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.)


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.


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.)