Regardless of the fact that the U.S. educational system was ranked just 14th in the world in a recent report and an even lower 20th in overall educational attainment, most of us believe that intelligence is more valuable than education. That is probably why 55% of Americans think that they are smarter than the average American.
According to an online survey conducted by research and consulting firm YouGov.com, which asked the question, “In general would you say that you are more intelligent, less intelligent or about the same intelligence as the average American person?” Some 19% of respondents say they are much more intelligent than their average fellow citizens and 36% say they are slightly more intelligent.
If you think this sounds like Garrison Keillor’s hometown of Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, — where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking and all the children are above average — you are not far off. But the survey offers even more to consider:
- More males (61%) think they are smarter than average than do females (50%).
- By age group, 62% of 18- to 29-year-olds and 45- to 64-year-olds think they are smarter than average. Only 51% of those 65 and over think they’re smarter than average.
- By political party, 62% of Republicans think they are smarter than average, compared with 55% of Democrats and 53% of independents.
- By race, 60% of whites think they are smarter than average, compared with 42% of blacks and the same percentage of Hispanics.
- More than 71% of those with family incomes above $80,000 a year think they are smarter than average, with the $80,000 to $100,000 range at 73% and the $100,000+ range at 71%.
When asked, “In general, how intelligent do you think American people are?” just 20% of political independents say either fairly intelligent or very intelligent compared, with 27% of Republicans and 31% of Democrats. If family income is above $80,000, a respondent does not believe any of his or her fellow citizens is very intelligent.
Is this a great country or what?