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September 7, 2013 / JayMan

How Inbred are Europeans?

HBD Chick and I talk about how rates of historic inbreeding have had an important impact on the selective pressures acting on the traits of various peoples living today. We have often used Europe and the Middle East as examples of this, because strong regional variations in historic rates of inbreeding exist in those places. Particular among these variations is the history of Northwestern Europe, which had – unique in the world – a long history of avoiding inbreeding. As such, according to HBD Chick’s hypothesis, the region went down a unique historical trajectory because of it.

But what do we mean when we say that one region is more or less inbred than another? What regions across Europe and the Near East are we talking about? In this post l will show you.

This is a map of our current best guess of the rates of historic inbreeding across Europe and parts of the Near East. This map is a guestimate, and is not derived from direct measurements. However, it visualizes what areas we think are the most and least inbred, based on these regions’ histories and other pieces of evidence we have. The colors roughly correspond to HBD Chick’s 11-point clannishness scale:

if we take 1 as the least clannish and 10 as the most clannish, i would rate various groups as follows (these are today’s judgements — i reserve the right to alter these as i go forward and learn more about all of these populations!):

1 – the english (not all of them — probably not the cornish, for instance), some of the dutch
2 – the scandinavians
3 or 4 – the irish
6-7 – the italians, the greeks, the chinese
7-8 – the albanians
10 – the yanomamo
11 – the arabs

These divisions (with some exceptions which soon I’ll note) shouldn’t be taken to be hard and fast. These are general ideas based on the evidence I have so far seen. It is subject to revision, and will probably continue to be updated as I gather more evidence. Overall, the general pattern appears to be considerably longer history of outbreeding in Northwestern Europe and progressively shorter one as you move outward from there.

As we can see, several countries are significantly divided regionally. Most distinct are the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, and Germany (while Portugal is shown with a north-south gradient, I’m not sure if one exists there). These divisions have had great significance for the past and present of these countries and the countries they sired.

See:

Though this map is an educated guess, it is based on several important pieces of evidence, which I will now review, starting with one the key pieces.

Razib Khan recently objected to HBD Chick‘s hypothesis based on genetic data reviewed by Peter Ralph and Graham Coop. Ralph and Coop looked at identity by descent (IBD), a measure of how many common ancestors individuals within a population share. In short, the more IBD, the more genetically similar the population is. This similarity could signal several things, including a recent population bottleneck or historically small population size (both of which would tend to minimize genetic diversity within the population), or few admixture events in the population’s history. However, it could (and almost certainly does) signal the degree of inbreeding in the population’s mating history.

Ralph and Coop also discussed these data in an earlier presentation. Therein, they produced this map:

Inbreed-IBD1

The average IBD rates for each of the countries sampled is shown. The lines on the map were drawn by me. They divide the areas of historic outbreeding from the areas that have long-term inbreeders (based on data supplied by HBD Chick, which will be reviewed shortly), which is roughly coterminous with the Hajnal line.

As we can see, my map is in very good agreement with Ralph’s and Coop’s data, particularly the pronounced divide between Western and Eastern Europe, as well as  the regional variation across the British Isles. However, one incongruity appears to be Italy, and to a lesser extent, Spain and Greece. At least with the former two, a key problem is that we don’t know what the regional breakdown would look like, and as my map makes clear, there should be a sharp regional divergence in historic inbreeding rates across these countries. As for Greece, and perhaps Turkey, these countries have both seen many admixture events and population movements, which is perhaps responsible for the smaller IBD rates seen there.

Secondly, there’s this map of the perceived corruption across Europe (from Transparency International’s 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index), which produces a striking pattern:

Europe Corruption 2012And now, here are a collection of posts detailing data on mating patterns from these various countries (from HBD Chick except where otherwise noted). A similar version of this list can be seen on HBD Chick’s website, however, I wanted to recite them here to have them all in one place for this post:

First, HBD Chick’s european consanguinity bibliography
and western european societal values

England:
but what about the english?
english individualism ii
anglo-saxon mating patterns
consanguinity in england – north vs. south
more on consanguinity in england (and scotland)
exogamous marriage in medieval england
more on medieval england and france
kinship in anglo-saxon society
kinship in anglo-saxon society ii
cousin marriage in 13th-15th century england

Scotland:
mating patterns in medieval/early modern scotland

Ireland:
inbreeding in europe’s periphery
meanwhile, in ireland…
early and late medieval irish mating practices
clannish medieval ireland
early modern and modern clannish ireland
mating patterns, family types, and clannishness in twentieth century ireland
runs of homozygosity in the irish population

France:
what about the franks?
meanwhile, in france…
civicness in france by region
la lignée

Germany:
early medieval germans … again!
more on inbreeding in germanic tribes
more on mating patterns from deutschland (and switzerland)
feuds, tournaments, and reproductive success in medieval germany (franconia)

Spain:
la endogamia en la españa medieval
civicness in spain by region

Italy:
inbreeding in italy
exogamous marriage in northern medieval italy
Those Who Can See: Chalk and cheese

