ron unz’s rural/urban data…

…just don’t hold water.

yesterday, using the nesstar gss data, i showed that ron’s statement that…

“German-Americans … are significantly more rural than the white American average”

… is untrue. they are not. the white american average of “ruralness” is 27% (according to the nesstar gss data). thirty-three percent (33%) of german-americans live in rural areas. that’s just a six point difference from the average. it’s higher than average, but not a LOT. meanwhile, 41% of white american-americans (“american only”) live in rural areas. that’s significantly more than the white american average. (only ca. 10% of italian- and greek-americans live in rural areas.)

today i took a look at the sda gss data (no, apparently i don’t have a life). here’s a screenshot of my search parameters so you can see what the h*ck i did (click on image for LARGER view):

the results are — not all that different from yesterday’s results (click on image for LARGER view — should open in a new tab/window — you might have to click on it there to get it to be full-sized):

dutch-americans are, indeed, very rural. and italian- and greek- and yugoslav-americans are all very urban. german-americans are quite rural, but again not much more than anglo-, scots- or even irish-americans. and american-americans are more rural than german-americans.

for some of the groups, i added to the chart the iq scores that the awesome epigone calculated based on the gss wordsum test results. as the a.e. said:

“Contrary to Unz’ assertion, those of English or Welsh descent outscore Italians, Irish, Greeks, and Slavs, though the Dutch do not.”

nor do the germans.

ron’s idea is that urban living produces a sort-of super-flynn effect — at least for peoples of european stock. so you’d think that there ought to be a positive correlation between high average iqs for white americans and urban living — the more urban a group, the higher the iq, right?

well, i can’t find any such correlation. i get a correlation of precisely zip for white american urban-ness and high iq. below is a little chart showing that absent correlation. the x-axis represents my “rural-urban index” (“difference %rural-%urban” from my table above) — more urban is to the left, more rural is to the right. the y-axis represents the awesome epigone’s iq scores. as bob would say, that’s a scatter plot:

several of the highest white american iqs are held by rural groups: swiss-americans (103.6 – 42% rural), norwegian-americans (102.1 – 38% rural), danish-americans (102.6 – 32% rural), and anglo-americans (102.4 – 29% rural). the swiss and norwegians started off rural back in europe and stayed pretty rural in the u.s. — more so than the germans — but they’re awfully smart in the u.s. why don’t they have low average iqs? the danish- and anglo-americans started off pretty urban back in europe, but now they’re rural in the u.s., but they’re smart, too. what is going on?

meanwhile, white puerto ricans are some of the most urban (92% urban) of all these groups and their iq is only 89.9. and whites from mexico, too — very urban (80% urban) — but with an average iq of 87.7.

nope. i just don’t think this rural/urban explanation is gonna work.

previously: rural white americans

(note: comments do not require an email. i need a drink.)

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rural white americans

i admit it: this old/new world european, rural/urban iq discussion is starting make my head spin. (o_O) but i’m going to stick with it, d*mnit! (~_^)

ok. lemme see if i’ve got this straight. ron thinks that living in a stimulating urban environment raises the average iqs of certain populations a LOT in a relatively short period of time — like in a couple of generations. examples? europeans? check. east asians? nope. mexicans? he thinks so. blacks? he doesn’t say. the upshot is: iq is not something that is strongly genetic, and so we shouldn’t be too worried about tens of millions of mexicans moving to the united states ’cause they’re just gonna become smart like us in no time at all.

hmmmm.

his proof of this consists (in part) of: 1) the rising iq of mexicans in the u.s. over the last two generations or so — only chuck the occidentalist has shown that this does NOT seem to be the case; and 2) the rising iqs of rural europeans who became urbanites after moving to the u.s., and the falling iqs of urban europeans who became country hicks after moving to the u.s. ron says:

“A much better example I should have used instead were German-Americans, who are significantly more rural than the white American average and have a Wordsum-IQ below the Greeks, Yugoslavs, Irish, and Italians. Furthermore, according to Lynn’s IQ data, Germans have one of the highest IQs in Europe, significantly above the British and far, far above the Irish, Greeks, (South) Italians, and Yugoslavs. So the reversal in America is even more inexplicable from a genetic model of IQ.

