Human brain

IQ compared by countries

The question of the intelligence of a certain nationality or population may be controversial. In fact, intelligence is influenced by national, political, and geographic factors. Often surprisingly but scientifically proven, a warmer climate badly affects the intelligence quotient.

With an average IQ of 98 points, the USA ranks 29th in this ranking. With 108 points, the inhabitants of Hong Kong reach the highest intelligence quotas worldwide. The last place, with only 56 points, is occupied by Equatorial Guinea.

In addition to the simple ranking of countries, the following table shows the influence of prosperity and climate.
IQ distribution on the world map

Intelligence related to income and climate

The displayed IQ was averaged from the results of 9 international studies and compared the average income and government expenditures on education from 1990 to 2010.

Please beware: The average income has changed in recent years, especially in small countries. A list with more recent figures can be found here. This page covers the period from 1990 to 2010, which relates to the evaluation time of the studies.

RankCountryIQØ IncomeEducation expenditure
per inhabitant
Ø Daily maximum
1Hong Kong *10825,419 $915 $26.2 °C
2Singapore10825,561 $908 $31.5 °C
3South Korea10614,174 $537 $18.2 °C
4Taiwan *10626.9 °C
5Japan10537,233 $1,258 $19.2 °C
6China1041,374 $27 $19.1 °C
7Netherlands10233,731 $1,701 $14.4 °C
8North Korea10215.2 °C
9Switzerland10251,175 $2,539 $15.2 °C
10Iceland10134,869 $2,443 $8.1 °C
11Canada10127,861 $1,661 $7.4 °C
12Macao *10120,511 $628 $26.0 °C
13Finland10131,520 $1,990 $8.2 °C
14Belgium10030,650 $1,676 $14.8 °C
15United Kingdom10031,204 $1,455 $12.9 °C
16Austria10032,042 $1,764 $13.1 °C
17Germany10030,846 $1,385 $13.8 °C
18New Zealand10018,672 $1,283 $17.4 °C
19Australia9925,705 $1,390 $24.3 °C
20Luxembourg9953,806 $2,310 $14.6 °C
21Norway9948,278 $3,527 $9.0 °C
22Sweden9936,645 $2,359 $9.9 °C
23Denmark9939,017 $3,127 $12.5 °C
24Czechia999,333 $387 $12.8 °C
25Estonia999,596 $459 $10.1 °C
26Mongolia98897 $50 $8.1 °C
27France9829,520 $1,609 $16.8 °C
28Hungary987,386 $392 $16.6 °C
29United States9836,486 $1,904 $18.8 °C
30Spain9719,791 $885 $21.1 °C
31Italy9725,986 $1,175 $17.8 °C
32Latvia976,985 $335 $10.9 °C
33Poland976,128 $298 $13.4 °C
34Russia964,104 $157 $9.5 °C
35Croatia958,934 $353 $18.0 °C
36Portugal9514,222 $725 $21.5 °C
37Ukraine951,460 $85 $14.6 °C
38Ireland9428,450 $1,635 $13.2 °C
39Israel9419,448 $1,226 $25.4 °C
40Vietnam94477 $26 $28.8 °C
41Lithuania936,736 $326 $11.6 °C
42Malaysia934,556 $273 $32.1 °C
43Georgia921,313 $38 $20.1 °C
44Kazakhstan922,767 $97 $13.5 °C
45Greece9216,865 $541 $22.3 °C
46Bulgaria912,800 $114 $18.1 °C
47Argentina906,344 $278 $21.3 °C
48Romania903,373 $120 $16.0 °C
49Chile895,620 $210 $18.4 °C
50Thailand892,607 $108 $33.0 °C
51Turkey894,952 $141 $20.4 °C
52Serbia893,604 $164 $18.3 °C
53Bermuda *8863,356 $1,552 $24.6 °C
54Brunei8819,766 $840 $31.7 °C
55Cambodia88428 $7 $33.1 °C
56Mauritius874,557 $167 $26.8 °C
57Costa Rica863,972 $216 $28.6 °C
58Philippines861,335 $38 $31.9 °C
59Iraq861,699 $32.3 °C
60Mexico866,336 $279 $29.8 °C
61Bolivia851,021 $67 $27.5 °C
62Kuwait8529,400 $1,630 $34.3 °C
63Venezuela854,812 $241 $32.1 °C
64Albania841,690 $55 $21.3 °C
65Indonesia841,082 $29 $31.6 °C
66Iran842,846 $120 $26.6 °C
67Cuba843,257 $312 $30.0 °C
68Montenegro844,527 $21.1 °C
69United Arab Emirates8335,275 $378 $34.4 °C
70Bahrain8313,079 $401 $32.5 °C
71Brazil834,341 $223 $30.7 °C
72Ecuador832,342 $68 $25.6 °C
73Egypt831,260 $58 $30.0 °C
74Lebanon834,130 $102 $23.9 °C
75Myanmar83176 $3 $32.2 °C
76Puerto Rico *8310,995 $30.4 °C
77Algeria822,324 $109 $26.5 °C
78Colombia822,792 $128 $30.3 °C
79Morocco821,720 $89 $24.0 °C
80Oman829,186 $385 $33.8 °C
81Pakistan82591 $16 $30.9 °C
82India81571 $22 $31.7 °C
83Saudi Arabia8110,618 $700 $32.8 °C
84Afghanistan80340 $13 $24.4 °C
85El Salvador791,912 $69 $31.2 °C
86Sri Lanka791,024 $30 $29.7 °C
87Qatar7848,088 $1,574 $33.7 °C
88Bahamas7721,995 $521 $29.7 °C
89Bangladesh77465 $9 $29.9 °C
90Maldives773,501 $166 $31.0 °C
91Nepal77276 $10 $24.7 °C
92Zimbabwe72578 $122 $27.1 °C
93Kenya71468 $33 $27.4 °C
94Ivory Coast71796 $53 $32.2 °C
95Somalia71130 $33.2 °C
96Tanzania71370 $14 $29.1 °C
97South Africa704,339 $247 $24.7 °C
98Nigeria70841 $33.3 °C
99Sudan70615 $15 $36.5 °C
100Ghana69523 $34 $32.1 °C
101Cameroon65943 $29 $31.0 °C
102Chad65361 $10 $35.4 °C
103Congo (Dem. Republic)63217 $3 $30.3 °C
104Niger63321 $10 $36.5 °C
105Guinea-Bissau62316 $13 $33.4 °C
106Ethiopia61190 $8 $27.2 °C
107Gabon604,862 $192 $29.8 °C
108Gambia60616 $13 $32.9 °C
109Timor-Leste601,604 $30 $30.9 °C
110Senegal60887 $37 $35.4 °C
111Sao Tome and Principe58904 $55 $28.6 °C
112Equatorial Guinea563,369 $158 $30.0 °C

