IQ and success of Blacks


1. Average IQ of American Blacks:

"Members of all racial-ethnic groups can be found at every IQ level...The Bell Curve for whites is centered roughly around IQ 100; the Bell Curve for American blacks roughly around 85; and those for different subgroups of Hispanics roughly midway between those for whites and blacks." This is part of a public statement, signed by 52 internationally known scholars, first published in The Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, December 13, 1994. (Their full statement is at

The scholars' statement above is supported by data from SAT tests:

2001 SAT scores by Ethnic Group





Ethnic Group




Amer. Indian or Alaskan Native




Asian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander




African American or Black




Mexican or Mexican American




Puerto Rican




Other Hispanic or Latino













2. Average IQ in Black nations - the red items at the lower left (from: Click for actual IQ and income numbers.

Black countries have well below average IQ's, and most have low incomes, as shown above.. It seems there is an IQ threshold to be reached before a country can get off the ground economically. One reader of this web site has provided an interesting analysis and graph of the effect of minority white populations in black countries. Another reader argues that white genes appear to have little effect on black IQ scores. His views are somewhat contradicted by the following research:

3. Opinion of Richard Lynn (from his website Lynn is the author of IQ and the Wealth of Nations, source of the IQ data in the above chart.

In 1991 I extended my work on race differences in intelligence to other races. I concluded that the average IQ of blacks in sub-Saharan Africa is approximately 70. It has long been known that the average IQ of blacks in the United States is approximately 85. The explanation for the higher IQ of American blacks is that they have about 25 per cent of Caucasian genes and a better environment.

update in 2002: Skin color and intelligence in African Americans, in
Population and Environment
, 2002, 23, 365-375.
Presents new evidence showing conclusively for the first time that lighter skinned blacks have higher IQs than darker skinned blacks. This supports the theory that the proportion of white ancestry is a determinant of the intelligence of African Americans.

4. Opinion of Sloan, author of this website I have a more optimistic view of the future for blacks in America. Yes, most experts would agree that average IQ for African-Americans is fifteen points below the average IQ for other Americans. But those same experts also agree that factors other than IQ (like social skills) account for MOST of the success of an individual. (See All evidence points to no racial differences in the average level of these other success traits. It is unfortunate that so much is made of the low test results in the schools of Washington DC or Oakland CA. Their largely black students grow up thinking they will be failures. If such students could spend some school time working on their improvable non-IQ skills, they would become more successful in the job market. IQ is largely fixed, so efforts to make black academic scores match country averages are not likely to succeed. But non-IQ success skills for blacks could easily match and perhaps surpass similar skills of whites. Look at all our successful, personable, black TV personalities!

One reader writes: Again, I will always be a fan on your IQ website and will visit and read everything here, especially how you deal sensitively with the issue of race - not like the book on "Bell Curve". I find it very interesting and very fascinating.

Go to: Analysis of IQ and social skills in Africa

Go to: Inner city education - varying opinions

Go to: Race makes no difference in social skills, unlike IQ

Go to: Questions and Answers on race/ IQ issues

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Web (this website, 170+ pages on IQ and Success skills)

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