The Smartest Nations in the World

Although it is quite controversial to judge and rank a country for its intelligence, humankind has always had a desire to compare and list even such abstract concepts as intelligence.


Naturally, any research method you apply to analyze someone’s mental capacity will undoubtedly raise a few eyebrows. The point being that no matter how scientifically reliable the approach, measuring intelligence will always be a debatable issue.


there are various ways to test the average intelligence of a country. Some countdowns are compiled after surveys which inquire about proficiency in literacy, numeracy and problem solving, quick and sharp thoughts, spontaneity, time management, technological advancement and even wealth.  Nevertheless, all these parameters do not take into account the intelligence of  individual people within that country.

This has to do with the theory of multiple intelligences, which rejects the idea of intelligence as a single general ability, but instead considers it a myriad of different modalities including musical, linguistic, spatial, logical, kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalistic. This theory is great to apply at a personal level, but the problem arises when we want to analyze this at the country level to determine which are the smartest countries in the world.


Hence, the parameters we chose for this countdown are the most mathematical that exists thus far to rate intelligence: the intelligence quotient, or better known as IQ. The IQ score is derived from a series of standardized tests that intend to rate human intelligence. The IQ scale classifies the different IQ scores as follows:

Over 140: Genius or almost genius
120 – 140: Very superior intelligence
110 – 119: Superior intelligence
90 – 109: Average or normal intelligence
80 – 89: Dullness
70 – 79: Borderline deficiency in intelligence
Under 70: Feeble-mindedness


The IQ data we used for this countdown was compiled and studied by a British psychologist, Richard Lynn, and a Finnish political scientist, Tatu Vanhanen, with the subsequent work of a Dutch psychologist, Jelte Wicherts. The original study was published in 2002 in a book called IQ and the Wealth of Nations, where the experts showed that the differences in income (GNP) of each country were closely related to their average IQ scores.


T31. Ukraine, Russia, Malta, Belarus – Average IQ of the country: 97

T22. USA, Spain, Latvia, Hungary, France, Denmark, Czech Republic, Australia, Andorra – 98

T14: Sweden, Poland, New Zealand, Germany, Finland, Estonia, Canada, Belgium – 99

T8: UK, Norway, Netherlands, Luxembourg, China, Austria – 100

T5: Switzerland, Mongolia, Iceland – 101

4: Italy – 102

3: Japan – 105

2. South Korea – 106

1. Singapore – 108

0. (over all)  – You – 160


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