Greece:
ελλάδα
more on greece

Russia and Eastern Europe:
mating patterns in medieval eastern europe
medieval russian mating patterns
traditional family systems in medieval russia
the zadruga
russians, eastern europeans, runs of homozygosity (roh), and inbreeding
mating patterns in baltic populations

The Balkans:
balkan endogamy
more on albanians

The Low Countries:
trees and frisians

Scandinavia:
inbreeding in sweden
inbreeding in 18th and 19th century sweden
the law of jante
(on Iceland) random notes: 09/06/13
EDIT, 12/14/14: mating patterns in medieval norway

There are several historical correlates with this pattern. The earliest was the spread of manorialism:

extent-and-spread-of-manorialism

This spread follows the Hajnal line and roughly tracks areas where there were low rates of inbreeding. Indeed, HBD Chick hypothesized that the manor system contributed to the breakdown of the clans and made cousin marriage considerably more difficult.

This pattern also follows the spread of Christianity, as seen on this map featured over at Dusk in Autumn:

europe
As may be obvious from my map of inbreeding in Europe at the beginning of the post, it appears (we believe) that outbreeding originated in the area around Northeastern France/the Low Countries and Southern England and spread outward from there in all directions. And indeed, perhaps this was the case.

As HBD Chick discusses, the disappearance of references to Germanic kindreds (the Germanic version of the clan, see medieval germanic kindreds … and the ditmarsians | hbd* chick and more on medieval germanic kindreds | hbd* chick) also follows this pattern:

coop-et-al-mean-within-country-ibd-rates-phillpotts-kindreds-03

(In that post – ibd rates and kindreds in germanic populations – HBD Chick also examines the samples used in Ralph’s and Coop’s analysis. Some, unfortunately, were woefully small.)

The decline in violence across Europe during the past millennium, which was discussed by Steven Pinker in his book The Better Angels of Our Nature, (discussed here: “violence around the world” | hbd* chick)…

pinker-fig-3-3…also follows this pattern…

pinker-eisner-reduction-of-homicide-in-europe-over-time-02

…as seen from this map drawn by HBD Chick (see historic european homicide rates … and the hajnal line).

As well, supporting the notion that some European countries possess distinct regional variation within them in how inbred their populations are, we have these pieces:

For Britain (from traditional family systems in medieval britain and ireland | hbd* chick):

todd-traditional-family-systems-of-europe-medieval-british-isles

Germany (and Poland):

wvs-1999-membership-civic-organizations-germany-and-poland-by-longitude

Italy (take your pick):

And Spain (from here and here, respectively):

Reinforcing the pattern we see across Europe and much of the world are the results of the World’s Values Survey:

wvs-culture-mapThe Northwestern European countries are in a group by themselves. Indeed, this plot excellently follows the east-west divide that exists in Europe, and does an excellent job of catching the north-south divide as well. As per HBD Chick’s hypothesis, the Islamic countries – which are the most inbred of them all – cluster on an opposite pole to the Northwestern European ones.

This correlates to the rates of civic involvement seen across these countries, also discussed by HBD Chick (here and here):

wvs-membership-voluntary-organizations-totals

EDIT: Also, HBD Chick has recently posted a table of ranking nations of their individualistic vs. collectivist tendencies, from Geert Hofstede’s Dimensions. Here, the pattern in the same, Northwest European countries rank highly (with Anglos ranking highest), with more inbred countries, particularly Latin American and Muslim countries ranking lowest (see national individualism-collectivism scores).

Further reinforcing our estimation of historic levels of inbreeding across various parts of Europe and the Middle East, as seen on my map, is the fact that many of these countries (the Islamic world) are still actively inbreeding (from consang.net):

GlobalcolorsmallEuropeans – and for that matter East Asians – have, by in large, ceased inbreeding in the 20th century by the latest. However, first cousin marriage – particularly the highly incestuous father’s brother’s daughter type – is still the rule in the Muslim world, which means that they should be far more inbred than even the most inbred Europeans could hope to be. This gives rise to, according to HBD Chick’s hypothesis, the many fairly unique pathologies found in the Muslim world (also here, Those Who Can See: Arabs and Liberal Democracy: A Primer).

To briefly mention, the problems found in East Asia – particularly China – may be also related to their historically high rates of cousin marriage. See (from HBD chick) abridged history of cousin marriage in china, crash course in chinese clans, and the problem with china. Korea and especially Japan may experience fewer of these problems because they may be further along the “outbreeding” process, as I’ll soon discuss.

(As well, many might note that HBD Chick’s analysis generally doesn’t focus on sub-Saharan Africa much. The current idea is that a type of de facto inbreeding existed there thanks to sub-Saharan Africa’s high rates of polygyny: see monogamy, serial monogamy, and polygamy | hbd* chick. This leads to a form of tribalism that is perhaps significantly less structured than forms elsewhere – perhaps in part due to historically low rates of paternal investment and high male-on-male competition for mates. Also, as HBD Chick noted, the fairly high levels of civicness found in Blacks may be titled towards exclusive, self/in-group interested forms rather than the truly exclusive, out-group oriented ones seen in NW Euros – see: good civicness vs. bad civicness | hbd* chick )

It’s hard to escape the observation that there might be a “sweet spot” when it comes to clannishness (and hence perhaps inbreeding). This is apparently centered somewhere around level “3”. At that level, you get most of the advantages of outbreeding, including liberal democracy, functional institutions, and a high-trust society, but retain a certain level of nationalism and ethnic cohesion that allows the society to resist opening itself to non-reciprocating outsiders, as the most outbred Northwestern Europeans apparently have. Some of these countries in the 3-4 range seem to lack much of the deleterious universalist sentiments found in those scoring 1-2. This may be the case in Finland & Japan, and might explain the interesting “in-between” characteristics these societies have.

