selective immigration

Some cases involve stronger selection than I would have guessed.  Nigerian male immigrants to Great Britain, 1980-2010:

low, medium, and high level of education:  ” We distinguish three levels of education: primary (low skilled: includes lower secondary, primary and no schooling); secondary (medium-skilled: high-school leaving certificate or equivalent) and tertiary education (high-skilled: higher than high-school leaving certificate or equivalent).”

1980 3204 6926 1942
1985 4435 4606 4953

1990 5796 2484 7885

1995 7142 2132 3528

2000 8650 2484 22324

2005 7869 2540 26608

2010 9326 3406 42106

Nigeria graduates about  150,000 people a year, so something like 2% of modern Nigerians graduate from college.


P.S. Suppose you only took the top few percent from a population with a low average: you might end up with a mean IQ of 100, but there would be a funny distribution.  Not much of a right tail.





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56 Responses to selective immigration

  1. Bonner Tal says:

    If you look at the HDI of Nigerian states, you’ll see that a lot of them have an education index >0.80 and quite a few have an education index >0.90:

    An education index of 1.0 corresponds to an average of 15 years of education for adults and an expected average of 18 years of education for kids. These numbers do not vibe well with only 2.0% of Nigerians graduating from college. 15 years should be a bachelor and 18 a masters, for Lagos that is the average (EI>1.0).

    Possibly I am misinterpreting the EI numbers. Maybe somebody with a better understanding of the HDI can chime in. Possibly the EI numbers are just incorrect aka “official statistics”.

  2. magusjanus says:

    To my knowledge the only country whose immigration pattern overall increases its avg IQ is Singapore. Given low TFR in Singapore this makes it function as a sort of IQ shredder, per Spandrell’s post:

    • Matt says:

      Australia, Canada, New Zealand probably have IQ-boosting immigration as well. Anglo countries overall get much better immigrants in terms of human capital than continental Europe.

      • Abraham Lincoln says:

        If human capital is the goal, it might be wise for the best countries to grow their own.

        • David Chamberlin says:

          It might be wise but it is not happening. Multiple studies have confirmed an inverse relationship between IQ and fertility but much more so for women. There is an absolutely stark contrast between the rates of fertility comparing women with a graduate degree as compared to women that drop out of high school, it’s been right around a 2 to 1 ratio since at least the 1980’s. Female dropouts average 3.1 children while women with graduate degrees average 1.5. One would think that the effects of idiocracy would possibly be seen right about now, gee willikers, anybody notice anything wrong?

          • Anonymous says:

            If you have a high IQ, and your goal in life is to have a large family, is it smart spending your time going to school for advanced degrees, or is it better to get to it and have children while your can?

            • Mario says:

              Having a high IQ is hell on earth, so I can’t imagine many of those with very high IQs wanting children as their primary goal in life.

            • Mario says:

              Likewise, your children will probably have lower IQs than you and continue to decrease if you don’t plan it out correctly (a 5 year space in between children, according to studies – so maximum 4, realistically, if you ignore twins/triplets/etc., which come with a higher risk of additional problems that may further lower IQ) and provide them with more than adequate care (among other things, more stimulation and emotional maturity than the average parent provides – not just feeding them and watching them play – and planning of social/educational/sport opportunities – which cost $$$). You can see how for some woman who are also interested in advanced pursuits, and with a solid head on their shoulders, this MAY become an all or nothing question.

              Most people want their children to have the best in life – some are more realistic about how much continued effort that entails.

              • Mario says:

                I heard otherwise. I know otherwise.

                There are two types of women with children and graduate degrees* that I know – the ones who quit after a nice career run to take better care of their young kids, and the ones who dumped their kids onto extended family or daycare for care. The ones who put time and thought into their children now have doctors, lawyers, successful business people as children – similar or above achievements the parents. The one’s who didn’t? High school teachers, secretaries, nothing close to the original parents. And when you meet these two groups of children and later adults, there is definitely some kind of difference. A different way of playing games, understanding things, general processing. So there is something there, just untested rigorously as of yet.

                *I’d say I’ve only met 2 women with graduate degrees in my field that do not have children.

              • gcochran9 says:

                You’re wrong. Genetics matters a lot, manner of rearing matters not much. Good statistical studies say so, and it’s bloody obvious: divorce soared, later illegitimacy, scores didn’t change much.

              • bomag says:

                You are noticing things that fit a narrative.

                I notice that D’Alembert had smart parents but was left on a church step at age two days.

        • Peripatetic Commenter says:

          I think the Kzin had the right idea.