What is the intelligence quotient?

The definition states that the intelligence quotient is a measure of intellectual ability. Often IQ is confused with a concrete performance or even education; however, it is the "ability" to perform. In other words, the ability for comprehension, combinations, and learning.

A person isn't less intelligent because of a lower level of education. Instead, the one who can achieve the same education with less effort is classified as more intelligent. For example, some intelligence tests detail questions on the names of current politicians. This determines how well the patient can remember a name and its position only by the influence of the media presence.

The intelligence quotient was adapted to a mean value of 100 points. For a standard deviation of 15%, an IQ between 85 and 115 should be noted as normal. Depending on the psychological and physical condition of the patient, the results can also vary by up to 10 points.

Human brain) Intelligence is not a learning ability but can be consciously increased. Through regular brain training, individual skills are specifically addressed and achieved through a performance increase. Thus, the general thinking-ability can be influenced by each individual within a certain framework. However, this possibility decreases considerably with increasing age. Additionally, part of the intelligence is inherited by the mother and father.

West Europeans developed IQ for West Europeans according to West European standards. It is still debatable whether this procedure can be applied to people(s) with entirely different social structures, cultures, values, and ways of thinking.

IQ in relation to income and educational expenditures

As shown in the table above, there seems to be a correlation between IQ and income level. Although high-income countries are among the top performers, much lower-income countries, such as China, Mongolia, and Eastern European, are also among the top performers.

On the other hand, countries with high education expenditures almost always have an intelligent population. The reversing circuit is not always accurate because, among the first 30 places, there are also countries with medium-to-low educational expenditures. The leading countries in this ranking are exclusively the most developed East Asian countries. In these countries, it is usual for families to invest in their children’s education. The educational expenses are no less than elsewhere but are not caused or paid for by any government.

Is intelligence dependent on the climate?

Since 1991, relentless heat has been presumed to affect IQ over generations. It was initially assumed that living in lower temperatures required higher physical fitness and caused higher social demands. Richard Lynn, a professor at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, assumes that colder temperatures increase brain volume. But whether brain size is at all related to intelligence is controversial.

In general, a hot climate is considered a disadvantage intelligence development. Nowadays, the reason is primarily seen in the high physical energy demand and the resulting stress.

No dependence on skin color

None of the studies here conclude that a particular geographic ancestry influences the intelligence quotient. In some cases, differences within population groups were found (e.g., in Basil: Blacks 71, Mulatto 81, Whites 95, Japanese 99), but all differences could be attributed to their origin, level of education, or other factors.

In 2006, Donald Templera and Hiroko Arikawab found a connection between increasing skin pigmentation and a decreasing IQ. Even this was not attributable to skin color because pigmentation grade is climatically conditioned. The observations were also made within the same groups of other populationa, e.g., Caucasians.


The intelligence quotients by countries are taken from the studies conducted by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen (2002), Heiner Rindermann (2007), Khaleefa and Lynn (2008), Ahmad, Khanum and Riaz (2008), Lynn, Abdalla and Al-Shahomee (2008), Lynn and Meisenberg (2010), as well as the PISA tests in 2003, 2006 and 2009. More recent results were weighted higher. The studies are not entirely uncontroversial as they often consider only specific population groups or a few individuals per country. If, on the other hand, an average is obtained from all the tests and studies, a usable overview will be obtained.

The figures for average income, population, and education expenditures are based on World Bank data, averaged from 1990 bis 2010. This corresponds to the period during which the studies were carried out. Temperatures were averaged from the data of the German Weather Service of the same period.

* Dependent territories

The following countries are not sovereign states, but dependent territories or areas of other states:
  • Bermuda: self-governing territory of the UK
  • Hong Kong: special administrative region of China
  • Macao: special administrative region of China
  • Puerto Rico: unincorporated territory of the US
  • Taiwan: Semi-presidential republic
Further information on the definition of a country can be found in our article, What is a country?