And on that point, here are a few more maps that demonstrate the somewhat detrimental universalism of outbred Northwest Europeans:

A general pattern emerges where the least inbred European countries accept the most foreigners, particularly non-European ones (especially Muslims). (The high immigrant populations in the ex-Soviet states are mostly Russians; those in Ireland are primarily from Britain. Spain is on the fence because most of its immigrants are from its former colonies in Latin America.)

Now indeed, to place HBD-Chick’s hypothesis on the most solid footing, we should ideally examine the genetic data to get firmer estimates of the level of long-term inbreeding in these populations, rather than relying primarily on historical data and the traits of modern peoples. This is an undertaking we might pursue in the manner Razib Khan suggested, and this might be a project we will soon address. However, the genetic data we have analyzed so far does support HBD Chick’s hypothesis.

Also, it’s worth noting that historic rates of inbreeding are just one selective force among many (not the least of which being the effects of manorialism, of strong states, and of internal population replacement ala Gregory Clark/Ron Unz) which act on a population (which may act synergistically to produce the traits we see), and close analysis may not reveal a perfect association between modern clannishness and historical rates of inbreeding, perhaps due to the vagaries of other selective forces that have been acting on these populations. I’d be remiss to not mention the effect of geography, climate, and topography on this (from Wikipedia):

Europe_topography_map_enMountains may contribute to inbreeding by making both farming and long-range travel difficult (favoring a pastoral way of life) – see the flatlanders vs. the mountain people | hbd* chick. That is not to say that mountain-dwelling always results in inbreeding; as we saw, the denizens of the Alps managed to avoid it. But it is one factor among many in shaping the selective forces acting upon a people. HBD Chick and I will continue to work, with the hope of getting to bottom of what is going on, as all science aims to accomplish.

For more, please see:

HBD Fundamentals: On the evolution of modern advanced civilized peoples

Also see this brand new post at Staffan’s Personality Blog: The Clannish World of Organized Crime

Edit 3/13/14: See also big summary post on the hajnal line | hbd* chick

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78 Comments

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  1. Staffan / Sep 7 2013 6:17 PM

    Nice, can’t see the first map though, maybe it’s my browser or something.

    I’m beginning to suspect that different kinds of inbreeding create different behaviors. Perhaps the conformism in Sweden is the results of everyone being more or less related rather than small groups being highly related? It just doesn’t look like a mild form of clannishness. Slovenia is also similar in its high inbreeding and yet low corruption and high openness. This types of inbreeding may show up as identical on meassures that average entire populations. Like some places in Africa where pygmies live with bantu people in some countries their average height wouldn’t tell us much about the actual situation.

    • JayMan / Sep 7 2013 6:25 PM

      I checked the map from a different IP, it does work, so maybe you want to try reloading it. It’s like the key bit from the post, man! 🙂 I was hoping to get your impressions in particular.

      As for the rest, yes, I agree. Japan seems to still be the exception however. They have a large (albeit, historically isolated) population, so perhaps that help to selection out clannishness? I do think that while it’s not a perfectly one-dimensional thing, it may be largely so. The investigation continues…

    • hbd chick / Sep 7 2013 9:07 PM

      @staffan – “Perhaps the conformism in Sweden is the results of everyone being more or less related rather than small groups being highly related?”

      the swedes (and other scandinavians) are an interesting case because, although you guys starting outbreeding relatively late (i think) — i.e. after converting to christianity — once you did start outbreeding, you took it very seriously! for instance, once the reformation happened, most of the newly minted protestant nations allowed cousin marriage again (because it isn’t prohibited in the bible), but sweden did NOT. there was a secular law that continued the ban up to the mid-1800s (which must’ve applied at some points also in denmark and/or norway? — my scandinavian history is more than a little fuzzy — can never keep track of when the kalmar and other unions were! (*^_^*) ). i really need to work on compiling the data for scandinavia.

      so, you guys seem to have applied the outbreeding practices very seriously from ca. 1000-1200 onwards. (good for you! maybe.) (^_^)

    • Amber / Sep 8 2013 5:30 AM

      Sometimes I wonder if the Japanese just mentally transferred their clan loyalties straight to the state.
      I hear they have civic clubs in Tokyo whose members go around cleaning public toilets.
      Historically, I don’t think there was a lot of internal movement in Japan, due to a pretty dictatorial state, which would tend to increase inbreeding, but that same dictatorial state really cut down on violence. And people who didn’t transfer their loyalty to the state probably got killed, too. So Japan is really just one big clan.

    • JayMan / Sep 8 2013 11:10 AM

      @Amber:

      Quite possibly. The traits we see depend on the fine details of the selective pressures the people were under.

