Jewish Intelligence – Top of the IQ Chart

Jewish intelligence

Nobel Prize Winners

About 22% of all Nobel prize recipients worldwide between 1901 and 2015 were Jews or people of strong Jewish ancestry. Prizes were given to Jews in such fields as Economics, Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, Literature and Peace Awards, link. This is an amazing achievement bearing in mind that Jews comprise less than 0.2% of the world’s population! Looked at another way, 36% of Nobel prize winners from the United States have been Jewish, whilst Jews are just 2% of the US population! Add to this the following facts:

  • Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world
  • Israel has the highest density of start-up companies in the world
  • Israel ranks first in the world for total expenditure on R&D
  • Israel ranks first in the world in scientific publications, link

So we might ask “Are the Jews especially academically gifted?” or “Why are Jews taking a disproportionate number of Nobel prizes?” To try and answer these questions we need to look at Jewish subcultures.

Jewish Intelligence: Ashkenazi Jews

Not all religious Jews are the same! In particular, Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews represent two distinct subcultures of Judaism. According to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, about 80% of Jews worldwide are Ashkenazi Jews, link. Ashkenazic Jews are the Jews of France, Germany, and Eastern Europe and their descendants, whilst Sephardic Jews are the Jews of Spain, Portugal, North Africa and the Middle East and their descendants. Most American Jews today are Ashkenazim. In Israel itself it is claimed that it is the Israeli Ashkenazi Jews that the world sees in terms of Israel’s cultural, intellectual, political, and economic activity, link.


In 2014 the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) presented the Israeli Government with recommendations on the genetic testing for ‘Jewishness’ of potential immigrants. Molecular genetic tests can now be used to measure individuals’ whole genomes, and scientific research has begun to describe the genetic basis for a common ancestry of the whole of the Jewish population. Geneticists claim that Jews exhibit a distinctive genetic signature and as such can be defined as a ‘race’ (a people group with distinct biological traits). This is supported by genetic research from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. They suggest that the Ashkenazi bloodline branched away from other Jewish groups in Israel 2,500 years ago and that 40% of them are descended from only four Jewish mothers, link, link.


Eugenics is the (rather dubious) science of improving a population by controlled breeding. The eugenic hypothesis argues that Jews, and in particular, Ashkenazi Jews, have actually practiced eugenics. Judaism has had a long tradition of according high status to scholars as well as wealth which allowed those with higher intelligence to more easily reproduce and their children to survive. link.

Jewish intelligence

A typical IQ distribution
Image: DMCQ, Creative Commons

Ashkenazi Jews: Top of the IQ Chart

For whatever the reason, be it through genetics, eugenics, their prevalence in intellectually demanding fields (resulting in Nobel prizes), or a combination of all three, the fact remains that Ashkenazi Jews have high intelligence. Research shows that on many measures they are top of the IQ chart; their average IQ has been measured at 108-115. A Jewish average IQ of 115 is approximately 40% higher than the global average IQ of 79, link. By comparison, the mean IQ in the UK is 100, link. Note that this is average IQ. It turns out that Ashkenazi “visual-spatial” test scores are typically lower than the norm, which means their abilities in the other two categories, language and mathematics, are astounding, link.

Whilst there was no absolute measure, some have suggested that Albert Einstein, an Ashkenazi Jew, had an IQ around 160 or more!

Adam’s Intelligence and the Fall in Intelligence

Let’s assume that the Adam of Genesis was a real person (there is a strong argument to support this belief, link). Genesis says that all God made was ‘very good’, so that must have included Adam’s intellect. In Genesis 2.19 we read:

Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man (Adam) to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name

It seems that Adam could name all the birds and beasts. Could any individual do this today? Then came the historic events of ‘The Fall’ of man and ‘The Flood’, both of which appear to have affected the longevity of man and his intelligence. We note that Pre-Flood man lived typically to 900 years whilst post-Flood, beginning with ‘Shem’ (Gen 11), man’s age progressively dropped to nearer 70 years. Why? Some claim this decline in longevity arose from a build-up of radioisotopes in the atmosphere after the Flood, link, link. Also, it is claimed that the ‘dumbing-down’ of the human brain over the past few thousand years could be due to accumulated genetic mutations, link.

On the other hand, Genesis implies that it is possible for man to have a high intellect – very high – if it is God’s Will. So why not God’s chosen people who are descendants of Adam, link?