What Is the Average IQ in 2024? (US and Other Countries)

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IQ is a score you get from a special test that checks how good you are at thinking and solving problems. This test compares your skills with others like you.

average iq

These tests see how fast and correctly you can understand things and use your brain to answer questions or figure out problems.

A study from Northwestern University looked at how well people did on these tests from 2006 to 2018.

They found that most Americans’ IQ scores went down in many areas, but they got better in one part.

The study used data from over 394,000 people. It showed that people did worse in understanding words, solving puzzles, and doing math.

But they did better in thinking about 3D shapes and patterns.

IQ Statistics by State/Jurisdiction

Here is a table highlighting average IQ scores and other literacy-related statistics by state.

Average IQ scores by State

State Average IQ Literacy Rate Numeracy Rate Highschool Graduation Rate

 

Bachelor Degree Rate Advanced Degree Rate Population with Bachelor’s Degree

 

Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination Passing Scores
Massachusetts 104.3 82.7% 74.9% 96.1% 50.62% 28.27% 25.3% 85
New Hampshire 104.2 88.5% 80.9% 94.44% 40.98% 15.72% 24.5% 79
North Dakota 103.8 86.6% 79% 93.62% 31.74% 9.38% 22.4% 85
Vermont 103.8 87.2% 79% 94.55% 44.44% 18.42% 26% 80
Minnesota 103.7 86.9% 79.6% 94.13% 38.9% 13.4% 25.5% 85
Maine 103.4 86.6% 77.1% 94.53% 35.99% 13.82% 22.2% 80
Montana 103.4 86.9% 77.3% 94.35% 34.8% 12.45% 22.4% 80
Iowa 103.2 85.1% 77% 93.32% 30.54% 9.87% 20.7% 80
Connecticut 103.1 82.8% 74% 91.11% 42.13% 18.94% 22.1% 80
Wisconsin 102.9 84.7% 75.8% 93.33% 32.54% 11.04% 21.5% 80
Kansas 102.8 83.1% 75% 91.89% 35.4% 13.39% 22% 80
New Jersey 102.8 79.3% 69.9% 90.98% 43.1% 17.4% 25.7% 75
South Dakota 102.8 85.1% 76.3% 93.05% 31.67% 10.11% 21.6% 85
Wyoming 102.4 86.4% 77.5% 93.59% 29.24% 10.72% 18.5% 85
Nebraska 102.3 83.6% 75.7% 92.16% 34.45% 12.28% 22.2% 85
Virginia 101.9 81.2% 71.6% 91.38% 41.81% 18.33% 23.5% 85
Washington 101.9 83.9% 76.5% 92.35% 40.97% 15.13% 23.8% 85
Ohio 101.8 82.3% 71.2% 91.74% 30.72% 11.79% 18.9% 85
Indiana 101.7 81.3% 70.5% 90.64% 28.88% 10.39% 18.5% 80
Colorado 101.6 83.4% 75.2% 92.43% 44.42% 17.04% 27.4% 85
Pennsylvania 101.5 81.9% 71.3% 95.89% 36.54% 16.94% 20.6% 75
Idaho 101.4 83.6% 74.3% 91.26% 30.72% 10.54% 20.2% 85
Oregon 101.2 83.2% 75.3% 91.87% 36.33% 13.88% 22.4% 85
Utah 101.1 85.5% 77.7% 93.17% 36.81% 12.69% 24.1% 86
Missouri 101 81.1% 70.9% 91.59% 31.72% 12.24% 19.5% 80
New York 100.7 75.6% 65.3% 88.03% 40.9% 17.72% 22.2% 85
Michigan 100.5 82.4% 72% 91.96% 31.67% 12.48% 19.2% 85
Delaware 100.4 79.7% 68.8% 91.36% 35.62% 15.05% 20.6% 85
North Carolina 100.2 78.7% 67.1% 89.7% 34.91% 13.19% 21.7% 80
Texas 100 71.8% 61.5% 85.39% 33.12% 11.9% 21.2% 85
Illinois 99.9 79.6% 69.9% 90.17% 37.14% 15.01% 22.1% 80
Maryland 99.7 80% 69.8% 91.09% 48.55% 24.16% 22.4% 85
Rhode Island 99.5 79.6% 70.4% 89.14% 36.5% 15.61% 20.9% 80
Kentucky 99.4 78.1% 66.3% 87.99% 26.98% 11.11% 15.9% 80
Oklahoma 99.3 79.9% 69% 88.71% 27.92% 9.62% 18.3% 75
Alaska 99 87.3% 79.2% 93.31% 32.79% 11.91% 20.9% 80
West Virginia 98.7 79.1% 67.2% 88.82% 24.12% 9.94% 14.2% 80
Florida 98.4 76.3% 65.2% 89.79% 33.16% 12.55% 20.6% 80
South Carolina 98.4 77.6% 65% 89.61% 31.53% 11.95% 19.6% 77
Georgia 98 76.4% 63.4% 88.97% 34.63% 13.7% 20.9% 75
Tennessee 97.7 78.3% 66% 89.74% 30.48% 11.28% 19.2% 82
Arkansas 97.5 76.9% 64.3% 88.67% 25.27% 9.37% 15.9% 85
Arizona 97.4 76.6% 66.8% 88.97% 32.43% 12.64% 19.8% 85
Nevada 96.5 74.7% 63.5% 87.16% 27.57% 9.64% 17.9% 85
Alabama 95.7 76.1% 62.6% 87.93% 27.43% 10.85% 16.6% 75
New Mexico 95.7 70.9% 60.5% 87.48% 30.05% 14.08% 16% 80
Hawaii 95.6 84.1% 76.6% 92.93% 35.3% 13.1% 22.2% 85
California 95.5 71.6% 64% 84.45% 36.19% 14.05% 22.1% 86
Louisiana 95.3 72.9% 58.4% 86.68% 26.45% 9.65% 16.8% 80
Mississippi 94.2 72% 56.6% 86.49% 24.78% 9.35% 15.4% 75