    • JayMan / Sep 10 2013 3:58 PM

      @Amber:

      Historically, I don’t think there was a lot of internal movement in Japan, due to a pretty dictatorial state, which would tend to increase inbreeding, but that same dictatorial state really cut down on violence. And people who didn’t transfer their loyalty to the state probably got killed, too. So Japan is really just one big clan.

      Indeed, it would appear that way. How it got that way is not quite clear at this point.

  2. Lucky White Male / Sep 7 2013 8:12 PM

    Jayman excellent post again

    What are the inbreeding rates for European Jews? Specifically Ashkenazi. This is the real “money question”

    We know arranged marriages between cousins was the norm until at least the late 1800’s

    It was common wisdom in the Jewish community that you ‘don’t marry for love’ – you marry to create intelligent, competitive offspring

    Very interesting how the elite media and Hollywood has pushed for years the so-called backwardness of inbreeding. Get you looking the other way. The same thing with “eugenics”

    • hbd chick / Sep 7 2013 8:59 PM

      @luky white male – “What are the inbreeding rates for European Jews? Specifically Ashkenazi.”

      don’t have a lot of data on the mating patterns of european jews, yet. i suspect that it’s going to vary by region (and that european jews very often, but not always, copied the mating patterns of whatever population they happened to reside in). for instance, it seems that jews on mallorca — right up until the 20th century — married within their “clans” (although i’m not sure what, exactly, that means), and cousin marriage was reportedly common amongst jews in nineteenth century russia (how common, who knows?), but in nineteenth century alsace-lorraine, the cousin marriage rate for jews was only 2.3% (compared to ca. 1% for catholics in the region and ca. 0.2% for protestants).

      so, i think it’s going to vary across europe.

      hasidic jews, of course, marry uncle-nieces, but i don’t know for how long they’ve been doing that.

    • JayMan / Sep 7 2013 9:24 PM

      @Lucky White Male:
      Thank you!

      What are the inbreeding rates for European Jews? Specifically Ashkenazi. This is the real “money question”

      Razib Khan has two posts on that:
      Ashkenazi Jews are not inbred – Gene Expression
      Ashkenazi Jews are not inbred – 2 – Gene Expression | DiscoverMagazine.com

      In short, his analysis of the genetic data shows that Ashkenazi Jews are not more inbred than surrounding populations, which might fit with certain behaviors that they exhibit. That said, I suspect that “Eastern” Ashkenazis are more inbred than “Western” Ashkenazis – to the extent that that means anything. Also, see what HBD Chick said… 😉

    • Amber / Sep 8 2013 5:33 AM

      My personal experience with Jews is that they are not quite as clannish as they claim.

    • Amber / Sep 8 2013 5:35 AM

      I would add, as explanation, that if you have small groups of people which move around a lot and occasionally accept new members, the new members can add a great deal of genetic variety. Whereas if you’re stuck in one place, even if you’re trying to out-breed, sooner or later everyone’s your cousin.

    • JayMan / Sep 10 2013 3:59 PM

      @Amber:

      Whereas if you’re stuck in one place, even if you’re trying to out-breed, sooner or later everyone’s your cousin.

      Indeed. But that may not be so much of a problem. See here.

    • helvena / Sep 8 2013 4:34 PM

      Jews seem to think they are inbreeding. “Ashkenazim are a relatively homogeneous group despite their settlement in different European countries for centuries. The high prevalence of some 20 “Ashkenazi diseases” in this group dates from founder effects and bottlenecks in the era after 75 C.E. and between 1100 and 1400 C.E.” I tend to think they are not but this view is purely anecdotal. I suspect there are political and social reasons for Jews to think/be told they are.
      Y. Kleiman, DNA and Tradition (2004); E. Abel, Jewish Genetic Diseases (2001).
      jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0007_0_07175.html

    • Luke Lea / Sep 9 2013 4:32 PM

      Keep in mind that Ashkenazi Jews are all descended from European shicksas. I don’t mean that you will find a shicksa in every family tree. I mean that you find nothing but shicksas in every maternal line if you go back enough generations. When did this start? Not sure but I think the European Jewish population was quite small — in the thousands? — in early Medieval times. However, I am no expert.

  3. panjoomby / Sep 7 2013 8:35 PM

    this is out of my area (& out of my league), but it must matter WHO/WHOM is being inbred – e.g., if we practice the same pattern of inbreeding for centuries on a sub-saharan african pygmy tribe – vs. the that exact same pattern of inbreeding for centuries on say, British Isles types… (ideally we could have identical twins – one a pygmy & one a british isles-er, & nevermind! but the point is – different genetic material is being inbred into each system – so, different inputs (even with the same “catalyzing” inbreeding pattern/formula) may yield different results? (i’m trying not to invoke the old “GIGO” computer trope for inbreeding pygmies:) — i.e., do you think the relationship between level of inbreeding & whatever dependent variable — is the same for all groups?
    oddly, many of my liberal “race-is-a-social-construct” friends advocate mixing all races together to achieve a beige standard – presumably that would be the most outbred – therefore their beige “ideal” may harbor the same (or worse) suicidal-to-humans tendency seen in (overly) well-outbred types — perhaps the beige group would defer to different mammals:)
    thank you for your thought provoking (hard!) work – you are making an old intelligence researcher learn (new tricks:) or at least ask new questions – which is the best trick of all:)

