The very bottom 14% have very simple skills

Saturday, January 28th, 2017

If someone you know doubts intelligence differences, James Thompson says, show them the functional literacy data that Linda Gottfredson references:

That is right. Only 4% of the white population can do all the tasks in the list.

NALS Levels

21% get to the 4th level but cannot do carpet cost type problems, and at the very bottom 14% have very simple skills, which do not include locating an intersection on a street map. For many of you reading this, the finding will seem incredible. It is incredible. Human differences are hard to believe, but they are matters to be demonstrated, beliefs notwithstanding.


  1. Lucklucky says:

    I don’t think I have ever found a person in bottom 39% who wasn’t abusing drugs, heavily depressed, or very old.

  2. Phil B. says:

    And they ALL can vote …

  3. Lucklucky says:

    As if that kind of intelligence is of value to know if people vote right or wrong…

  4. Chris C. says:

    Those at the lowest levels of intelligence tend to lack any curiosity about the world around them. Some of those skills could be learned with a little online research and practice. Combine low intelligence with low curiosity and the resulting aversion to reading, other than maybe the cover of a tabloid in the checkout aisle, and you get the prototypical low-information voter. However, given the dregs usually offered to the voters by the major parties as candidates, what does it matter? And who decides which is right or wrong? As the admiral noted, “It’s a trap!”

  5. Some Random Guy says:

    I gotta go with Luckylucky on the voting. Those of us who believe we are intelligent and curious and possess all sorts of mental powers think we can make better decisions about politicians than those unfortunate slobs on the bottom rungs of life’s mental ladder. And that’s because we take time to read articles, listen to experts, and watch informative shows. But we’re just as susceptible to the emotional ploys which rope us in as the very dumbest among us. We merely imagine otherwise.

  6. Alrenous says:

    In the mid 1800s 97% (or something similar) had literacy at level 3 or higher. Obviously they didn’t use this scale in 1850 but binary illiteracy refers to 2 and 1. 39% can’t write a short letter, i.e. anything beyond their signature.

    “in neighboring Connecticut, 99.8 percent” A whole state can’t be an upscale neighbourhood.

    It’s probably not really ‘intelligence’ differences, but largely cultural. Similarly, roughly 20% of black bastardy is biological, and the remaining 60%, three quarters of these kids, is cultural. Progressive culture, to be precise.

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