“Thus, my comparison using ‘British and Dutch’ should be changed to ‘Germans and Dutch,’ with the two highest IQ nationalities in Europe becoming two of the lowest white IQ ethnicities in America, even as they switched from being among the most urbanized Europeans to generally being rural in America, while the Greeks, Irish, Italians, and Yugoslavs moved in the opposite direction on both the IQ and rural fronts. This seems far too strong to merely be coincidence.”

so according to ron, the germans and the dutch are generally rural in america while the greeks, irish, italians, and yugoslavs are urban. and the german-americans are significantly more rural than other white americans.

ron says he got this data from the gss by looking up the following search terms (thanks, ron!):

“As for my GSS calculation, I just used RACE=WHITE, ETHNIC, and WORDSUM. My ethnic urban/rural estimate substituted RES16 for WORDSUM, and I considered Country+Farm as being ‘rural’ while ‘City+Suburb+Big City’ was considered urban. The Italians, Irish, Greeks, and Yugoslavs come out heavily urban, the Dutch heavily rural, and the Germans somewhat rural.”

i never know what people mean when they say they looked something up in the gss ’cause you can use a couple of different databases: there’s the sda @berkeley which has data from 1972 through 2010, and the nesstar database which has data from 1972 through 2006. i’ve elected to use the nesstar database ’cause you can easily download a spreadsheet of whatever data you’re looking at. if you can do that on the sda site, i haven’t figured it out (if you know, please tell me!). so, if ron used the sda site, his results might be a bit different than mine.

having said that, i looked at RACE, ETHNIC (COUNTRY OF FAMILY ORIGIN), and RES16 (TYPE OF PLACE LIVED IN WHEN 16 YRS OLD). i looked at the raw data so i could calculate the percentage of rural and urban residents for each of the different ethnic groups. rural=“in open country, but not on a farm” and “on a farm”. urban=“in a small town or city (less than 50,000),” “in a medium sized city (50,000-250,000),” “in a suburb near a large city,” and “in a large city (over 250,000).”

here’s what i got — i’ve sorted these results by most rural on the top to most urban on the bottom (i.e. the difference between rural and urban for each ethnic group) — click on chart for LARGER view (should open in a new window/tab — click on it again there to get it to be REALLY BIG):

dutch-americans certainly are very rural folk — they’re in the top 5 groups of white americans who live in rural areas, right after swiss-americans, belgian-americans, american-americans and finnish-americans. and italian-americans, greek-americans and yugoslav-americans are certainly more uban than rural — italians and greeks are very urban (confirming the stereotypes!).

but german-americans are hardly signficantly more rural than groups like anglo-, scots- or irish-americans. 33% of german-americans live (or grew up, rather, i guess) in a rural setting, while 29% of anglo-americans did, and 27% of both scots- and irish-americans. that’s awfully similar, afaics.

and what about the american-americans (“american only”)? who are they, anybody know? mightn’t they be a lot of anglo-, scots-, even irish-americans? i dunno, but they are very rural. and german-americans are less rural than they are.

also, as far as i know, finns and norwegians back in europe are pretty rural peoples — particularly in the nineteenth century when they immigrated in large numbers to the u.s. and they’re very rural here in the u.s. and today their iqs are pretty durned high back in their home countries. and the norwegian-american iq is pretty durned high here, too, despite the fact that they are still overwhelmingly rural in the u.s. (dunno about the finnish-americans.) so it doesn’t seem like you need to move to an urban place to get a high iq. you can start off rural and stay rural and still be very clever.

nope. don’t think i’m buying ron’s “move to the city and become smart” thesis. there seems to be too many exceptions to the rule (not that i don’t like those!): east asians, mexicans, anglos, scots, irish, germans, norwegians….

if i feel like it, i might process the sda gss data. then again i might not. again, if anyone knows how i can download it quickly into a spreadsheet, please let me know.

previously: more from ron unz on iq and mexican-american iq and ron unz and iq and a message for ron unz

update 07/28: see also ron unz’s rural/urban data…

(note: comments do not require an email. the most interesting sifaka in the world.)

