Average IQ Around the World

If you're wondering, "What is an IQ test?" you're in the right place.

IQ, which stands for intelligence quotient, is one way to measure a person's intelligence. To find your IQ, you take an IQ test here.

Intelligence isn't about how much you know — it's about how you think.

Properly administered IQ tests measure problem-solving abilities, memory, and more. Though someone with a high IQ might not always know many facts, they have a strong ability to learn.

You might have heard that the average IQ is around 100, but it's more complicated. Individual countries often have higher or lower average IQs.

Highest Average IQ Worldwide

Various studies have suggested that different countries have the highest IQ. Regardless of which study you look at, a few countries always come out near the top of the list.

Those countries are primarily East Asian. They include Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Korea. All of them have average IQs above 102.

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According to a 2019 study from the Ulster Institute for Social Research, Japan takes first place with an average IQ of 106.49. A 2010 study, also from the Ulster Institute, showed slightly different results.

It concluded that Hong Kong was the winner with an average IQ of 108.pdf.

Lowest Average IQ Worldwid

Studies disagree on the country with the lowest IQ. There are nonetheless recurring patterns. No matter which study you pick, you'll probably see that the nations with the lowest average IQs are very poor.

The 2010 Ulster Institute study that showed Hong Kong as the smartest country also mentioned some less fortunate nations. According to that research, Malawi has an average IQ of 60, making it the lowest in the world that year.

When considering the results of IQ research, it's vital to remember that poverty can impact measured IQ. For example, if a child grows up with inadequate nutrition, their IQ might be stunted. It doesn't necessarily mean that they were born less intelligent. Instead, it could mean that their circumstances presented severe limitations.

Additionally, performing IQ tests isn't always easy. Getting accurate results is a challenge in nations experiencing severe conflict and political upheaval.

North America

The average IQ in the United States is 98. Many individual states show higher or lower IQs, though. The smartest state is Massachusetts with an average IQ of 104.3. In contrast, Mississippi has an average IQ of 94.2.

After Massachusetts, these states have the highest IQs:

Aside from Mississippi, these states have the lowest IQs:

In Canada, the average IQ is 99.52. Other North American nations land somewhere below the U.S. and Canada.


Belarus and Finland have the highest average IQs in Europe at 101.6 and 101.2, respectively. Some scientists hypothesize that Finns are so intelligent because their culture prizes agreeableness and conscientiousness, both of which contribute to academic success. Even though IQ isn't about how much knowledge someone has, a good education can help children reach their full potential.

Meanwhile, Albania comes in last with an average IQ of 81.75.

South America

Suriname, the smallest South American country, has the biggest average IQ on the continent at 90.29. Guatemala is at the lowest end of the spectrum; according to different studies, the nation might have an average IQ of anything between 47 and 79. More research is necessary to accurately pin down Guatemala's true average IQ.


As noted earlier, Asia has the countries with the highest average IQs. The continent comprises more than just those wealthy, hyper-intelligent East Asian nations, though. Poorer Asian countries, like Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Palestine, have average IQs in the 70s and 80s.

Saudi Arabia's average IQ of 76.36 might seem puzzling at first since the country has immense wealth, but it makes more sense when you consider that the nation's laws limit women's potential.


Africa is the continent showing the lowest average IQ, but research on the topic might be flawed. Sub-Saharan African nations consistently lower the region's average IQ, but there are a lot of troubling factors to consider. Many of those nations are poor and war-torn

Some researchers also believe that studies in the area have not been rigorous enough. Other researchers believe that prejudice might play a role in the way Westerners collect and assess the data.


Australia, a country and continent in one, has an average IQ of 99.24. That makes it the 17th most intelligent nation on Earth.

Rising Over Time

Ever since IQ tests first came into being, average worldwide intelligence has risen. The psychologists who develop IQ tests regularly have to readjust scoring to keep the average IQ at 100.

Why is the world's IQ rising? There are a few reasons, but one is particularly compelling: poverty reduction. As nations become richer, their nutrition and public education improve, allowing children to experience greater security, health, and support. Though IQ isn't related to how many facts you know, childhood experiences have an impact. Poverty can interfere with a child’s intellectual development.


IQ is a fascinating and useful way to measure human intelligence. There are tons of benefits of using the measurement. It can help teachers determine which students need extra attention, and it’s strongly correlated with lifetime success.

Despite that, it's essential to consider other factors when assessing intelligence by region. Poorly constructed studies, poverty, and cultural differences can all obscure the true meaning of a country's average IQ. Fortunately, experts in human intelligence continue to improve IQ tests to make them more fair and objective.

If you want to discover your own IQ, check out this information about how to take an IQ test. Not all tests are created equal, and our guide will help you understand how to choose the right one for you.