America the Average: Study Finds U.S. has Below Average Intelligence
A fancy new study claims that the United States isn’t a super power when it comes to smarts. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has found that Americans are either average or below average in literacy, mathematics and problem solving. In terms of people with high-level literacy, the U.S. has some respectable numbers, but a large swath of our population are below average, read: “…even highly literate nations have significant liabilities in their talent pool.”
In numerical terms, 10 percent of Americans are at or below the lowest standard of the three Rs (reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic). The good news: we’re smarter than Ireland, France, Spain and Italy. The noodle-brained Italians are apparently the dumbest people on earth—in the developed world at least.
To quote the report: “In Italy and Spain, for example, only 1 in 20 adults is proficient at the highest level of literacy (Level 4 or 5). Nearly 3 out of 10 adults in these countries performs at or below the lowest level of proficiency (Level 1) in both numeracy and literacy.”
Another arresting statistic championed in the study was the fact that some countries’ citizens with college degrees tested worse than citizens of other nations without them. Shout out to the Japanese and Dutch! Per the report: “…Japanese and Dutch 25-34 year-olds who have only completed high school easily outperform Italian or Spaniard university graduates of the same age.” Too much pasta, too much wine.
Denizens of Japan, Netherlands, and Finland are so smart it’s a shame there aren’t more of them. They have the highest percentage of smart people and the lowest percentage of dumb people. Maybe those countries have a prevalence of 30-somethings, since the study found that intelligence reaches its peak at age 30—I knew all those Friends reruns were making me smarter.
The drop in intelligence after age 30 is associated with adults leaving the educational sector and distancing themselves from opportunities to learn new concepts. Turns out all of those college application-padding extracurriculur activities you reluctantly partook in are beneficial later in life, too, as adult learning activities and engagement in pursuits involving words, numbers and analytical thinking aid in maintaining intelligence.
To smarten up our world, the OECD recommends developing an easily identifiable bridge between the academic world and the world of work. Relevant job training and the augmentation of accessible, stimulating activities were called for. When the OECD encouraged “recognizing and certifying proficiencies” in adults, it seemed like the kind of hand-holding dumb, fat, and lazy Americans love.
In short, we’re a slightly dim, very fat country whose government is currently shutdown. It’s not a big deal because we’re smarter than Austria, Cyprus (what?), Poland and those other tiny countries I already mentioned. In an attempt to save the worst news for last, Canada is smarter than us. Canada. Come on people, study up and pat yourself on the back, it’s what the OECD wants.
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