgenics - have both discussed this).

    You could test this assertion using the GSS by controlling for conscientiousness - assuming there are suitable questions that could be used as proxy measures.

    I would predict that the survey responses of the high IQ high school graduates would indicate lower conscientiousness.

  2. Zylonet6:57 AM

    Interesting post and the question regarding white achievement. The big problem isn't that more smart whites don't attend college, it's the poor quality education that smart whites in college are receiving. The best measure is to find a high achieving European country such as Germany and use that as the norm. Then compare our whites to theirs. What you will find is that our "white performance" is below that of the German performance. Our whites are far from pushing the limits of their ability compared to Germans (or whomever). Since great achievement is earned on the margins, then we are in big trouble.

    I think our whites achieve far below their potential for many reasons including:

    1) a political system that treats everyone like a child
    2) dumbing down of standards throughout society through affirmative action
    3) immigration; why work hard when an immigrant my supplant you in the future
    4) monetary policy of the Fed which over the past decades has altered investment incentives. For example, Fed policies have put a premium on housing investment, not technical investment. A technical company with a 15 year development time cannot compete in a market where huge gains are made in housing on an annual basis. Therefore, if you are a brilliant engineer, why try to compete.
    5) college tracking in schools instead of career tracking. Our schools are flooded with classrooms mixed with both poor and high quality students.
    6) lack of gifted and above average education in secondary schools
    7) cheap college loans that make college more of a logical next step, than something to be desired.

  3. Anonymous7:45 AM

    92% of the sample of smart students not attending college are white. Only 5% are black, and 3% are some other race. We need some white outreach.

    What percentage of *smart* black, students don't attend college?

    What percentage of *smart* white, students don't attend college?


  4. Anonymous7:55 AM

    What's the threshold for smart?

  5. Thanks for this Ron ..

    I think the reason for the 20% of high-IQ whites happy with high school is that they look forward to a good life without college. They are in small towns and want to stay with their friends and work in the same sort of job as their Dad.

    For much of the same reason, many of those who do go to college go to the State college with their friends, the same college their parents did.

    This accounts for a higher than otherwise population of Jews and Asians in Harvard; these folks typically do not have such strong ties to their home town and state. You don't get into Harvard if you don't apply to Harvard.

    Unfortunately, this also results in high-IQ whites having fewer than otherwise role models at the highest levels of academia and government, and their interests, and the interests of their lower-IQ fellow whites,e.g. lower levels of unskilled immigration, are not as well looked after at the national level.

  6. "What's the threshold for smart?"

    118 and up (9 or 10 out of 10 on WORDSUM)

  7. Anonymous9:40 AM

    Have you ever considered publishing this work in a peer-reviewed journal? I wish you would, I live in a state that is 97% white and insists on recruiting minorities. We have several full-time staff on that task (all earning handsome salaries). We're already about 5% NAM so were doing well. I've pointed out that we should be doing a better job of recruiting whites out of the smaller towns in this rural state to no avail.

  8. Could the rise in the number of cases of autism account for more and more high-IQ people not attending college? IINM autism affects mostly those of above-average intelligence, and certainly makes it difficult or impossible to attend college.

  9. The high IQ people who do not attend college probably have personalities low in the personality trait of conscientiousness ---

    ...or they have a low BullShit factor.

  10. Our present economic disaster is due to the PC supposition that the typical member of all ethnicities can make enough money to support a typical mortgage.

    What disaster awaits due to the PC supposition that the typical member of every ethnicity can attain the capability of whites/asians?

    One is that some of the smartest NAMs will waste their time teaching typical non-NAMs. This waste of intellectual power will lead to the decline of the nation.

    If they taught the NAMs vocational subjects that would be OK. But it would be better if NAMs did that teaching, they would be capable of doing a good job.

    I hope that the election of Obama will make it possible to see that discrimination is not the problem and that there just are, as a matter of fact, differences in the typical member of different ethnicities even though the superior members of the NAMs can attain at a high level. As Sailer pointed out, there are 6 million blacks with higher IQs than the average white.

  11. All of the left-wing illuminati are going to throw more money into the schools, so getting an education shouldn't be an issue anymore.


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