It's Official: American Adults Are Dumber Than Average

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

The study is called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies and it tested 166,000 people aged 16 to 65 in more than 20 countries.  It found that in math, reading and problem solving, American adults scored below the international average.

I can’t say this is surprising, after all, the public allowed the big banks that destroyed the economy to gift themselves trillions in the aftermath of the financial crisis with barely a peep in response. You don’t have to be a problem solving genius to figure that one out. Finally, there is some proof behind our long-held suspicions.

From the Associated Press via the New York Post:

WASHINGTON — It’s long been known that America’s school kids haven’t measured well compared with international peers. Now, there’s a new twist: Adults don’t either.


In math, reading and problem-solving using technology – all skills considered critical for global competitiveness and economic strength – American adults scored below the international average on a global test, according to results released Tuesday.


Adults in Japan, Canada, Australia, Finland and multiple other countries scored significantly higher than the United States in all three areas on the test. Beyond basic reading and math, respondents were tested on activities such as calculating mileage reimbursement due to a salesman, sorting email and comparing food expiration dates on grocery store tags.


Not only did Americans score poorly compared to many international competitors, the findings reinforced just how large the gap is between the nation’s high- and low-skilled workers and how hard it is to move ahead when your parents haven’t.

Yes, it’s called feudalism.

The study, called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, found that it was easier on average to overcome this and other barriers to literacy overseas than in the United States.


Researchers tested about 166,000 people ages 16 to 65 in more than 20 countries and subnational regions. The test was developed and released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is made up of mostly industrialized member countries. The Education Department’s Center for Education Statistics participated.


Americans scored toward the bottom in the category of problem solving in a technology rich environment. The top five scores in the areas were from Japan, Finland, Australia, Sweden and Norway, while the US score was on par with England, Estonia, Ireland and Poland. In nearly all countries, at least 10 percent of adults lacked the most basic of computer skills such as using a mouse.

The above is somewhat surprising given the amount of time Americans spend glued to their iPhones for Facebook updates about what their cousin ate for breakfast. I can tell you one category in which Americans surely beat all global competitors. The art of mercilessly stampeding into one another like animals at Wal-Mart on Black Friday to purchase plasma televisions. That that world.

Full article here.

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Squid-puppets a-go-go's picture

it's not 'Dumber'

It's 'dumberer'

sheesh, literary standards, ppl

prains's picture

it's not official either because the official is just as stupid so lets just call it an educated guess

LetThemEatRand's picture

Everyone knows that Hertz is better.  And they have handy cars where you don't need arms, so they're more inclusive and stuff.  Duh.  Whatever.  -American.

erg's picture

In nearly all countries, at least 10 percent of adults lacked the most basic of computer skills such as using a mouse.

It's true. Years ago while a brother visited and I told him to move the cursor over the icon and he waved the mouse in the air like an incantation.

Richard Chesler's picture

When did Obama bleached his skin?


MisterMousePotato's picture

"how hard it is to move ahead when your parents haven’t"

Oh, please.

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc is not a sound proposition of logic.

MisterMousePotato's picture

Sorry. "After this, therefore because of this."

Troll Magnet's picture

Yeah we dumb, but...


cynicalskeptic's picture

VERY good - you're expanding your vocabulary.  But the word you're looking for is 'special'.    'Special' students get on the little school bus and go to a 'special' school.

Bangin7GramRocks's picture

Exceptionally Ignorant! And our God is Sarah Palin.

Harbanger's picture

Even Dumber than merkins are the people who graduate from our US Univesities.

Look up the TOP 10 Universities in the entire World and tell me where they are located.  Yes, they are in the good ole progressive USSA.  Get in line bitches!

James_Cole's picture

*most of them are in the USA. 

Cal tech, MIT etc. are great schools, but don't really benefit the average unfortunately. It's the American caste system. 

Harbanger's picture

"benefiting the average" Yes.  Great point!  That explains schooling in progressive merka's caste system.  I'll give you a +1 to help build confidence.   The next response will be a little more challenging.

