Determining which countries have the highest IQ and are the smartest in the world is difficult because there are so many different factors to consider.
However, the site World Population Review recently put together a list of the top nations in the world, according to which the southeast nations of the world rank at the top.
According to the list, most people worldwide (about 68 percent) have an IQ of between 85 to 115. The few above an IQ of 140 are considered geniuses.
Japan with an average IQ of 106.49 tops the list followed by Taiwan (106.57), Singapore (105.89), Hong Kong (105.37) and China (104.10).
The European nations that have managed to be included in the top ten are Belarus (101.60), Finland (101.20), and Liechtenstein (101.07) but also the Netherlands and Germany with an average IQ of 100.74.
Greece is in 55th place worldwide with an average IQ of 90.77 below neighboring Cyprus (47th with 93.39) and Bulgaria (54th with 90.99) However, it is above Turkey (77th with 86.8) and Albania (109th with 81.75).
IQ ranking based on most widely publicized studies
World Population Review says it has compiled its list based on some of the best-known and more widely publicized studies of world intelligence conducted by British psychologist Richard Lynn.
In a 2019 study titled The Intelligence of Nations, Lynn and collaborator David Becker measured the average IQ of citizens across 132 nations and calculated estimated scores for another 71.
There is a note of caution in terms of the list, however, as it should be mentioned that Lynn’s studies while arguably the most comprehensive available, often spark considerable debate.
“Some detractors take issue with the methods Lynn uses to compute estimates when hard data is unavailable,” World Population Review says. “Others accuse Lynn of using his data to support scientifically inaccurate theories that promote white supremacist beliefs.”
One of the more creative studies of intelligence is the 2017 Intelligence Capital Index, or ICI, which drew on several factors to determine not the smartest nations overall but those most likely to leverage their smartest citizens’ intelligence to “expand the frontier of knowledge and/or introduce the technologies and innovations of the knowledge economy…Big Data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, etc.”
In the ICI study, the United States ranked number one and was the only nation to receive an A+ rating. Coming in second place was the United Kingdom, followed by Germany in third place.
Other high-ranking nations on the ICI include Australia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, Finland, and Denmark.
Researchers have long debated what IQ tests actually measure, and whether average differences in IQ scores–such as those between different ethnic groups–reflect differences in intelligence, social and economic factors, or both.
The debate moved heavily into the public arena with the 1994 publication of The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, which suggested that the lower average IQ scores of some ethnic groups, such as African-Americans and Hispanics, were due in large part to genetic differences between them and Caucasian groups.
That view has been challenged by many scientists. For example, in his 2009 book “Intelligence and How to Get It,” Richard Nisbett, a psychologist at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, argued that differences in IQ scores largely disappear when researchers control for social and economic factors.