    • hbd chick / Sep 7 2013 9:13 PM

      @panjoomby – “the point is – different genetic material is being inbred into each system – so, different inputs (even with the same “catalyzing” inbreeding pattern/formula) may yield different results?”

      absolutely! and some of the surrounding, environmental selection pressures may give different results, too. the semai of malaysia avoid marrying anyone closer than a second cousin (i don’t know for how long they’ve been doing that, though) — and they are a very peaceful, nonviolent population — but they didn’t/haven’t invented the western world or, say, liberal democracy (afaik!), since all of that was also dependent upon europe’s medieval agricultural system and manorialism and all of the subsequent, and consequent, economic developments since then.

      it’s definitely complicated!

    • Silva / Jun 17 2015 2:25 AM

      If everyone was ambiguously brown, the resulting behavior from the thesis wouldn’t be suicidal – the problem is equal treatment towards people who fail to return the favor, which wouldn’t happen in the former case. Though I’m not voicing any opinion on whether this is correct or the way to go.

  4. hbd chick / Sep 7 2013 8:48 PM

    fanTAStic post! THANK YOU! (^_^) (i will have to take a closer look at it during the week, though.)

  5. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater / Sep 7 2013 10:46 PM

    Low inbreeding in Iceland?

    • Greying Wanderer / Sep 8 2013 7:55 PM

      Low rate of marriage between 1st and 2nd cousins.

    • JayMan / Sep 10 2013 3:56 PM

      @Dr. Kenneth Noisewater:

      Yup.

  6. Cryocamera / Sep 8 2013 5:00 AM

    High inbreeding in Russia and low in Holland?hahahaha
    [JayMan: No personal attacks here, thanks. Last warning]
    Ethnic Russians,a roughly 50-50 genetic mix of finnic and slavonic nations are one of the least inbred nations of Europe.Holland on the other hand has one of the highest percentages.
    Read some history and genetics for a f* sake.

    • Amber / Sep 8 2013 5:45 AM

      Unlikely. At the very least, the average Dutch person has historically moved around more than the average Russian–the Dutch had colonies in the US, Africa, India, and Indonesia–whereas the average Russian peasant was tied to their land and would have married locally. I doubt the Soviets encouraged migration on the same scales as happened in the rest of Europe during the 1900s, but of course I could be wrong.

      BTW, there’s no good reason to be rude to Jay. He clearly put a lot of effort into this post, and if you want to be helpful and provide good sources for genetic data, I’m sure people would be grateful.

    • Greying Wanderer / Sep 8 2013 8:01 PM

      @Cryo
      It’s not about the total population. Its about whether or not the total population is sub-divided into thousands of mini populations who marry their own close cousins.

    • JayMan / Sep 9 2013 1:14 PM

      Precisely! I think you may have hit the nail on the head.

    • JayMan / Sep 10 2013 3:56 PM

      @Cryocamera:

      Ethnic Russians,a roughly 50-50 genetic mix of finnic and slavonic nations are one of the least inbred nations of Europe.Holland on the other hand has one of the highest percentages.
      Read some history and genetics for a f* sake.

      You do see the links in the post, yes? That’s not the conclusion these sources reach.

      If you have some other information, please share it.

  7. Cryocamera / Sep 8 2013 5:02 AM

    And one more thing- corruption map?
    If you want to compare this sort of stuff,use pre-USSR maps. Communism is a massive shake to a national integrity and system of values.

  8. Staffan / Sep 8 2013 7:06 AM

    Yes, now I can see the map now, very nice. I’m beginning to think that you’re a geek like hbd chick. Unlike you, I find it hard to wrestle big data like this. But not all inbreeding is the same. While Sweden and Japan may display low levels of cousin marriages, they are isolated and like Amber pointed out, this means that everyone is fairly related after a while. I think of this as grainy inbreeding, meaning small groups of highly related individuals, and smooth inbreeding where everyone is moderately related. Perhaps Slovenia, a bit of a paradox here, can also be a case of smooth inbreeding but of a higher degree than Sweden and Japan. They are not especially intelligent (IQ 95) but have less corruption and violence than most countries, especially for that IQ-level.

    It also occurred to me that violence should be adjusted for social control if we want to establish the characteristics of a people. Many Muslim countries have low murder rates but when people from these countries emigrate to more free countries they become very violent and account for a lot of the murders in their new countries. A beast in a cage is still a beast, to put it politically incorrect.

    • Greying Wanderer / Sep 8 2013 8:04 PM

      “But not all inbreeding is the same”

      The total size of the population must be a factor. If you imagine a population with maximal out-breeding the average level of relatedness of that population at the end of the process will be different for a population of 100,000, or one million or ten million.