General Decline's picture

Most of our politicians come from the "top" universities. Looks like Yale, Stanford, Harvard, et al is in the business of producing junk.

Tapeworm's picture

Yeah but,...........

 One can get MIT on line for free. Did you ever look at the freebie course offerings from MIT?

 I have given a card with the free offerings online to my employees and anyone that will accept a card as a passout.

 Learning now is out there for nothing other than a will to learn. The lowlifes and most all have some sort of free or already paid for internet yet hardly any will use it.

 John Taylor Gatto knows why as he has written many books (several available online for nothing) that show and tell about the dumbing down of this nation that once had a huge thirst for books that would help themselves to be self educated. The modern system destroys the yearn to learn at the earliest age of the youngsters. is there for no cost and it uses any sort of encouragement to continue. What else can there be other than a destruction of the natural curiosity in children?

 Get your children out of the curiousity destroying skool rackets.

 As an employer I ask the poor bastards why they are so ignorant when the taxcows blew 120,000 dollars K-12 on their "education".

 I offer them free use of dozens of CD format lectures on what they could not get in their thirteen years of public school. None have ever bothered to borrow any course even when they know that even a partial mastery could add much to their wage.

 I spent in excess of 5000 to offer my employees entertaining ways of learning from superior instructors from basic arithmetic to advanced calculus.Of course there was history and art and what I would consider to be a basis for being a functioning human. I was wrong all of the way.

 They only had to load it into a DVD player. Who killed that inquisitiveness?

James_Cole's picture

One can get MIT on line for free. Did you ever look at the freebie course offerings from MIT?

The online courses are a good way to learn introduction to topics, but it's quite different than actually attending one of those institutions obviously. Not knocking the online courses at all, just saying you can't experience MIT online. 

The modern system destroys the yearn to learn at the earliest age of the youngsters.

The answer is more & better teachers, smaller class sizes etc. is there for no cost and it uses any sort of encouragement to continue.

It's a good supplement, but a supplement..

They only had to load it into a DVD player. Who killed that inquisitiveness?

For most people that's not a natural way to learn, generally people tend to learn best from some degree of interaction with others.

You've probably had the experience of reading up on a particular subject and not understanding it, asking someone with knowledge in the area and having them explain in a few minutes what you couldn't sort out from hours of study. Who hasn't had that sort of experience? People are good at teaching each other, DVDs can't come close to that.

Some online resources probably come closer to the person-to-person learning but it still seems solidly supplemental. 

SilverSavant's picture

I was sorely tempted to rag on you for being negative and arguementative.   I was even wondering if you knew what common sense used to mean.   Your "more and better teachers, with smaller class sizes" was especially hard to pass on.  You can learn about interacting with others while you work and play, much better than when you are trying to learn.   This is more true when those you are in class with people who cannot learn as fast as you can.   The computer will let you learn as fast as you want to.   It will let you divert to answer questions or fill in gaps and it can be more up to date than the classroom.  As long as government and the PTB are involved in education, that becomes a choice that will cost more than it pays.  The main question of the article, is who killed curiousity?   The answer is that the schools themselves killed it.   How will teachers and class sizes change that. 

Urban Redneck's picture

I don't buy it.

What you "get" by actually attending one of "those" universities is 1) a piece of paper that has a higher valuation in the marketplace 2) networking opportunities (pre & post education) not available to online students and 3) invitations to physical nerd keggers.

What you learn and take away from ANY education course is entirely UP TO YOU, regardless of whether the course is online or off.

Of course I'm biased- since I only got one hour of sleep b/c a wall streeter with an ivy league undergrad degree and an ivy league MBA and an ivy league law degree wasn't as knowledgeable about law or finance as he should be (or anywhere close to what I am).

BTW- if interaction is so important, there are a fuck-ton of lecture halls at Ivy League universities that should have been razed decades (or centuries) ago, and that's w/ even considering the issue of T/A's leading classes and lectures.

thisandthat's picture

Not that that has ever stopped anyone from claiming so - e.g.: "carnivores developed long fangs/claws so they could better prey" or "giraffes developed long necks so they could reach high branches" you hear all the time from such luminaries as NatGeo, etc. (no word on basketball players developing long legs so they can slam dunk better, though).