more from ron unz on iq

ron unz has a new post up: Unz on Race/IQ: The Rural/Urban Divide. he says:

“[O]ne very intriguing pattern is that according to Lynn’s IQ data certain European populations such as the South Italians, Irish, Greeks, and South Slavs tended to have IQs much lower than other European populations such as the British and the Dutch. However, according to the Wordsum-IQ data, this pattern is exactly reversed in the United States, with the descendents of immigrants from Southern Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Yugoslavia having much higher IQs than Americans of British or Dutch ancestry.”

as i (and others) have already pointed out to ron, he has no way of knowing from the gss data if italian- or irish- or greek- or slavic-americans are comparable to the italians and irish and greeks and slavs back in europe. for one thing, there is the problem with the irish of which irish we’re talking about, both in the u.s. and in the republic of ireland. native irish? scots-irish? anglo-irish? for another thing, how italian or slavic is someone who self-identifies themself as italian or slavic on the gss? fully? one-half? one-quarter? (is obama black or white?) if you don’t have your populations sorted out from the start, any comparisons will be a waste of time.

also, where are the wordsum data for all these groups? i mean, i know they’re in the gss, but how about a chart or a link or at least some search terms for the searches conducted. most sciencey bloggers nowadays present their data, not just write lengthy articles with barely any references. ron is making some strong, and possibly very interesting, claims here. someone out there might like to try to replicate his findings.

and how about looking at other data in additon to the gss (if possible)? chuck (the occidentalist) has shown that the gss wordsum scores for mexican-americans aren’t in accord with other iq measurements for that population, so maybe it would be a good idea to look at some additional data, too. just to be on the safe side. (note that i’m not discounting the gss wordsum data completely. i understand that it’s a fairly good proxy for iq scores.)
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ron also again rejects the idea that european immigrants to the u.s. (and elsewhere) might have “self-sorted” themselves — i.e. higher iq folks emigrating leaving lower iq folks behind, thus resulting in low average iqs back in europe and higher iqs for these populations in their new homes. because he believes this, ron concludes that nineteenth century european immigrants to the u.s., and europeans back in europe, have experienced extraordinary increases in their iqs in the last couple of generations:

“Finally, let us consider the European evidence. Today, the international PISA academic tests are widely regarded as one of the best means of estimating national IQs, and if we consider the 2009 PISA scores, we find that the scores were extremely similar for Ireland, Poland, Britain, France, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and several other countries. Since Lynn standardizes the British IQ to 100, that indicates that Ireland and Poland today have IQs around 100, which seems quite plausible.

“However, a huge sample placed Ireland’s IQ at 87 in 1972, and Lynn himself has stated that his own Ireland research in the late 1960s convinced him that the Irish were a low IQ population, whose only hope for the future lay in a strong eugenics program. So the evidence indicates that the Irish IQ was around 87 at that point, and has risen nearly a full standard deviation in the four decades which followed. Lynn also provides two additional very large samples, which placed the Irish IQ at around 92 in the early 1990s, so at the half-way mark, the Irish IQ had risen by half the difference between the endpoints, which seems remarkably consistent.

“Obviously, for the Irish to raise their Flynn-adjusted IQ by nearly a full standard devision in just over one generation is a total absurdity from a genetic perspective; thus, the huge rise must be due to some class of ‘environmental’ factors. When we consider that Ireland had been one of most rural European countries and rapidly urbanized during exactly that period, the impact of urbanization seems a plausible possibility.”

to repeat, i don’t think ron has convincingly shown what the iqs of italian- and irish-, etc., americans are, so it remains difficult to compare the old and new world iqs for each of these populations. and several commenters (like in this discussion thread) have suggested that the one figure of 87 for the irish in 1972 is just one figure, so perhaps it’s not all that reliable. (the data on which that 87 score is based upon are from a master’s thesis, btw. i found the reference here – opens pdf.)

but let’s say, for the sake of argument, that that figure was correct. ron doesn’t think that this low score could’ve been the result of selective migration because he thinks the immigrants would’ve been from the lowest classes of european society (i.e. presumably those with the lowest iqs):

