Posted on December 12, 2021

IQ Differences in the American States

Hippocrates, American Renaissance, November 2010

As has been widely reported, the demographic changes set in motion by the immigration reform of 1965 are reducing whites to a minority in the United States. The proportion of whites is not, however, changing at the same rate in all regions, which means that while some states — California, Texas, Hawaii, New Mexico — already have non-white majorities, some states are still overwhelmingly white.

This means that the average IQs of the American states are diverging, depending on the mix of whites, blacks, and Hispanics (aside from Hawaii, no state has enough Asians for them to have much effect on the average). Because blacks (IQ 85) and Hispanics (IQ 89) have lower IQs than whites (IQ 100), state IQs will inevitably reflect the percentages of blacks and Hispanics, and the higher the percentages of these, the lower the IQs.

We are indebted to Professor Mike McDaniel of Virginia Commonwealth University for demonstrating this. He has calculated state IQs from the standardized performances of children in grades four and eight in reading and math, which are acceptable as measures of state IQs.

He finds that, as expected, IQs are highest in the New England states, which have the highest percentages of whites. The highest-IQ states are Massachusetts (104.3), New Hampshire (104.2), and Vermont (103.8). Almost as high are Connecticut (103.1) and Maine (103.4). The largely white states of the midwest score only fractionally lower: Minnesota (103.7), Montana (103.4), Iowa (103.2) and Wisconsin (102.9). IQs are low in the southeastern states, with their large black populations, and are lowest in Mississippi (94.2), Louisiana (95.3), and Alabama (95.7). IQs are not much higher in southwestern states with large Hispanic populations, such as Arizona (97.4), Nevada (96.5), New Mexico (95.7), and California (95.5). Another low-IQ state is Hawaii (95.6), where IQ is pulled down by native Hawaiians (IQ 87), Portuguese with significant African ancestry (IQ 90), and mixed-race people, such as European-Hawaiians (IQ 93) and Chinese-Hawaiians (IQ 91). Professor McDaniel calculates that state IQs are correlated at -0.51 with the percentage of blacks and -0.34 with the percentage of Hispanics.

Not surprisingly, these differences in state IQs are associated with differences in average earnings. Professor McDaniel reports that average state IQs are positively correlated with gross state product per capita at a correlation of 0.28. Rates of violent crime are higher in low-IQ states (correlation of 0.58), and health is worse (0.75). High IQ people look after their health more effectively by, for example, eating sensibly and going to the doctor if they have a worrying symptom. Low birth weights are more frequent in low IQ states (0.71), but the reason for this is not understood. It may simply be a function of the larger number of blacks, who are well known to have babies with lower average birth weights than whites, though the reason for this is not understood, either.

Professor McDaniel’s work has been followed up by Professor Jared Bartels of the University of Central Missouri and his colleagues. They report correlations between state IQs and various categories of crime. They find that state IQs are more highly correlated with violent crime (0.58) than with non-violent crime, including motor-vehicle theft and other theft (0.29). This is probably because it takes a higher IQ to commit theft than to commit violent crime, and also because blacks and Hispanics are apparently more prone to violence than whites.

Professors Charlie Reeve and Debra Basalik of the University of North Carolina have compared state IQs to several different health measures. For example, more mothers in states with high IQs breastfeed their babies (0.33), ensure that their infants are immunized (0.20), take better care of their teeth (0.51), get more exercise (0.51), and refrain from smoking (0.29). At the same time, high-IQ states have lower infant mortality (0.54), lower rates of HIV infection and AIDS (0.39), lower overall mortality (0.46), lower rates of heart disease (0.56), and lower rates of adult obesity (0.36) and child obesity (0.46).

Professors Reeve and Basalik show that state IQ and racial composition together explain a lot of these differences. For instance, they write that black “soul food” is typically high calorie, high fat, and not healthful. They note that African Americans are approximately half as likely as whites to meet fruit and vegetable consumption guidelines, and that studies have found that black women “fear that eating a healthier diet would mean abandoning their cultural identity.” This probably contributes to the high rates of obesity in black women. Profs. Reeve and Basalik cite other studies that have found that intelligence is related to higher levels of physical activity, greater likelihood of taking vitamins, more consumption of fruit and vegetables, and not smoking. They conclude “more intelligent individuals are better able to handle the job of self-provided health care.” They also find that teenagers in low-IQ states have more babies (0.77), most of them unplanned.

All this is bad news for America, particularly for the southern states with large and growing black and Hispanic populations. As their numbers continue to increase as a result of higher fertility and immigration, we have to anticipate that IQs will decline, and consequently living standards will fall, crime will increase, health will deteriorate, and teenage pregnancies will rise. If current trends are allowed to continue and whites become a minority in about 35 years’ time, the United States could become just another Latin-American style country with a majority non-white population.

Bartels, J.M., Ryan, J.J., Urban, L.S. & Glass, L.A. (2010). Correlations between state IQ and FBI crime statistics. Personality and Individual Differences, 48. 579-583.

McDaniel, M.A. (2006). Estimating state IQ: Measurement challenges and preliminary correlates. Intelligence, 34, 607-619.

Reeve, C. & Basalik, D. (2010). Average state IQ, state wealth, and racial composition as predictors of state health statistics: Intelligence, 38, 282-289.