McMolotov's picture

"Computer? Computer? Hello, computer?" —Scotty from Star Trek

LetThemEatRand's picture

Dave:  "let me just own a business, get some bridge financing and not be fucked by the Fed, okay?"

Yellen9000:  "I'm afraid I can't do that, Dave."

Midas's picture

If she agrees to open her pod bay doors let me know in advance so I can get lost in a hurry.

Ham-bone's picture

channelling Dire Straits...

Warning lights are flashing down at BLS
Somebody slipped the truth and they threw him in the hole
There's rumors round the water cooler and anger in the town
Somebody blew the whistle and the employment rate came down

There's a meeting in the White house they're trying to trace the leak
There's leaking in the media there's a mole in NSA
Somewhere in the corridors someone was heard to sneeze
'goodness me could this be Monetary Disease?

The Greenspan was crucified for sleeping at his post
They're refusing to be pacified it's him they blame the most
The Ben's got rabies the Janet's got fleas
And everyone's concerned about Monetary Disease

There's panic on the tinfoil blogs truth is tied in knots
Some come out in foreclosure some with naught 
Some blame the management some the employees
And everybody knows it's the Monetary Disease

The work force is disgusted downs tools and surf
Innocence is dead and experience leaves their turf 
Everyone seeks disability and everyone agrees
That these are 'classic symptoms of a monetary squeeze'

On CNBC and Bloomberg they talk around the curse 
Fundamentals are useless common sense is worse
History boils over there's an economics freeze
Economists invent words that mean 'Monetary Disease'

Doctor Bernanke declared 'I'm not surprised to see you here
You've got debt from too much spending, inadequate demand from too little credit
I don't know how you came to get that student loan debt
But worst of all young man you've got Monetary Disease'

He wrote me a prescription he said 'you are depressed
But I'm glad you came to see me to get this off your chest
Come back and see me later - next patient please
Send in another victim of Monetary Disease'

I go down to Wall Street's Zucotti I'm thunderstruck
They got free speech, tourists, police in trucks
Two men say they're Jesus (er...Fed chief) one of them must be wrong
There's a protest singer singing a protest song - he says
'they wanna have a war to keep us on our knees
They wanna have a war to keep their factories
They wanna have a war to stop us buying Japanese
They wanna have a war to stop deflation Disease

They're pointing out the enemy to keep you deaf and blind
They wanna sap your energy incarcerate your mind
They give you Pax Americana, lite beer, USA Today 
Long weekend Carnival cruise and Sunday pigskin

Meanwhile the first Jesus (Ben) says 'I'd cure it soon
Abolish monday mornings and friday afternoons'
The other one's on an inflation strike she's (Janet) QE'ing by degrees
How come Fed chiefs give us Monetary Disease

Hobbleknee's picture

"In nearly all countries, at least 10 percent of adults lacked the most basic of computer skills such as using a mouse."


Old people don't use computers. So what.

Sudden Debt's picture

old people aren't used in the stats anymore. They only appear in the "old dudes who need money" chart.

Manthong's picture

Sheep so mesmerized by their gadgets and their need to feel connected that they have no situational awareness.

..not real smart when driving a car or when a crazy guy with a .45 walks by you a few times.

..but the good news is that it was California and the magazine was under 10 rounds (likely 8).. so the danger is lessened because you probably can't conveniently carry more than a couple dozen or so 8 round (drop free) magazines for that piece.

Edelweiss's picture

I don't think I've ever seen the people around me so "connected", and yet so oblivious.  A coworker was recently watching a video touting the newest icrap.  He was so giddy, I thought he might have to relieve himself at some point.  Pathetic.

Manthong's picture


Proof positive that Americans are dumber than rocks:



I would rather take the chance of something going wrong with the aforementioned scenario than to sit by and watch a kid get executed.