Source: Wisevoter data

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Take a look at reading statistics and literacy statistics.

IQ Scores in the US and Worldwide

In their book, The Intelligence of Nations, published in 2019, co-authors Richard Lynn and David Becker determined the unweighted national IQ for the USA to be 92.74 with a standard deviation of 9.83.

The pair adjusted for sample size, data quality, and ethnic composition, arriving at a weighted score of 95.86.

Factoring in the national school assessment results for the US, i.e., SAS-IQ of 99; they found the eventual national IQ to be 97.43.

Country 2019 Average IQ score 2022 Average IQ score Percentage of students attaining advanced outcomes OECD 2018 PISA Mean Scores Percentage of population holding tertiary qualifications
Reading Mathematics Science
Japan 106.48 108.14 58.01 504 527 529 64.81
Taiwan 106.47 ** 63.21 503 531 516 **
Singapore 105.89 104.75 74.5 549 569 551 **
Hong Kong 105.37 ** 66.66 524 551 517 **
China 104.1 106.59 38.27 555 591 590 35.8
South Korea 102.35 107 66.85 514 526 519 69.29
Belarus 101.60 99.67 ** 474 472 471 28.3
Finland 101.20 99.83 25.29 520 507 522 40.06
Liechtenstein 101.07 ** 32.06 ** ** ** **
Germany 100.74 101.06 22.91 498 500 503 35.88
Estonia 100.72 96.97 27.97 523 523 530 43.18
Switzerland 99.24 100.74 31.93 484 515 495 52.27
Netherlands 100.74 99.7 25.15 485 519 503 55.6
Australia 99.24 101.96 21.38 503 491 503 54.31
Canada 99.52 99.26 20.56 520 512 518 66.36
UK 99.12 99.05 21.95 504 502 505 57.47
USA 97.43 99.9 29.84 505 478 502 51.17
  Source Source Source OECD 2018 PISA Results   Source

** Comparable data not available

The differences in the national IQ scores among countries exist due to various factors like education system in place, quality of education offered, access to learning resources, culture background, nutrition, and curriculum rigor.

The presence of enabling factors, however, doesn’t necessarily contribute to an increase in the average IQ of a country.

In countries whose curriculum emphasizes practical skills over theoretical thinking, test takers are still likely to score poorly on the abstract thinking domain of IQ tests.

Adult and Health Literacy

PIAAC Results

The Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) is comparative study program used to assess a population’s numeracy, reading, and literacy levels as well as digital problem-solving skills.

Results from the PIAAC tests are reported as average scores on a 0 – 500 scale and as percentages of the adult population attaining a given proficiency level – from below Level 1 to Level 5.

In Canada, the PIAAC survey is recognized as the International Study of Adults (ISA).

In Germany, it is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and supported by the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.

PIAAC is funded and led by the US Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics in the US.

In the 2012 – 2015 round of PIAAC Cycle I, American adults posted a literacy score of 272, two dozen points below Japan. For context, the international average across participating countries was 267.

The results also showed that only half (50%) of US adults performed at or above Level 3 compared to 72% of the population in Japan.

At the same time, 18% of US adults performed at Level 1 or below in literacy, compared to 5% in Japan.

Health Literacy

Health literacy is measure of a person’s ability to read, comprehend, and extract meaning from information pertaining to health care.

The average adult in the US reads between 7th and 8th grade level.

