Smartest Countries 2022

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Determining which countries are the smartest in the world is difficult because there are so many different factors that can be considered.

  • Would the smartest country be the one with the most literate citizens?
  • Maybe the smartest countries in the world would be those whose residents had the highest average IQ score country-wide?
  • Or is the smartest country the one that has the highest percentage of extremely smart people?
  • Could it even be the country whose citizens have earned the most Nobel Prizes?
  • Standardized test scores could be another method of determining which nations are the smartest—if only it was possible to craft and administer a single standardized test that could accurately measure every aspect of intelligence in every person in every culture (and speaking every language) in every country.

Obviously, there exist challenges to any attempt to land on a single clear-and-simple answer. Nonetheless, population and intelligence experts continue to devise new methods and approaches that bring them closer and closer to a realistic ranking of the world's smartest countries.

Some of the best-known and more widely publicized studies of world intelligence are 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. The top of the list looks as follows (scroll to the table at the bottom of the page for the rest).

Top 10 Smartest Countries by IQ - Ulster Institute 2019:*

  1. Japan - 106.49
  2. Taiwan - 106.47
  3. Singapore - 105.89
  4. Hong Kong (China) - 105.37
  5. China - 104.10
  6. South Korea - 102.35
  7. Belarus - 101.60
  8. Finland - 101.20
  9. Liechtenstein - 101.07
  10. Netherlands & Germany (tie) - 100.74

*It would be irresponsible to neglect to mention 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. Others accuse Lynn, an outspoken eugenicist, of using his data to support scientifically inaccurate theories that promote white supremacist beliefs.

The Link between Education and Intelligence

Education and intelligence are closely linked, as a more robust educational system tends to produce a more intelligent populace over time. With this in mind, some studies use the educational rankings of various countries as a basis for comparisons of intelligence. In 2018, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released its triennial PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) results, which compared the reading, math, and science testing scores of more than 600,000 students in 79 countries. The top 10 appear below.

Top 10 Smartest Countries Based on Reading, Math and Science - OECD PISA 2018:

  1. China - 555, 591, 590
  2. Singapore - 549, 569, 551
  3. Macau (China) - 525, 558, 544
  4. Hong Kong (China) - 524, 551, 517
  5. Estonia - 523, 523, 530
  6. Canada - 520, 512, 518
  7. Finland - 520, 507, 522
  8. Ireland - 518, 500, 496
  9. Korea - 514, 526, 519
  10. Poland - 512, 516, 511

Another OECD study, which used multiple data points including adult education level, chose Canada as the most intelligent nation. Japan placed second, while Israel came in third. Other high-ranking nations include Korea, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and Finland.

One of the more creative studies of intelligence is the 2017 Intelligence Capital Index, or ICI, which used several factors to determine not the smartest nations overall, but which nations were 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.

Top 10 Countries with the Highest Intelligence Capital Index - 2017:

  1. United States - 74.88 (A+)
  2. United Kingdom - 64.19 (A)
  3. Germany - 64.18 (A)
  4. Australia - 63.96 (A)
  5. Singapore - 63.60 (A)
  6. Sweden - 61.58 (A)
  7. Switzerland - 61.57 (A)
  8. Canada - 61.15 (A)
  9. Finland - 60.45 (A)
  10. Denmark - 60.25 (A)

Here are the 10 countries with the highest IQs:

  1. Japan (106.48)
  2. Taiwan (106.47)
  3. Singapore (105.89)
  4. Hong Kong (105.37)
  5. China (104.1)
  6. South Korea (102.35)
  7. Belarus (101.6)
  8. Finland (101.2)
  9. Liechtenstein (101.07)
  10. Germany (100.74)

