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Top 10 Most Intelligent Countries in the World

/ January 1, 2015

Dr. Jonathan Wai is a Duke University Talent Identification Program research scientist and psychologist. He compiled the Most Intelligent Countries in the World (countries with largest amount of brilliant people) a ranking of nations based on scores on the 2009 PISA assessment. This assessment tests mathematics, reading and science competency in 15 year old children.

These tests are a good measure of general intelligence. Based on these tests, here are the 10 nations with the most brainpower. The average percentage getting the top score on PISA tests, the estimated number of brilliant people and the alternate ranking based purely on average score were considered while arriving at the ranking. China is not included in the list due to many challenges.
The smartest countries in the world is:

10) Australia

On an average, 3.3 percent scored at elite levels. Around 748,440 brilliant people live in this country.

Australia map

9) The United Kingdom

According to estimates, 885,220 brilliant people live in the UK. On an average 1.4 percent scored at elite levels.

United Kingdom Map


  • Tizano says:

    Wouldn’t it be better if the highest percent of ‘elite’ levels was in first place? there are many places where they score higher… america just has more citizens.

  • independentamerican31 says:

    Clearly whomever wrote this is not that brilliant. It should go by percentage not amount. Just because a country is populous therefore has a higher chance of having a brilliant person means nothing. USA is not so brilliant after all. I mean Fox News, Bush and Religion. That takes us down quite a few pegs.

    • Leslie C says:

      Agree. Three top brilliant brain rich countries should have been 1)Taiwan at over 5%, South Korea faring close, then Australia with around 4%+ . Now the trend is visible. Looks like Indonesian/Korean gene pool is mentally superior.

    • TruthBeatsLies says:

      I suggest the table below, showing elite levels of intelligence as a percentage of any given nation’s total population, makes more sense:

      Taiwan 5.85
      South Korea 4.40
      Japan 4.05
      Canada 3.10
      Australia 3.3
      Germany 2.60
      France 2.20
      UK 1.4
      USA 1.07
      Russia 0.65

      But what could we expect from a website titled
      With the USA – as usual – blinded by SIZE and MONEY…!!!
      No wonder China is omitted… and India…

  • David Bane says:

    What an utterly crap article. Go read the PISA 2009 report. The USA scored 500,487,502 compared to the OECD average of 493,496,501. It’s a second-rated intelligent nation at best. Oh if we look at the PISA 2012 report the USA scored 481,498,497 compared to the OECD average of 494,496,501. The USA actually lowered the average. The best score for PISA 2012 went to Shanghai-China with a score of 556,600,575, that’s 10%++ more than the average, a tremendous achievement.

  • Raymond Mangonon Agbunag says:

    Where is Israel? The nation that created significant inventions today! 🙂

  • IKnowTheTruth says:

    America is nothing close to the smartest country in the world. That country is filled with dumbasses and a very small amount of people with common sense to know they are stupid

  • wonderdavid says:

    Canada at 7th place is still way too high for it’s own good. No offense or anything Canadians. It must be the immigrants that are (mostly) contributing to this. Otherwise we have our own cesspool of trashy ignorant pricks who not only do not know the meaning of critical thinking, but those who do refuse to even do so. Some of the news comments sections/other pointless dumb rants online are (at best) a real bummer. Sorry.

  • TruthBeatsLies says:

    “” clearly deems life-style as most indicative of “intelligence”
    Whereas elite levels of intelligence (ELI) as a percentage of any given nation’s total population must provide a far more conclusive indicator.

    Therefore I suggest the table below should be followed:

    Taiwan 5.85

    South Korea 4.40

    Japan 4.05

    Canada 3.10

    Australia 3.3

    Germany 2.60

    France 2.20

    UK 1.4

    USA 1.07

    Russia 0.65

  • TruthBeatsLies says:

    I’ve written to you twice already, but you simply deleted my copy…!!!

  • Cool Dude says:

    What about India and China?!!! India is the one who invented chess, a brain game. Where is it?!!!

  • Andrew Blaszkiewicz-DiBacco says:

    Everyone b*tching about America needs to calm down. This was a Duke University study… deal with it… I AGREE that the U.S.A. has more people and, therefore, is going to have a larger number of “brilliant” people… but then why were India and China omitted from this list? The U.S. must be doing something right. It is a great- albeit a deeply FLAWED nation- like any other!

  • Americans are intellectually superior to other people in the world because they move forward with a rapid clip due to their technology that evolves a new face every day. They have the best military in the world but that does not keep them strong…
    They have the best universities in the world but that does not keep them strong but whatever keeps them strong and move forward is their spirit.

  • mary field says:

    Every pole on the internet is different so you can’t believe any of them !!!!

  • mary webster says:

    I don’t believe or trust any of these polls- they all have different outcomes and agendas !

  • Samuel says:

    Include “Republic of Rwanda” among the countries with very brilliant people!!

  • frances van siclen says:

    in Europe it is Germany Austria Italy and Netherlands that are the smartest countries with an IQ of 102 – a few Asian countries rank above them !

  • Mike says:

    I say that Japan is the most intellegent country in the world. USA shouldn’t even be on the list. Illeteracy and lazyiness, are the real problem here in America.
    The Orientials and Europeans are a far better class of

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