North Korea: Ranked 22th in Smartest Countries in 2023

Despite the challenges posed by its governing regime, North Korea ranks 22nd in the list of the world's smartest countries in 2023, with an average IQ of 98.8. This high average IQ, largely attributed to genetic factors, reflects a shared heritage with South Korea, which is ranked 6th. This similarity indicates that the innate intellectual potential of the North Korean populace remains significant, notwithstanding the differing political and educational systems of the two Koreas.

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Pyongyang, North Korea

Understanding North Korea's Ranking

Genetic Factors: Research suggests genetic predispositions play the main role in the intelligence levels observed.1

Education: Higher intelligence often correlates with a greater probability of pursuing extended years of education. This trend, supported by genetic research, suggests that innate cognitive abilities play a significant role in educational attainment and success.2

Economy: North Korea's economy, despite its intelligent populace, continues to struggle due to its government's policies and international isolation. The country has seen a contraction in GDP for three consecutive years, with significant declines in key sectors. Its economy heavily relies on trade with China and Russia, but the benefits are limited to state-controlled areas. This economic situation underscores the potential of its human resources being underutilized under the current regime.3

References

  1. Plomin, R., von Stumm, S. The new genetics of intelligence. Nat Rev Genet 19, 148–159 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrg.2017.104.
  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). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41588-022-01016-z.
  3. Magnier-Watanabe, R., Benton, C., Orsini, P., & Uchida, T. (2023). Predictors of subjective wellbeing at work for regular employees in Japan. International Journal of Wellbeing, 13(1), 36-58. https://doi.org/10.5502/ijw.v13i1.2177.