Smartest Countries 2022

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Smartest Countries 2022

Country IQ 2022 Population
Japan106.48125,584,838
Taiwan106.4723,888,595
Singapore105.895,943,546
Hong Kong105.377,604,299
China104.11,448,471,400
South Korea102.3551,329,899
Belarus101.69,432,800
Finland101.25,554,960
Liechtenstein101.0738,387
Germany100.7483,883,596
Netherlands100.7417,211,447
Estonia100.721,321,910
Luxembourg99.87642,371
Macau99.82667,490
Cambodia99.7517,168,639
Canada99.5238,388,419
Australia99.2426,068,792
Hungary99.249,606,259
Switzerland99.248,773,637
United Kingdom99.1268,497,907
Greenland98.8956,973
North Korea98.8225,990,679
Slovenia98.62,078,034
New Zealand98.574,898,203
Austria98.389,066,710
Iceland98.26345,393
Denmark97.835,834,950
Belgium97.4911,668,278
United States97.43334,805,269
Norway97.135,511,370
Sweden9710,218,971
France96.6965,584,518
Poland96.3537,739,785
Slovakia96.325,460,193
Russia96.29145,805,947
Lithuania95.892,661,708
Croatia95.754,059,286
Andorra95.277,463
Ireland95.135,020,199
Czech Republic94.9210,736,784
Latvia94.791,848,837
Italy94.2360,262,770
Vanuatu93.92321,832
New Caledonia93.92290,915
Spain93.946,719,142
Bermuda93.4861,939
Cyprus93.391,223,387
Portugal92.7710,140,570
Israel92.438,922,892
Barbados91.6288,023
Malta91.27444,033
Myanmar91.1855,227,143
Mongolia91.033,378,078
Bulgaria90.996,844,597
Greece90.7710,316,637
Suriname90.29596,831
Ukraine90.0743,192,122
Moldova89.984,013,171
Serbia89.68,653,016
Vietnam89.5398,953,541
Iraq89.2842,164,965
Uzbekistan89.0134,382,084
Kazakhstan88.8919,205,043
Thailand88.8770,078,203
Armenia88.822,971,966
Bosnia And Herzegovina88.543,249,317
Costa Rica88.345,182,354
Bhutan87.94787,941
Chile87.8919,250,195
Mexico87.73131,562,772
Tajikistan87.719,957,464
Uruguay87.593,496,016
Malaysia87.5833,181,072
Brunei87.58445,431
Bahamas86.99400,516
Romania86.8819,031,335
Turkey86.885,561,976
Argentina86.6346,010,234
Sri Lanka86.6221,575,842
Mauritius86.561,274,727
Turkmenistan85.866,201,943
Montenegro85.78627,950
Trinidad And Tobago85.631,406,585
Azerbaijan84.8110,300,205
Georgia84.53,968,738
Turks And Caicos Islands84.2939,741
Paraguay84.047,305,843
Fiji83.96909,466
Solomon Islands83.96721,159
Samoa83.96202,239
Kiribati83.96123,419
Micronesia83.96117,489
Tonga83.96107,749
Marshall Islands83.9660,057
Cook Islands83.9617,571
Cuba83.911,305,652
Bahrain83.61,783,983
Brazil83.38215,353,593
Guyana83.23794,045
Colombia83.1351,512,762
Venezuela82.9929,266,991
Cayman Islands82.2467,277
Afghanistan82.1240,754,388
Haiti82.111,680,283
Dominican Republic82.0511,056,370
United Arab Emirates82.0510,081,785
Puerto Rico81.992,829,812
North Macedonia81.912,081,304
Albania81.752,866,374
Lebanon81.76,684,849
Philippines81.64112,508,994
Peru81.4433,684,208
Northern Mariana Islands81.3658,269
Laos80.997,481,023
Libya80.927,040,745
Qatar80.782,979,915
Jordan80.710,300,869
Maldives80.54540,985
Iran80.0186,022,837
Pakistan80229,488,994
Grenada79.34113,475
Tunisia79.2212,046,656
Kyrgyzstan79.096,728,271
Panama794,446,964
Sudan78.8745,992,020
Chad78.8717,413,580
Seychelles78.7699,426
Oman78.75,323,993
Kuwait78.644,380,326
Indonesia78.49279,134,505
Papua New Guinea78.499,292,169
Timor Leste78.491,369,429
Ecuador78.2618,113,361
Palestine77.695,345,541
Senegal77.3717,653,671
Comoros77.07907,419
Madagascar76.7929,178,077
British Virgin Islands76.6930,596
Bolivia76.5311,992,656
Uganda76.4248,432,863
Saudi Arabia76.3635,844,909
Egypt76.32106,156,692
India76.241,406,631,776
Algeria7645,350,148
Kenya75.256,215,221
Angola75.135,027,343
Jamaica75.082,985,094
Tanzania74.9563,298,550
Syria74.4119,364,809
Bangladesh74.33167,885,689
Zimbabwe74.0115,331,428
Burkina Faso73.822,102,838
Saint Lucia73.68185,113
Mozambique72.533,089,461
Burundi72.0912,624,840
Niger70.8226,083,660
Antigua And Barbuda70.4899,509
Saint Kitts And Nevis70.4853,871
Rwanda69.9513,600,464
Benin69.7112,784,726
Malawi69.720,180,839
El Salvador69.636,550,389
Botswana69.452,441,162
South Africa68.8760,756,135
Lesotho68.872,175,699
Eswatini68.871,184,817
Eritrea68.773,662,244
Zambia68.4319,470,234
Ethiopia68.42120,812,698
Djibouti68.411,016,097
Nigeria67.76216,746,934
Cameroon67.7627,911,548
Somalia67.6716,841,795
Morocco67.0337,772,756
Namibia66.192,633,874
Dominica66.0372,344
Sao Tome And Principe65.22227,679
DR Congo64.9295,240,792
Saint Vincent And the Grenadines63.42111,551
Republic of the Congo62.975,797,805
Gabon62.972,331,533
Yemen62.8631,154,867
Central African Republic62.555,016,678
Belize62.55412,190
Honduras62.1610,221,247
Togo59.838,680,837
Mali59.7621,473,764
Mauritania59.764,901,981
South Sudan58.6111,618,511
Ghana58.1632,395,450
Ivory Coast58.1627,742,298
Guinea53.4813,865,691
Nicaragua52.696,779,100
Gambia52.682,558,482
Cape Verde52.5567,678
Guatemala47.7218,584,039
Sierra Leone45.078,306,436
Liberia45.075,305,117
Nepal42.9930,225,582

Smartest Countries 2022

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