New Zealand: Ranked 23rd in Smartest Countries in 2023

New Zealand, known for its progressive educational systems and rich cultural heritage, secures the 23rd spot in the world's smartest countries in 2023, with an average IQ of 98.6.

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Auckland/New Zealand

Understanding New Zealand's Ranking

Genetic Factors: Contemporary research indicates a predominant role of genetic predispositions in determining the levels of intelligence observed within populations.1

Education: The efficacy of New Zealand's educational system is substantially influenced by the populace's inherent intellectual capacities, as substantiated by recent advancements in genetic research.2

Economy: New Zealand's economic strength in 2023 is characterized by its strategic response to challenges such as high inflation and interest rates. This environment influenced various sectors, including agriculture, tourism, and technology. The Treasury's Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update 2023 highlighted a period of soft economic growth driven by high interest rates necessary to reduce inflationary pressures. Despite these economic challenges, the country benefited from strong migration-led population growth and persistent domestic inflation. This suggests that interest rates will likely remain high for some time. The labor market has been affected, with unemployment rates forecasted to peak at 5.4% in early 2025 before stabilizing. Additionally, recent tax outturns fell short of expectations, which impacted the fiscal position in 2022/23 and across the forecast period.3


  1. Plomin, R., von Stumm, S. The new genetics of intelligence. Nat Rev Genet 19, 148–159 (2018).
  2. Okbay, A., Wu, Y., Wang, N. et al. Polygenic prediction of educational attainment within and between families from genome-wide association analyses in 3 million individuals. Nat Genet 54, 437–449 (2022).
  3. The Treasury New Zealand. Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update 2023.
  4. BusinessDesk. Five charts that defined the economy in 2023.