    • JayMan / Sep 10 2013 4:11 PM

      @Staffan:

      But not all inbreeding is the same. While Sweden and Japan may display low levels of cousin marriages, they are isolated and like Amber pointed out, this means that everyone is fairly related after a while. I think of this as grainy inbreeding, meaning small groups of highly related individuals, and smooth inbreeding where everyone is moderately related. Perhaps Slovenia, a bit of a paradox here, can also be a case of smooth inbreeding but of a higher degree than Sweden and Japan. They are not especially intelligent (IQ 95) but have less corruption and violence than most countries, especially for that IQ-level.

      That’s definitely a working thought.

      It also occurred to me that violence should be adjusted for social control if we want to establish the characteristics of a people. Many Muslim countries have low murder rates but when people from these countries emigrate to more free countries they become very violent and account for a lot of the murders in their new countries. A beast in a cage is still a beast, to put it politically incorrect.

      Indeed. Peter Frost described something similar. In short, people in these countries expect their transgressions to be met with violent retribution. When it isn’t, they keep right on offending.

    • asdasd / Oct 23 2015 12:57 AM

      >Perhaps Slovenia, a bit of a paradox here

      Dude it’s simpler, the map is wrong. There is no strong cut-off in the gradient from Italy to Slovenia. Inbreeding has been forbidden in Slovenia a long time ago.

      Also I bet the IQ data for Slovenia is wrong, if you check data for Italy, the region bordering Slovenia (Friuli) scores the highest in IQ (103).

      http://www.issm.cnr.it/personale/malanima/articoli/ITALY_NorthSouth.pdf

    • JayMan / Oct 23 2015 5:39 AM

      That doesn’t mean that Slovenia itself has such a high average IQ.

    • asdasd / Oct 23 2015 8:00 AM

      It doesn’t, but such a high drop (103->95) is unlikely. There is also data that suggests otherwise. It’s actually the only study that uses an actual IQ test (!) to compare average IQs of different European cities. Zagreb in Croatia scores 105.7, while Rome scores a bit lower (103.8)

      http://emilkirkegaard.dk/sites/default/files/files/Average%20IQ%20values%20in%20various%20European%20countries.pdf

    • JayMan / Oct 23 2015 8:04 AM

      Dude, please don’t make me go over the problem of generalizing from cities to the whole nation yet again. Read: discussion stops here, unless you have something worthwhile to say.

    • asdasd / Dec 6 2016 7:31 PM

      did you see new Slovenia PISA results (2015)?

  9. chrisdavies09 / Sep 8 2013 1:11 PM

    This is an all-round excellent summary you put together here Jayman.

    “However, one incongruity appears to be Italy, and to a lesser extent, Spain and Greece. At least with the former two, a key problem is that we don’t know what the regional breakdown would look like, and as my map makes clear, there should be a sharp regional divergence in historic inbreeding rates across these countries..”

    Looking at inbred ‘nodal’ populations identified by lack of diversity of HLA haplotypes [eg due to founder effects, population bottlenecks or constrictions, etc.]:-

    Italy: Sardinia is VERY inbred [Corsica also].

    Spain: Populations in several areas of Basque country are very inbred [eg Gipuzkoa].

    Also, Ireland is severely lacking in diversity of haplotypes, probably as they are most closely related to an Ice Age refuge population from which Europe was partially repopulated, [albeit with small contributions from Iberia and Western France in the Neolithic and Bronze Age].

  10. Greying Wanderer / Sep 8 2013 7:45 PM

    excellent

  11. Staffan / Sep 9 2013 6:16 AM

    “The total size of the population must be a factor. If you imagine a population with maximal out-breeding the average level of relatedness of that population at the end of the process will be different for a population of 100,000, or one million or ten million.”

    So maybe we should look at islanders. My guess is that they may be inbred but not necessarily clannish. There is of course the obstacle of measures. Swedes score deceptively high on individualism, but in reality there is a politically correct conformism. I’m thinking a better measure of individualism/conformism would be the variation if views, attitudes, way of living etc. I mean, if everyone loves gay people, that’s not individualism.

    • JayMan / Sep 9 2013 1:14 PM

      So maybe we should look at islanders. My guess is that they may be inbred but not necessarily clannish.

      Indeed. I think Iceland falls under this effect. They are inbred because of isolation, but not because they have preferentially mated with cousins. I think a key question is whether the population is merely all closely related, or fractured into distinct clans who are even more closely related to each other than everyone in the population is related. I think that’s a big part of it.

      Swedes score deceptively high on individualism, but in reality there is a politically correct conformism. I’m thinking a better measure of individualism/conformism would be the variation if views, attitudes, way of living etc. I mean, if everyone loves gay people, that’s not individualism.

      I think that type of conformism is an on a separate dimension from individualism vs. clannishness as HBD Chick would describe it. Swedes are individualistic in the sense that they do feel any particularly family loyalty, but at the same time, like the Japanese (lots of similarities between Scandis/Finns and Japanese), they go with the flow of the group. That group so happens to be the entire nation. That would seem to fit into HBD Chick’s commonweal orientation.

  12. Luke Lea / Sep 9 2013 11:15 AM

    Wow, look at the former Yugoslavia on that top map! Is that Ottoman influence, or what?

    • Anthony / Sep 9 2013 11:58 AM

      Ottoman influence, Islam in Bosnia and Kosovo, the whole country is mountainous, religious rivalries limit people’s mating pools even within villages, etc.

