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Average Filipino IQ is only 86

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#1 Joe Kano

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 12:52 PM

According to the book IQ and the Wealth of Nations by Dr. Lynn, the average IQ of Filipinos is only 86, (85 – 115 considered the average range on the bell-shaped curve), ranking down there with countries like Lebanon, Cuba and Iran. http://en.wikipedia....l?curid=638066.

The average IQ of Americans is considered to be around 100, Japan 105 and Hong Kong 107. Anybody who’s traveled directly from the Philippines to Japan or Hong Kong would probably agree with that assessment. The difference between the Philippines and those two Asian countries in terms of cleanliness, efficiency, and innovation is clearly apparent, even startling.

Whether the lower cognitive functioning is the result of malnutrition, genetics, poor neonatal care, cultural values or a “slave mentality” and children not being taught problem-solving skills as Senseless suggested in the recent “Catholic Country vs Unmarried Girls” thread, is unclear. Maybe a combination.

As unfair as it may sound, the author may just have a point. Some behaviors attributed to high intelligence are acquiring knowledge, problem-solving abilities, abstract reasoning, persistence, flexible thinking, ingenuity, originality, insightfulness, questioning authority and tradition, and setting long-term goals. Are these characteristics you would normally associated with Filipinos? Or are behaviors like believing in senseless superstitions, living day to day, going to church only to cover metaphysical bases, high birth rate, acceptance of corruption as a way of life, short-term thinking like destroying reefs by fishing with dynamite and the obsession with karaoke machines and WOWOWEE paint a more accurate picture?

Now don’t get me wrong. Filipinos are a wonderful people - sunny, happy and seemingly carefree. They love to smile, laugh, sing and party, are generous and have strong family values – attributes some would say are more important than intelligence. But that old joke of “Give a Filipino a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and he’ll break the fishing rod up for firewood” may not be that far from the truth if the study's findings are to be believed.

In your observations of the Philippine people and the way they do things, how many times have you said to yourself, “Wow, that’s brilliant, simply ingenious!”, compared to “What the f*** are they thinking? If they just did it this other way instead, it would be much ____ , (fill in the blank: easier, quicker, safer, healthier, efficient, etc.)?”

#2 Cary

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 1:04 PM

This is eye-opening Joe. And like you said its sounds unfair on the surface. That said, as with any study, and yes they had to do a study to get the iq ave., the results many times are based on the producer of said study. We don't know if they used as their sample group the street kids or the business owners of Makati, we just don't know. But I do know that with every study you should try to find out who produced it if possible.

#3 Doc Smith

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 1:16 PM

I'm thinking the overall premise of this thread is "hog wash".

1. I am surrounded by people who are smarter than outlined in the OP. They dont burn fires in their yard, they run businesses, and many have either dual citizenship or visas to other countries. I think the "simple folk" the OP generalizes all Filipinos with, does exist and may even appear to be a large segment of the population because they stand out.

2. Thanks to the OFW has become the main route for many to successful incomes, the population of smart Filipinos is much smaller than it should be because a very large % of that segment run off to another country so they can earn a big income. The ramification of that is that they are not here to help guide the country and to provide examples of intelligent behavior to their countrymen. As I said in #1, there are smart people here, but there should be more of them in country if there wasnt an OFW pull. There is a real impact to a country when they send their brightest minds to other countries. There is a reason why those other countries want those brightest minds (not just the maids and construction workers).

3. I remember that some of the stupidest people I met in the USA were State level employees. Stupid people know they cant easily get fired for doing stupid stuff while working for the government, so they all dream of that cushy job that wont let them go. I imagine that is true for all government type jobs. For an expat, government employees are something you are constantly dealing with, which could taint your thinking about the overall group.

4. Averages are funny things. If the USA average is 100 and the Philippine average is 85, how much of those "averages" are impacted by the fact that some of the smartest Filipinos are in the USA??

#4 Balintawak


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Posted 07 January 2010 - 1:28 PM

It cant define all Pinoys. Most I know is smart, hence an low IQ is more directed to simple people from the provinces that as writen above is carefree and uneducated.

