Does IQ matter?

Does IQ matter? So many would like to either dismiss or downplay the importance of IQ. Why should anyone place any level of importance of what is appears to be a score on a brain-twister type quiz? The realities about IQ are highly uncomfortable for many: for instance, IQ has been found to be normally distributed, with a mean of 100 and a standard deviation which varies depending on the test taken (standard deviations of 15, 16 or 24 are the most commonly found on well-known IQ tests). What this really means is that half of the population will have an IQ of over 100, while the other half of the population will have an IQ of less than 100. “So what?” one may ask. Well, at the lower extremes, IQs of less than 70 have historically been associated with heavy learning difficulties or mental retardation. Does IQ matter? Clearly, a low IQ may be problematic, and the harsh reality is that 2.6% of the population have an IQ of less than 70 (16 SD). So very low IQs are not all that uncommon.

Putting the issue of lower extreme IQ to one side, IQs between 70-79 are often known as “well below average” or “borderline” IQs. People with IQs in this range may find it difficult to finish high school, and may be drawn into manual labor-heavy professions. At this level of IQ, people can secure positions such as janitor, precision machinery operators and truck drivers.

At IQs of 90-109, people have an ‘average’ level of intellectual activity – 47% of the population have an IQ within this bracket. The bracket in question has a 19 point range within, so there is a substantial difference in intellectual ability between someone who has a 109 IQ as opposed to a 90 IQ. However, people at this level of IQ should be able to get through high school, and some even go on to complete tertiary education with hard work. Even at the 90 IQ mark, people at this level of IQ are typically able to go on and be successful in professions such as carpentry, plumbing and working as a foreman. Towards the higher end of the range, individuals can become successful sales people, policemen or buyers.

Does IQ matter? Evidence from the lower half of the distribution.

So thus far, we’ve only talked about IQs in the average range or below (IQs less than 109). So does IQ matter? What should be apparent is that the higher the IQ, the higher the likelihood of being able to finish high school with relative easy, and at ranges of 90+ people are normally able to go on and complete some level of education, and the range of jobs that are available to people towards the end of the range, is significantly broader than what people may be able to access at the lower end of the IQ range.

The higher the IQ, the more economic freedom individuals are likely to have. This does not necessarily mean that people will be happier, but on the whole, one would also expect this to be the case.

Does IQ matter when IQ is greater than 100? I will discuss this in future postings.

In the meantime, to test your IQ, visit, or click here.