    • JayMan / Sep 9 2013 1:03 PM

      Mountains, and presumably a closely related group of people to begin with.

  13. Patrick Boyle / Sep 9 2013 5:06 PM

    Recently John Stossel the Libertarian Fox News anchor had a show in which he debunked certain popular myths. One of these was that it was somehow bad to marry your cousin. Stossel confidently announced that cousin marriage qualms were old fashion and the prejudice against marrying your cousin was a myth. Go ahead he said – marry your cousin – it’s alright.

    • Sisyphean / Sep 10 2013 10:12 AM

      @Patrick Boyle

      This would be fine advice, if it were appearing on a liberal channel, maybe Colbert or Maddow… Those people could use a little inbreeding here and there. With Stossel on Fox I’m thinking we’ve already got a relatively inbred audience so it’ll only compound the problem. Assuming continued bifurcation of the US population is a problem, which I’m not sure it is. It could be a problem for some, namely those living in the borderland areas (such as myself) where the fighting typically takes place were we to see a balkanization of the US. I’m not convinced that will be happening any time soon, but I do see it as a possible natural outcome in time.

      I’m beginning to wonder if the reason why I don’t identify with liberals or conservatives might be that I am half and half, a mix of more inbred european stock (polish/Irish) with less inbred (English, German). To me both perspectives are foolish in their own ways. Outbred liberals seem to think everyone is the same and we can all live together in harmony if only we’re all taught perfect puritan manners (i.e. parented and schooled correctly to accept everyone for who they are) It never seems to cross their minds that their children are accepting, because the parents are, not because they’re taught to be. On the other hand we’ve got the more inbred folks who are family focused, patriotic, but somehow also hate the government for anything it does that isn’t about defending the borders and teaching other groups who’s boss. This attitude worked great back in the middle ages and it might be good to keep out floods of immigrants but it leaves something to be desired in a world where so many countries have nuclear arsenals.

      On the other hand, being someone in the middle ground doesn’t necessarily give me a correct understanding of the situation. Mine is just one other point of view, though one that feels alien to almost everyone.

  14. helvena / Sep 10 2013 11:36 AM

    It would be interesting to look into how inbreed Haiti is and compare that finding to Iceland and to the Dominican Republic espcially given Haiti’s history.

    • Anthony / Sep 10 2013 1:47 PM

      My guesses: Iceland is most inbred because the population is smaller. Even though they mostly don’t marry first or second cousins, they do end up marrying third and fourth cousins a lot, because everyone there is related at that level. Haiti is more inbred than the Dominican Republic for a few reasons: Haiti’s population is almost entirely African in origin – they’ve driven out most of the Americans and Europeans; while the Dominican population is a mix of African, European, and American. The Dominican Republic’s Catholicism is more orthodox, and thus people are more likely to observe the cousin-marriage ban. The Dominican Republic speaks Spanish, so there is some cross-fertilization with other Spanish-speaking countries (even if most of that happens in New York).

    • JayMan / Sep 10 2013 4:13 PM

      @Anthony:

      My guesses: Iceland is most inbred because the population is smaller. Even though they mostly don’t marry first or second cousins, they do end up marrying third and fourth cousins a lot, because everyone there is related at that level.

      Indeed. See a recent comment of mine over at HBD Chick’s.

  15. M.G. / Sep 10 2013 3:55 PM

    JayMan, you have a real gift for (among other things) bringing together a treasure trove of pertinent links and maps on a topic into one succint post. My hat is off to you, this post is now my go-to reference on the subject. Outstanding.

    • JayMan / Sep 10 2013 4:14 PM

      @M.G.:
      Thank you!

  16. Mark Robinson / Sep 10 2013 4:13 PM

    Iceland must be extremely inbred.

  17. Nelson / Sep 12 2013 1:30 AM

    @JayMan:
    I’ll be honest, I’ve no idea how you’re able to synthesize all these data into posts like these, given your other preoccupations (Don’t know about you, but for me, writing an HBD post is like a class project – do the research, write the paper, cite the sources, etc. Takes a while to do…). Notwithstanding, this is quite an informative post!

    @helvena:
    While I don’t have the exact answer re: inbreeding in Haiti, I did write a blog post on the D.R. and Haiti some time ago that may offer some perspective:
    HBD: An Abbreviated History of Quisqueya and the Rise of Today’s Dominicans (and Haitians) :: Concourse Expressions

    Yours is an interesting question; perhaps differences in inbreeding/outbreeding may have some explanatory power re: differences between Dominicans and Haitians (and elsewhere in the Caribbean and Central/South America, areas that I’m either actively researching or will research in due time).

  18. Rome's Creature / Sep 15 2013 12:26 AM

    @Sisyphean:

    Alien perspectives can’t hurt. I’m Hispanic and began my journey as an atheistic progressive, gradually shifting rightward until arriving at reactionary Euro-nationalism. Genes seem to assert themselves more with age.

    I don’t think White America’s conservative future will provoke Armageddon. The Cavaliers (and even the Appalachians) are far less likely to hit the red button than some African or Asian despot. Pakistan and Israel having nuclear weapons is already bad enough.

