Historical IQ Tests on Immigrants

What a 1922 IQ test of immigrants to America tells us about intelligence, race and prejudice.

Immigrants to the US on Ellis Island

The Fear of Racially Inferior Groups

The sentiment back in 1922 was not all that different from what Trump echoed, when in January 2018 he said:

The “Evidence” of Racial Inferiority

To convince the reader of the need to limit immigration from southern Europe, Kimball Young presents a variety of tests that always puts southern Europeans far behind. One of these tests is this IQ test table (page 422, Table III):

Race            Median IQ
Spanish 78
Portugeuse 84
Italians 84
North-Europeans 105

What to Make of This?

What can we learn from all of this? Read the original excerpts and pay attention to the argumentation. Keep this in mind when listening to the “race realists” of today, people like Charles Murray and Richard Lynn. We are just seeing a rehash of old arguments and old prejudices applied to new groups of people.

The Problem with Heritability Claims About IQ

The problem is well-illustrated by the picture below. If you plant seeds in two different pots and keep nutrition and light completely uniform in each pot, then the variation in height between plots within a pot will be 100% determined by their genetic makeup. This will result in the height being measured as a 100% heritable trait.

Obesity rates as a percentage of total population in OECD member countries in the years 1996–2003.

Geek dad, living in Oslo, Norway with passion for UX, Julia programming, science, teaching, reading and writing.

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