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May 9, 2012 / JayMan

A Tale of Two Maps

Edited, 6/6/13. See below!

I’ll have much more on this later, but I stumbled across this map, and I thought it was too poignant to ignore:

This is a map of the 2010 unemployment rates across Europe, broken down by region, originally found here. I have filled in the unemployment rates of the former Yugoslav republics, Albania, and the former Soviet states with data drawn from here. As such, I don’t have those areas broken down by region.

Compare that map to this, my updated (edit: as of 9/18/2012) map of the average IQs of Europe…

(Edit, 9/18/12: map updated with Lynn’s and Vanhanen’s 2012 IQ data) as drawn from Richard Lynn’s and Tatu Vanhanen’s books (the data from which is currently missing from the Wikipedia articles thanks to some ridiculous edit war, but are visible in earlier versions of the article, and are preserved here at HBD Chick’s blog), Lynn’s updated national IQs, and Heiner Rindermann’s, Michael Sailer’s, and James Thompson’s analysis of the PISA data (edit: including these sources for Spain and Italy).

While there are some incongruities, the overall pattern in striking. As we see, the higher the average IQ, the lower the unemployment rate, and hence the stronger the overall economy.

Particularly, it’s hard not to notice that the areas of the European periphery, that is Ireland, Portugal, Southern Spain, and Southern Italy, are prominent problem areas. Spain particularly appears to be doing badly, but the economy is clearly the worst in the south. Much of Southeastern Europe, which includes Greece, also fares poorly.

On the other hand, the Alpine region—Northern Italy, Southern Germany, Switzerland, and Austria seem to be doing pretty well. I haven’t bothered to look in detail, and hence it’s not reflected in my IQ map, but I understand that the PISA results show a distinct north-south cline in IQ in Germany, favoring the south. Apparently, this zone is one of exceptional average intelligence, which the legendary Swiss banking system probably attests to.

Also interesting is the Baltic region, which is in particularly bad shape. IQ results for this area have been somewhat contradictory. Lithuania, for example, seems to have an average IQ of 97 when one looks at the PISA results, but one IQ study done in 1999 found an average IQ of 90 there. This region also suffers the highest crime rates in Europe,  having Europe’s highest homicide rate, as well as the world’s highest suicide rates.

Another thing to add to pile of stuff that demonstrates the connection between biology and societal outcomes. It also doesn’t necessarily bode well for the future of the great experiment that is the European Union. As I said, more on this later.

Edit, 6/6/13: Also see: More on Farming and Inheritance Systems – Part I: IQ

and Welcome Readers from Portugal!

Edit, 9/9/12: See also this post by Razib Khan on Gene Expression: The Europes | Gene Expression | Discover Magazine


Leave a Comment
  1. hbd chick / May 9 2012 6:41 PM

    an almost exact fit! why am i not surprised? (~_^)

    the p.i.i.g.s. – they’re really doomed. something’s gotta give in spain soon. they’ve got ridiculously high unemployment rates. have that got any elections coming up? and have they got a “golden dawn” party of their own?

    • Antopen / Apr 15 2014 12:15 AM

      Italy did preatty well, especially the alpine regions (darker then the media of Germany, Sweden, UK and so on) and the median IQ in Italy was 102 (the highest in Europe with Germany and Netherland). So, i don’t think a crisis, this crisis, has nothing to do with the italian IQ. Germany, for example, was the sick man of europe for many years. So, what’s your point sir?

    • JayMan / Apr 15 2014 12:33 AM


      The median IQ in Italy is NOT 102. Lynn gives an estimate of ~96 in his latest work. That the Alpine regions do better is the point here: there is a north-south cline in IQ in Italy.

      Germany was the sick man of Europe for years? Are we talking about on the same planet Earth that I know??

      Why are critical commenters often egregiously wrong with basic facts?

    • GeertWilders4president / Oct 23 2015 5:21 PM

      I’m sure Antopen is Italian. Only Italians defend or overstimate our shitty country. But not all Italians do that.

  2. szopen / May 12 2012 6:48 AM

    Poland’s unemployment numbers are waaay to optimistic — without the large emigration to UK, Ireland and elsewhere the number would simply had to be higher.

    • italianboy / May 30 2013 4:43 AM

      None has tested the IQ of the italian regions. Actually Richard Lynn used the Pisa Tests to predict the IQ of several Italian regions, although Pisa tests measure the quality of education and not the IQ.

    • JayMan / May 30 2013 7:23 AM

      You are wrong, on all counts. See the paper linked above.

  3. Anonymous / Oct 4 2013 9:06 PM

    But you are assuming cause and consequence, for instance in the Baltic region, why should lower IQs be the cause of worse economic development, there can be other causes, such as, an economical system, don´t forget those areas were communist not so long ago, also, it has been proven many times that a bad environment, for instance a bad economy can lower the IQ of a region, therefore, inverting this line of arguments…

    • JayMan / Oct 4 2013 9:10 PM


      But you are assuming cause and consequence,

      With good reason. See here:
      HBD Fundamentals: On racial differences in IQ and their global impact

      for instance in the Baltic region, why should lower IQs be the cause of worse economic development, there can be other causes, such as, an economical system, don´t forget those areas were communist not so long ago

      Yet, why are the other former communist nations doing better?

      it has been proven many times that a bad environment, for instance a bad economy can lower the IQ of a region, therefore, inverting this line of arguments…

      I don’t know about that. It’s all a matter of what you mean by “bad”. If you mean conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, then sure. If you mean in any European country, then it’s not so clear.

  4. Anonymous / Aug 11 2016 3:39 AM

    The low IQ of the majority of the population causes them to be manipulated easier and the leaders to be able to shape a society in which corruption is prevalent, making getting a job very hard if you don’t have connections & money or your profession is in very big need. Even then a lot of the job spaces are filled with inadequate people, while people that have the right qualifications for the job are unemployed for numerous reasons (not having connections/money-as mentioned before, being openly against the government /president etc…). And this employing of people that aren’t right for the leads the country into having worse economy.
    All the examples I gave were from personal experience* – seeing it happen to family members, friends or acquaintances (both the getting a job and not getting a job).
    *As I am from Macedonia** – the little red colored country in southeastern Europe.
    **Also known as FYROM, I’d like no discussion about my country’s name in replies, reason being it has nothing to do with this post or comment.

  5. Jim / Nov 2 2018 6:41 PM

    Lucky the north of Italy has a much larger population than the south.

  6. Jim / Nov 2 2018 6:50 PM

    Could this pattern be self reinforcing? People with higher IQs migrating from the low IQ regions to the wealthier higher IQ areas where they have better career prospects?

    • JayMan / Nov 2 2018 6:50 PM


  7. Jim / Nov 2 2018 7:29 PM

    As a Spaniard, I find this is a little disturbing, as it suggests there will be no way of closing the gap economically between the north and south and political tensions will be endless. And if it is self reinforcing, that will make it impossible because to overcome as the best and brightest from the south leave for the Madrid and Barcelona, depriving the south of the talent it needs.

    • JayMan / Nov 2 2018 7:37 PM

      Indeed. That’s one of the first realizations that you come to when you learn about HBD: many of the problems of the world are intractable. It sucks, but you learn to live with it.

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