      • Ilya says:

        Canada does not have IQ-boosting immigration. Only 20% of those granted permanent residency are admitted for skill/economic reasons, and each immigrant represents a net cost to the society of $5300 per year per person for life. This outlay used to be $6000/y before a “conservative” government implemented new rules to prioritize “skills-based immigration”. And legitimately high-IQ East Asian immigrants replace themselves at a lower rate than whites. So there’s definitely no boost occurring — merely a deceleration of the IQ decline relative to other European states that have admitted anyone with a pulse.

        • BengaliCanadianDude says:

          Where are your numbers coming from? We have merit based immigration, don’t let some recent news involving some border crossers and refugees fool you.

      • magusjanus says:

        Per my Kiwi friends, Australia benefits from New Zealanders who emigrate there, making both countries smarter.

      • Anonymous says:

        Rob Muldoon suggested that New Zealanders migrating to Australia were improving the IQ of both countries

  3. Hugh Mann says:

    Nigerians in the UK have a reputation as innovators.

    “A lonely heart woman was tricked into handing over £1.6million to a gang of dating site conmen who used a copy of pick-up manual The Game and posed as a wealthy engineer to win her affections. The woman in her 40s from Hillingdon, north west London, thought she was in an online relationship with a divorcee father-of-one called Christian Anderson. But little did she know she was actually being tricked by a gang of fraudsters including Ife Ojo, 31, and Olusegun Agbaje, 43, who duped her into ‘loaning’ them a staggering £1.6million, telling her the money was needed to free up inheritance so they could start a new life together.”

    “Christian Anderson” – literally a fairytale romance.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for these numbers. I have posted about Africans in UK being a bi-modal population, but had not realized the effect was so big.

  5. Eponymous says:

    Hmm. So with a sufficiently selective immigration system, it’s quite possible to get a high-IQ diaspora in a given country. (If we supplement IQ tests with PGS screens, we can even avoid the first-generation regression to the mean!) Then, since immigrant communities are fairly endogamous (particularly for culturally distinct groups), you can maintain the population substructure for several generations. Given the disproportionate role played by the tails in technical innovation, this could be quite an effective way to boost the economy.

    Seems quite doable, and a way to implement eugenics in a manner acceptable to liberal sensibilities. We don’t need to find the African Einsteins — we can just create them!

  6. Peter Connor says:

    Given that the average IQ in Nigeria is around 70, that suggests that roughly 1 in 40 is capable of doing college work, which seems compatible with the 150,000 number.

  7. You have also to remind that these degrees not do not signal same ability as degrees of European univs — in Nigeria they have to set up plank lower.

    • Stephen says:

      Given common experience of the more devious Nigerians: what proportion of those claiming to have a particular Nigerian qualification do genuinely have it? And how many have it but bought it?

  8. Bruce says:

    Way skewed since 2000. Somebody show this to Ron.

  9. ohwilleke says:

    Not surprising. The “fit immigrant hypotheses” which is well supported empirically holds that people who choose to emigrate (regardless of the means by which they do so) are more fit on average, in almost every dimension, than otherwise comparable residents of their homeland who do not. Immigrants self-select.

    • gcochran9 says:

      Such that most come from the top few percent of their native country, in terms of education? Seldom the case in the past.

      • Woof says:

        Many bright immigrants leave their countries because they are shut out of opportunities under the existing social and political structure. Wrong tribe-ethnic-religious group? Leave for greener pastures and better opportunities for yourself and your kids. Happens often enough to make a difference

    • ghazisiz says:

      Edward Alsworth Ross wrote about the selectivity of emigration in his 1914 book “The Old World in the New”, available on Project Gutenberg:

      He categorizes major migration streams, both in colonial times and during our time as a nation, as “representative, super-representative, or sub-representative of the home people.”

      “When it is a fair sample, it is representative; when it is richer in wheat and poorer in chaff, it is super-representative; when the reverse is the case, it is sub-representative. What counts here, of course, is not the value the immigrants may have acquired by education or experience, but that fundamental worth which does not depend on opportunity, and which may be transmitted to one’s descendants.”

      Here’s what he said about colonial immigration:

      “Super-representative: English Pilgrims, Puritans, Quakers, Catholics, Scotch Covenanters, French Huguenots, German sectaries.
      Representative: English of Virginia, Maryland, and the Carolinas, Scotch-Irish, Scotch Highlanders, Dutch, and Swedes.
      Sub-representative: English of early Georgia, transported English, eighteenth-century Germans.”

      The Nigerian immigrant of today would surely be classified as super-representative, and the Mexican as sub-representative.