#5 sam12six


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Posted 07 January 2010 - 2:02 PM

Most IQ tests basically measure what you know divided by how old you are.

All the article really says is that most Pinoys have a poor general education level compared to the other mentioned countries.

Is this a shock to anybody?

#6 senseless

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 2:31 PM

4. Averages are funny things. If the USA average is 100 and the Philippine average is 85, how much of those "averages" are impacted by the fact that some of the smartest Filipinos are in the USA??

The IQ tests are (I don't know where these statistics came from) give at predetermined grade levels by the state. And, aren't really IQ tests but general knowledge as suggested above. I believe I was forced to take one by the state at grades 3, 5, 8, 10, 12. I only remember the 8th year test as I refused to take it and didn't get to go on the 'fun field trip' that they promised all the kids (went to an amusement park).

So for the most part I wouldn't read into the general IQ so much. You also have to remember there is likely (don't know for sure, but its a logical assumption) more mental retardation here from pollutants children (and mothers) are exposed to (Again, unknown if this was taken into account for the IQ). This is really a very hostile environment to grow up in (cleanliness wise).

A real IQ test given by specialized psychologist is not typically about general knowledge but more about problem solving and analytical abilities. Taking little cards with various pictures on them (a guy going to the store). The supervisor then scrambles the cards and times how long it takes you to put them back in order. There was a vocabulary test (to test generally the size of your known vocabulary). I can't recall the rest of the test at the moment. I had to take one of these before they would let me into AP classes (9th grade, they didn't think i qualified).

You can tell that in the past, filipinos did have the ability to solve problems. Someone sitting around north luzon thinking "i wish there was an easier way to grow rice" figured out that there was and started building rice terraces. Now it's considered a world heritage site. They had the ability, it just needs to be given a chance to shine.


There was education in the Philippines in ancient times. The children were taught by their parents or by the old men of the barangay. The subjects taught were reading, writing, arithmetic, tribal traditions and custom and some vacation, such as agriculture, carpentry, metal work, poultry, fishing and weaving.


^^ read that one for sure

Theres pretty much no doubt (in my mind) it's as a result of the spanish. If it weren't for them this place would be a tropical paradise many times better than anything else asia (the world??) has to offer.

For instance, one weapon was the prototype of the modern-day yoyo, and it returned to is owner after being flung at an opponent.

Not sure if this was exactly effective.. But quite unique..

Edited by senseless, 07 January 2010 - 2:36 PM .

#7 Terp

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 2:38 PM

I believe the results are correct and the reason is because of an iodine deficiency in the Philippine diet especially in children.

Here's a link to an article, many of which can be found in the Internet.


For those who don't care to read the article basically it says that a lack of iodine in your diet when young results in having a lower IQ on the average of 10 to 15 points.

It also lists 36 countries where fewer than half of households consume iodized salt.

And yes the Philippines is one of the countries on the list.

#8 USMC-Retired


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Posted 07 January 2010 - 2:49 PM

There are several IQ testing procedures. Depending on which one they are referring to would depend on there ability during the test.

The low education standards and lack education for the average Filipino, causes these tests to not reflect an accurate basis for study. Additionally the Bias that is set during these test is also relevant.

Your ability to learn and your ability to comprehend are not being tested. Intelligence using a standardized test has been disputed. Thus not reflecting the true intelligence of a community.

A question example is:

2, 4 , 12, 32, 88, 240, ____ Solve the next number in the equation

If have no skills in Math then figuring out this problem is impossible. Thus setting a bias against lower math skills. Not testing true intelligence or ability to learn.

#9 abw

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 2:51 PM

I had a quick dig down through the data this so called study was based on and noticed the sample sizes for most of the poorer nations are quite small. For example the Philippines is based on 203 children aged 12-13 back in 1972. There is no indication as to where the sample was taken from. Were the tests performed in government schools (probably) or private? This could have profound implications. I think the author was trying to look for a strong correlation between the wealth of nations and IQ, and found some patchy evidence to confirm the hypothesis.


#10 aux27us

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 3:19 PM

Third world country-no suprise that the IQ would be lower. Also read that High School in the phils end at the 10th grade. Is that true? If so, 10 years instead of most countries 12 would explain it all also.

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