“Even if we ignore all contemporaneous evidence and argue that 19th century European immigrants to America and elsewhere somehow constituted the IQ elite of their originating countries, the theory of selective migration still remains implausible…. So even if we hypothesize that the Irish, South Italians, Jews, and Greeks who immigrated to America constituted the smartest small slice of their generation — rather than, as seems more likely, often the poorer and most miserable….”

this, however, is an erroneous assumption. from thomas sowell’s Ethnic America: A History (pgs. 22-23):

“Although the cost of a trip to the United States in the hold of a cargo vessel was less than ten pounds sterling (less than fifty dollars at contemporary exchange rates), the poorest of the Irish could not afford even that, so that immigration was very low from the poorest fourth of the Irish population. Those a notch above them on the economic scale emigrated in large numbers, often by selling their belongings, using up savings, and spending money sent by relatives already in America. From one-third to three-quarters of the Irish immigrations to America in the 1830s and 1840s was financed by money sent from North America.”

so, as i said in my previous post, it wasn’t “the poorer and most miserable”, or even “the smartest small slice of their generation” that emigrated from ireland to the u.s. (or britain or australia), but folks in the middle — individuals above “the poorest fourth of the Irish population”. in other words, people of average-ish iqs.

and they left in the millions. for 140-150+ years.

if that wasn’t a dysgenic brain drain, i don’t know what was.

and all that emigration (and famine-related deaths) is reflected in this population graph for the republic of ireland:

the population of the republic of ireland seems to have bottomed out just around the time of lynn’s 87 iq score for the irish in the 1970s. the irish economy improved in fits and starts in the decades after that, and really took off in the heydays of the celtic tiger nineties and noughties (how’d that work out for them anyway?). then there wasn’t any need for anyone with half a brain to leave the country anymore — and there was an additon of something like 1.4 million individuals in two-and-a-half generations (ca. a 35% increase in the population) — and the iq scores started to improve (as ron points out the average iq was measured to be 93 in the early 1990s) — possibly (i’d say likely) as the national average regressed to its natural mean (whatever that might be, presumably higher than 87). (plus the usual flynn effect and possibly effects of better nutrition and other stuff like that.)

that scenario is a strong possibilty anyway, which ron just dismisses based on very shaky evidence.

speaking of dysgenic brain drains, how about southern italy? according to wikipedia (so it must be true!), 80% of immigrants from italy to the u.s. came from southern italy. and look at the iq (pisa) scores there today.

(btw, i don’t think this mass emigration scenario is the whole story re. the low iq scores for the peripheral european countries, but it certainly shouldn’t be discounted as easily as ron has done.)
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ron theorizes that these differences in average iqs have something to do with urban vs. rural living, which is an interesting idea, but he hasn’t made a convincing argument i think. he talks, for instance, about differences in iqs between urban and rural white americans:

“Next, consider the aggregate IQs of rural and urban/suburban whites. During the 1970s according to Wordsum-IQ data, the intelligence gap between whites raised on farms and those who grew up in an urban/suburban background was enormous, almost exactly equal to the white/black gap.”

well, that’s interesting, but again i ask — where are the data? (show me the data! (~_^) )
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finally, ron says:

“Unfortunately, this discussion has been almost entirely restricted to narrow racialist circles, with virtually all non-racialist journalists or pundits maintaining a studious silence on the matter and giving the controversy a very wide berth, although I would argue that issues of race and intelligence have considerable importance in American society.”

i agree! the situation is unfortunate. very unfortunate. i wish everybody would think and talk about human biodiversity all the time! (ok, maybe not all of the time.) i wish it were a regular topic on oprah! (does she even have a show anymore?) i can’t see how we’re gonna solve even half the world’s problems if we don’t — but then i’m beginning to suspect that most people aren’t really interested in that (prolly me, neither). *sigh*

thanks to ron for bringing up the subject at all! (^_^) (although i think there are big holes in his argument. (~_^) )

previously: ron unz and iq and mexican-american iq and a message for ron unz

(note: comments do not require an email. hi there!)