Given medical information is conveyed with language complexity equivalent an 11th or 12th grade level, literacy remains to a challenge to a large US population.

Understanding the Flynn Effect

In his most-cited paper, The Mean IQ of Americans: Massive Gains 1932 to 1978, published in 1984, moral philosopher and intelligence researcher James Flynn observed a fairly consistent increase in US population IQ scores from the early 1930s.

The groundbreaking study found that the average American adult’s IQ score had increased by 13.8 IQ points in the cited period, translating to an average of roughly three points per decade.

Discussions around this phenomenon and subsequent findings birthed the concept of Flynn Effect.

The theory attempts to explain the long-sustained increases in IQ scores (fluid and crystallized intelligence) in various regions of the world.

In the last decade, some researchers have posited that the Flynn effect goes beyond IQ scores.

A recently published paper assessing the changes in the ability to focus from generation to generation found that the average adult’s ability to concentrate has increased over the past three decades. Authors D. Andrzejewski, E. Zeilinger, and J. Pietschnig interpreted these results as evidence of attention being subject to the Flynn effect.

Flynn’s initial observations on IQ have remained relevant among researchers even in recent years.

New arguments have especially surfaced based on the latest data which indicates a contrasting sharp decline in American IQ scores.

This phenomenon of reversed gains in mean IQ score has since been dubbed the ‘Reverse Flynn Effect.’

IQ Classification Tests in the US

While there are several variations of IQ tests today, the scoring system across most is similar. Many IQ tests report a standard score with a mean score of 100. Scores above this mark reflect a positive standard deviation, while those below bear a negative standard deviation. Some of the widely known IQ tests are:

  • Cattell Cultural Fair Tests
  • Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale
  • Mini-Mental State Examination
  • Otis-Lennon School Ability Test
  • Raven’s Progressive Matrices
  • Snijders-Oomen Nonverbal Intelligence Test
  • Weschler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence
  • Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children
  • Naglieri Non-Verbal Ability Test
  • Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale
  • Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children
  • Weschler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence

Here is how different IQ scales compare:

Names and scales of widely accepted IQ tests

IQ Composite Score Range Type of IQ Test
Wechsler (WAIS–IV, WPPSI–IV) Stanford–Binet Fifth Edition (SB5) Woodcock-Johnson R (WJ III NU) Reynolds Intellectual Ability Scales (RIAS) Kaufman Adolescent and Adult Intelligence (KAIT) Das-Naglieri Cognitive Assessment Differential Ability Scales (DAS-II 2007 GCA)
140+ Very Superior Very gifted or highly advanced * Significantly above average Upper extreme Very superior Very high
130 – 140 Gifted or very advanced
120–129 Superior Superior Moderately above average Well above Average Superior High
110–119 High Average High average Above average Above average High average Above average
90–109 Average Average Average Average Average Average
80–89 Low Average Low average Low average Below average Below average Low average Below average
70–79 Borderline Borderline impaired or delayed Low Moderately below average Well below average Below average Low
55–69 Extremely Low Mildly impaired or delayed Very low Significantly below average Lower extreme Well below average Very low
40–54 Moderately impaired or delayed

* Doesn’t conform to the same range; more information contained in subsequent tables.

Woodcock-Johnson R (WJ III NU 2007)

Score Range WJ III NU 2007 Classification
131 and above Very superior
121 to 130 Superior
111 to 120 High average
90 to 110 Average
80 to 89 Low average
70 to 79 Low
69 and below Very low

Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (KABC-II 2004)

Score Range KABC-II 2004 Categories
131–160 Upper extreme
116–130 Above average
85–115 Average range
70–84 Below average
40–69 Lower extreme

Many studies today estimate the average person’s IQ score to range between 85 and 115, with only about 2% of the world’s population having a score of 130 or higher.

References

  1. Trends In Americans’ IQ Scores
  2. Average IQ In The USA: Common Myths And Actual Data
  3. Alaska’s Literacy Blueprint
  4. The Intelligence Of Nations
  5. The Nature Of Human Intelligence
  6. The Nation’s Report Card: Reading 2022 State Snapshot Reports
  7. The Nation’s Report Card: Mathematics 2022 State Snapshot Reports
  8. NAEP State Assessments
  9. The Relationship Between Socioeconomic Status and Literacy: How Literacy is Influenced by and Influences SES
  10. Highlights Of PIAAC 2017 US Results
  11. Survey Of Adult Skills (PIAAC)
  12. The Mean IQ Of Americans: Massive Gains from 1932 to 1978
  13. How USA Education Measures Up Worldwide
  14. Introduction To Health Literacy
  15. WJ III: Reports, Recommendations, and Strategies
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