It certainly would send a message to the rest of the predators who have free reign now.

But , what the hell.. the .gov solution proposes there should be an alert citizen with a legal pair of scissors who would have had real good luck going up against a purposeful, hate filled nut with a .45.

oh.. and don't take your legal scissors to the airport.. they will confiscate them.


msmith9962's picture

They are meeting in the basement of the Alamo.

wisehiney's picture

My relative was in the pile of ashes (along with the other defenders) that were gathered up and carried to the old church days after the battle. Texas should have never joined the U.S. 

buyingsterling's picture

We can fix that mistake. If Texas leaves OK will leave at the same time, and then the entire midwest will follow, since without TX and OK, we'll get a string of sociaist tyrants in DC. Not that TX and OK are libertarian paradises, but post-secession, they might be.

James_Cole's picture

If Texas leaves OK will leave at the same time, and then the entire midwest will follow

Please dear Gawd let this happen. 

Zadok's picture

Amen to that!

Lord, is this an option? It sure sounds good to me!

GMadScientist's picture

Before you know it, the Federal deficit will start to come down (what with all the moocher red states other than Tejas no longer taking more from the Fed than they contribute in revenue), American average IQ scores will rise suddenly, and New Mexico will have to "build a fence".


11b40's picture

Post secession, Texans wil soon be know as Mexicans.

AlaricBalth's picture

So was mine. Andrew Kent, with the Gonzales Alamo Relief Force.
I may have to go to Texas for that event.

cynicalskeptic's picture

The rest of the US would agree with you.  If Texas had never joined the Union would we have gotten W and Cheney?  Without LBJ would we have lost Kennedy and had Vietnam go on for another decade?


I think the US is TOO BIG and TOO 'powerful'.  Most of the world would likely agree.   If you broke the US up into 'rational' divisions, or never had the expanded US,  you'd likely have far more productive nation states focused on their own prosperity (and inherent strengths) instead of the behemoth we have today that is failing economically but bullying the rest of the world.   The Middle America manufacturing belt woud never on its own agreed to 'free trade' and the Agricultural Midwest wouldn't be so dependent on big government subsidies - and 'aid' to the rest of the world (while using up ever scarcer water and consuming barrels of oil in prodiucing that food).   The Old South.....?  The Middle Atlantic and New England on their own would never have let Wall Street get so out of control (and couldn't on their own afford to bail failed banks out).   California would likely be split wiht the north going to the Pacific Northwest and the South going to the desert states - or would the latter be part of a larger Mexico (as they were originally  - and would that Mexico be far richer having benefitted from California's gold?  Utah is a Mormon theocracy.  Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas could be their own libertarian state.  Florida would be part of a capitalist Cuba (no Communism ther without the big bad US) and Texas would be free to drill for all the oil they can find.  Alaska would be a bit different without all the Federal jobs - though probably a big oil producer (for good or bad).  Hawaii could could revert to or have continued as an independent monarchy (no US no 'Pearl Harbor?'. no US in WWII (or WWI for that matter).  A bunch of smaller countries would likely have stayed out of it all completely.  And a bunch of smaller countries would NEVER have racked up the total debt that the larger US has.

Oldwood's picture

That depends on if we had a Monetary Union like the euro. Europe does not appear to be the center of wealth and freedom right now.

BlankfeinDiamond's picture

Am I missing something? This is a good thing?

zorba THE GREEK's picture

Talk about being dumb, I actually voted in the last 11 presidential elections.

Like that was worth the effort. I voted for the Republicrats.

zorba THE GREEK's picture

Talk about being dumb, my neighbor said he saw me and my wife running around

naked in our bedroom last Saturday night.....I told him that he was really dumb

because I wasn't even at home last Saturday night. What a bozo.

Ident 7777 economy's picture

Well, you really showed her -er- she showed you ... no, wait ...

floyd084's picture

its moster dumberest. lern to rite.

Dugald's picture


its moster dumberest. lern to rite.

Yous don need ter reed n ryte to be a world bully boy.......

booyah or sumpin.......