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Smartest Countries in the World 2023



Smartest Countries in the World - Nomad Index

Have you ever wondered which countries lead in intellect globally? Our detailed review of the smartest countries worldwide might just surprise you! 

Explore a detailed comparison, witness the significance of education, and uncover the unique characteristics that make these nations stand out. Learn how intellect impacts these nations in numerous ways.

Let’s go!

Top 10 Smartest Countries in the World 

The ten countries with the highest levels of IQ are:

#10 Netherlands & Germany (tie) – 100.74

#9 Liechtenstein – 101.07

#8 Finland – 101.20

#7 Belarus – 101.60

#6 South Korea – 102.35

#5 China – 104.10

#4 Hong Kong (China) – 105.37

#3 Singapore – 105.89

#2 Taiwan – 106.47

#1 Japan – 106.49

Behind the Rankings: Factors Contributing to High National IQs

While national IQ rankings may give us a quick glimpse into the intelligence quotient by nation, it’s essential to understand what lies beneath these rankings.

The Role of Education Systems

Every smart country on our list prioritizes education. In Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore, for example, education is revered, highly competitive, and blends tradition with innovation. Emphasis on STEM subjects and critical thinking fosters environments that cultivate intellect.

Societal and Cultural Contributions

Cultural values and societal norms significantly influence the nurturing of intellect. A society that values education, fosters intellectual curiosity, and celebrates academic achievement tends to produce a high average IQ. In many Asian countries, like China and South Korea, a strong societal emphasis on education underpins their high IQ scores.

Economic Prosperity and Intellectual Advancement

Interestingly, a nation’s economic prosperity and IQ often show a mutual influence. According to Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen’s book “IQ and the Wealth of Nations”, differences in national income and average IQ scores are closely related. They argued that high average IQ can lead to high GDP and vice versa, signifying a positive feedback loop.

Smartest Country in the World

Japan shines as the smartest country in the world with an impressive national IQ score of 106.48. Its brilliance stems from several factors that contribute to its global leadership. As the third-largest economy, Japan stands at the forefront of innovation, housing renowned companies in various industries like automobiles, electronics, and pharmaceuticals. With a densely populated and highly urbanized landscape, the nation has thrived as a hub of progress.

The secret behind Japan’s intellectual prowess lies in its exceptional education system. The government’s unwavering commitment to improving education quality from an early age, coupled with a focus on learning, innovation, and digital skills, ensures a bright future for its citizens. However, this drive for success also has its challenges. The intense culture of self-improvement and overachievement can lead to issues like isolation and exhaustion, affecting mental health. Sadly, mental health concerns are stigmatized in Japanese society, making it harder for people to seek help and support.


It’s important to note that the IQ ranking comes from “The Intelligence of Nations,” a study by Richard Lynn and David Becker. While it provides valuable insights, some critics question the methodology’s cultural biases, calling for a more comprehensive understanding of intelligence and achievement.

In Conclusion

Let’s remember that IQ scores alone aren’t a definitive measure of a nation’s intellectual capability. They are, at best, an indicator, influenced by a myriad of factors such as cognitive artifacts.

Furthermore, while the correlation between IQ scores and socioeconomic success exists, it isn’t perfect. Several factors, such as environmental quality, health, schooling, and a society’s commitment to innovation, contribute to the cognitive skills of a nation’s population. These could, in turn, influence IQ scores.

So, while we navigate through the list of smartest countries, let’s remember the multifaceted nature of intelligence. And let’s appreciate the myriad of factors that work in concert to give us the rankings we see.

Be sure to check out our article on Average IQ by Country.


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