  19. ctcam / Mar 7 2014 9:19 AM

    Perhaps this is also part of the puzzle in black and white disparities, heterozygous advantage maybe?
    There is evidence that heterozygosity is something that humans actively select for in mates, as well as selecting genetically dissimilar partners to produce more heterozygous offspring.
    http://www.researchgate.net/publication/215555434_MHC-heterozygosity_and_human_facial_attractiveness
    http://ndt.oxfordjournals.org/content/15/9/1269.full

  20. Simon / Oct 23 2014 1:18 AM

    A lot of this looks questionable, some looks based on bias/prejudice/preconceived ideas. For instance the guestimate map of inbreeding seems to not explain why Scandinavians are known for genetic disorders like Haemochromatosis and Huntington’s diseases. I get the feeling research is being cherry picked for articles/data supporting someone’s pet theses.

    • JayMan / Oct 23 2014 9:02 PM

      @Simon:

      Getting this out of the way first:

      For instance the guestimate map of inbreeding seems to not explain why Scandinavians are known for genetic disorders like Haemochromatosis and Huntington’s diseases.

      Have you read Greg Cochran’s and Paul Ewald’s paper on pathogens? They argue that such mutations could occur at such a high frequency to protect against endemic pathogens, which makes the most sense.

      Second, although not made clear in the post (and perhaps in hindsight, it should be), when we say a population is “inbred,” we don’t necessarily mean that the average fellow in this population is more related to one of his compatriots than people in another population. We mean that individuals in this population are more related to their family members than are individuals in a less inbred population. It’s about strong between family genetic barriers, not low overall genetic diversity (which matters little from a natural selection standpoint). This is because the populations listed as more inbred have had histories of marrying within their own extended families, more recently so than those in less inbred societies. The within-family coefficient of relationship are higher in these inbred populations (or at least were in the not to distant past, since many of these formerly inbreeding populations have since switched to marriage outside the family). The selective pressures in these inbred societies were different, hence they retain a different set of behavioral traits.

      Please see the links for historical information on marriage patterns. As said in the post, the guestimate isn’t without basis in the evidence.

    • hbd chick / Oct 23 2014 11:24 PM

      @simon – “For instance the guestimate map of inbreeding seems to not explain why Scandinavians are known for genetic disorders like Haemochromatosis and Huntington’s diseases. I get the feeling research is being cherry picked for articles/data supporting someone’s pet theses.”

      neither haemochromatosis nor huntington’s have anything to do with close cousin marriages, which, as jayman pointed out, is what we mean by inbreeding in this context. both diseases can, of course, get concentrated in inbred lineages, but the inbreeding does not cause either of them.

      here’s what i’ve got on the history of inbreeding/outbreeding (i.e. cousin marriage or not) in sweden so far. i haven’t gotten around to the rest of scandinavia yet. you might also want to check all my other posts on the history of mating patterns in various other populations (see left-hand column toward the bottom of the page on my blog). you decide whether or not i’ve been cherry-picking:

      inbreeding in sweden
      inbreeding in 18th and 19th century sweden
      runs of homozygosity in the irish population (there’re some data there on the swedes)

  21. Leah Ma / Jul 25 2015 4:08 PM

    @Amber Hi, I was very interested in the comments about the Dutch. My granddaughters are half Dutch. Their father is from the Netherlands. We recently had DNA tests done on both of them. These left us wondering if there is really any such thing AS Dutch. When you said they moved around a lot–yeah! From their father they received so many different ethnicities–not one of which read Dutch!

    Our family has been researching ourselves for decades because we’re very diverse and when I married my husband I made it much more diverse. We did my husband’s DNA. He’s from Liao Ning in Manchuria. I just knew being that close to Mongolia and after discovering that our last name came from the Mongol horsemen–Ma meaning horse–that he had to be part Mongol. Also being so close to Korea, I knew he’d have some of that. And I was right! But he was also part Japanese, Native American and European! The last we’d already figured out because an uncle had auburn hair.

    We did our granddaughters because they’re nothing alike, looks, personality, character–although they’re both very nice girls. Turns out that the blond one (don’t know where that came from–genetics is weird) is 29% Asian and the one that actually looks a bit Asian is just 22%.

    Oh, my family (my brother did himself) came out part Japanese on our father’s side and this is just going back 500 years. They say one can come up with even stranger things if one goes back further. My husband has a rather rare haplogroup–D4E3.

  22. Anonymous / Oct 19 2015 5:47 PM

    So Montenegro and Albania are more inbred than Iceland? I for sure know that the high IBD rates in Albania and Kosovo are not due to inbreeding. In general it strikes me as quite surprising that the Balkans are made out be the most inbred area in Europe, when in fact inbreeding is known to have always been a huge taboo there. In the case of Albanians, it’s pretty clear: it had fertility rates above 6 children/woman up to the 70-80s (SSA levels, while at that time in Europe, it was below 2, so a very recent population growth from few families) and still today the highest in Europe (higher than Turkey, Tunisia or Iran in the case of Kosovo) with the youngest population in Europe. So the high IBD rates would probably much rather be attributed to the rapid growth rather than inbreeding. Just my 2 cents 😉

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