      • ohwilleke says:

        I would say with almost certainty that modern Mexican immigrants to the U.S. (including undocumented and family based immigrants) are super-representative (although less so than immigration from, for example, Africa and South Asia, which is much more strongly super-representative). The terminology is interesting and makes a certain amount of sense.

      • The Cream of the Crop? says:

        Apropos –

        “Using new data from Ireland in the early twentieth century, I provide evidence to the contrary, showing that the sons of farmers and illiterate men were more likely to emigrate than their literate and skilled counterparts. Emigration rates were highest in poorer farming communities with stronger migrant networks.”

        Certainly the “fit immigrant” hypothesis does hold true for certain cases, but I would guess it tends to be somewhat overestimated by Western media classes, who have a disproportionate number of folk who’ve pulled up roots to move away to university and then major cities, in a rather historically unusual movement, and thus associate willingness to move with a pioneering spirit.

        Sometimes “better than average” migrants move, when there is a similar lower end standard of living but a higher high end standard of living (often the case comparing major cities to smaller cities). Sometimes “lower than average” migrants move, when life is better in, say America than say Ireland, for unskilled workers, but skilled workers face more costs from unrooting their lives. There’s no rule that “better” individuals move.

  10. Chinese Selection says:

    Probably holds for most populations to some degree. I know HBD types like to play down the idea that any Chinese are selected (“They’re all just random, representative paddy farmers!”), but most likely they are selected, even if this does not explain all advantage.

    • Pincher Martin says:

      Probably holds for most populations to some degree. I know HBD types like to play down the idea that any Chinese are selected (“They’re all just random, representative paddy farmers!”), but most likely they are selected, even if this does not explain all advantage.

      That wasn’t the case in the 19th century when almost all Chinese immigrants to the US came from a few districts in Guangdong

      • a-non says:

        How much do we know about who got on the boat from Guangdong, in the early days? I certainly don’t know much about it, but if it was some guy recruiting spare laborers to indenture vs. trading families sending out feelers, that would matter a lot.

        e.g. Indians in east africa were (I believe) not only mostly from a few bits of Gujarat, but also far from random sample of people there, from particular trading castes.

      • Chinese Selection says:

        How much hard data is there on the qualifications or pre-existing accomplishment of those people? Probably not too much.

        But most Chinese in America today certainly aren’t descended from that wave in any case, so there’s not so much relevance to the success of Chinese in the US today.

        • Pincher Martin says:

          True. But they still make up a non-trivial fraction. Even today. My guess would be 10 to 20 percent of the Chinese-American population predate the 1965 Immigration Act. Into the 1990s, I often still bumped into a lot of Chinese living and working in old Chinese communities in Sacramento and San Francisco who spoke nothing but Cantonese.

          The Chinese population in the U.S. actually declined from the late-19th century to WW2 because the existing population was heavily male when the Chinese Exclusion Act passed.

          The U.S. began to allow in more Chinese, including women, during WW2 because they were taking on our enemy the Japanese Empire.

  11. I’m betting the high-achievers are Ibo, rather than Yoruba or Hausa or any of the smaller tribes.

  12. Edward says:

    Nigerian kids in the UK do substantially better than White British students at GCSE level. They also benefit from having higher-IQ subpopulations, like the Igbo and Yoruba. Black Africans as a whole in the UK have an average IQ of 93-94. Nigerians probably average around 100, with a better work ethic than White British students.

    • feryaj8755 says:

      Until Jihado Jamal gets sent to prison that is.

    • Shi says:

      They have affirmative action in Nigeria since their subpopulations differ quite radically in giftedness. If you’re igbo or yoruba you need almost twice as high score to enter the best colleges and schools as someone from the northern states.

  13. Greying Wanderer says:

    google “fake degrees nigeria”

  14. ChrisA says:

    Nigerians do have a reputation in UK for being very polite and quite socially conservative, and that is my experience as well.

  15. Erik Sieven says:

    I think the education system in third world countries is much less selective in terms of real ability or talent than the education system in developed countries as corruption plays a big role in those third world countries. This would mean that selection for immigration based on degrees is also less selective in terms of mental ability.

  16. Michel Rouzic says:

    If you take a normal distribution 1.4 SD lower (to mimic a lower SSA IQ of about 79) and to mimic the high-pass IQ selection you use a raised error function with an arbitrary offset and width (I multiplied the original distribution by 0.5+0.5erf((x-0.1)2), not that it matters much for the right tail) then you get a distribution that’s about centred around an IQ of 100 that is half as wide, so that even in that highly selected small population you could expect as many IQ 130 Smartgerians per capita as IQ 143 in the normal white population. Oof.

  17. Pingback: An Answer to Chanda Chisala – Half-Assed Science

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