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I was chatting with a friend the other day about IQ, and he sent me the following map of the average IQs around the world:

Just in case you are not able decipher the legend, the top box (yellow) reads “105”, followed by 100 (tan), 85-90 (orange), 70 (brown), and 60 (red). If you look closely, you will notice that all countries except China and those in Europe are blanketed by either orange, brown, or red, which means the average IQ of the people in those countries are below 90. Correct me if I am wrong, but aren’t IQ scores supposed to fit the Gaussian curve with a median of 100? In other words, isn’t “100” the average IQ score? If so, how can the average IQ of a big chunk of the world’s population be below 100?

The only explanation I can offer is this: China. Not only is the average IQ of Chinese 105, China is also the most populous country in the world. Perhaps the large population of higher average IQ balanced the equation when averaged with the population of lower average IQ. Even then, I am not totally convinced that explanation is sound — the math simply does not add up.

What do you think? Please offer your own explanation in the comments below.

April 2020