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Countries With the Most Brain Power

Name the brainiest countries in the world, based on a variety of different metrics.
Data from BBC News, Times Higher Education UK, The OECD, Thomson Reuters/Science Watch, World Intellectual Property Organization, and Wikipedia.
Quiz by kalbahamut
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Last updated: October 15, 2018
First submittedMay 29, 2013
Times taken1,827
Rating2.78
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# of Universities Ranked Top 25
19 (76%)
United States of America
4 (16%)
United Kingdom
1 (4%)
Switzerland
1 (4%)
Canada
 
 
# of Scientific Papers Published
2.97 M
United States of America
0.79 M
Japan
0.76 M
Germany
0.68 M
England
0.65 M
China
0.55 M
France
0.42 M
Canada
0.40 M
Italy
0.31 M
Spain
0.28 M
Australia
 
 
# of Men Sent to the Moon
12
United States of America
# of Scientific Citations
44.7 M
United States of America
9.4 M
Germany
9.4 M
England
7.6 M
Japan
6.3 M
France
5.2 M
Canada
4.4 M
Italy
3.4 M
Netherlands
3.4 M
China
3.1 M
Australia
 
 
# of Nobel Laureates
338
United States of America
119
United Kingdom
103
Germany
59
France
29
Sweden
25
Switzerland
23
Russia
21
Canada
20
Austria
20
Italy
% of College Graduates
51%
Canada
46%
Israel
45%
Japan
42%
United States of America
41%
New Zealand
40%
South Korea
38%
United Kingdom
38%
Finland
38%
Australia
37%
Ireland
 
 
# of Patents In Force
1.873 M
United States of America
1.270 M
Japan
1.056 M
China/Hong Kong
624 T
South Korea
599 T
United Kingdom
510 T
Germany
439 T
France
166 T
Spain
147 T
Russia
122 T
Canada
+1
level 57
Jun 2, 2013
could you accept Holland for the Netherlands
+1
level 77
Jun 2, 2013
Technically Holland is just part of the Netherlands, but okay.
+4
level 40
Jun 5, 2013
Oh this quiz is just silly. It's ridiculously stacked in favour of the US. What is it supposed to be proving? The US is the largest industrialised country, so of course it appears near the top of these lists. In terms of ACTUAL academic standard the US performs very poorly. Finland has the best education system in the world. I read recently that 42% of Americans can't point out their own country on a map... that more than 1/2 don't accept evolution. As to the Moon... the Russians were the first people to have a flag on the Moon (and if you don't believe me... look it up.) :)
+4
level 77
Jun 5, 2013
It's supposed to prove what it proves. I'm not sure what you mean by ACTUAL, but I guess you learned how to capitalize words somewhere other than Finland. Everything on the above quiz is completely accurate, but I understand that some people who have a chip on their shoulder about being overshadowed by the US need to cling to something to make themselves feel better- be that marginally higher standardized testing scores for middle school students, or stereotypes that they have embraced without any scientific evidence to back them up, or random polls that only paint a narrow picture. If you feel that a few kids in high school scoring a couple points higher on their math tests is what's ACTUALLY important and can convince yourself that a vastly superior tertiary education system and by far the world's largest amount of scientific output doesn't count enough to dispel your own prejudices, and you can go on grasping to the lie that all Americans are dumb, great. More power to you.
+1
level 80
May 5, 2014
Zing!!
+3
level 77
Jun 5, 2013
Being a large and populous country is actually quite a big hindrance in the % of college graduates category. How does your prejudicial worldview account for that? And per capita the number of Australian universities that rank in the top 25 worldwide is still 0. Actually the USA does well in all of these categories per capita, as well, the ones that make any sense to measure that way... It's still near the top of Nobel prize winners, for instance. Though.. they only give out one prize per year in a category, so it's not as if they hand one to every smart person in the country. I am sorry if this shatters or endangers the way you like to view the world. I was told by another user that this makes me racially insensitive (stating facts that contradict others' bigotries). I'm working on that.
+2
level 35
Feb 4, 2016
Not really the size gives you a lot of resources and the population a means to turn it into wealth. There are many that lack one of these providing them a significantly harder challenge.
+2
level 77
Feb 4, 2016
This simply isn't borne out by.... anything. Countries that are tiny with small populations are very easy to run. They might have fewer resources, but it doesn't matter because it takes far fewer resources to create a consistent level of quality education for their small and geographically confined populations. They don't have to waste resources managing a huge bureaucracy or try to get all the small rural schools in remote areas up to the same standards as wealthier urban or suburban schools. And nobody expects countries like Luxembourg to play any significant role at all in international policing actions, or worldwide disaster relief or disease containment. If having huge populations spread out over a large area was so advantageous then China would have a much higher college graduate percentage than Israel. But it's not.
+1
level 77
Jun 5, 2013
and... "near" the top? The US absolutely crushes in every one of these categories (and many many many others) except for the college graduates where "near" is accurate... but you're still able to say "near" the top? Futher, other industrialized countries might show up in some categories here but not others. Japan for example... very inventive people... they're just behind the U.S. in patents and scientific output, while the UK does have a few more decent colleges than the average country but doesn't hold many patents. Germany doesn't have as many good universities, but the quality of their scientific research (measured by the number of times they are cited) is quite high. and China holds the #3 spot in patents but fails to do as well in other categories. That you could believe American dominance (not just presence, but dominance) in every metric is insignificant just shows how biased you are.

and yes, I'm aware of Russia's accomplishments in sending robots and dogs into space.
+1
level 35
Feb 4, 2016
Are you aware there are cultural differences, and that you may be basing your quiz on American ideals.
+1
level 77
Feb 4, 2016
Which other culture believes that scientific achievement is not a good measure of applied brain power? Maybe I could throw in something like # of noteworthy musicians, authors, or filmmakers... it's a little harder to find objective data on those subjects.
+1
level 77
Jun 5, 2013
Finally, the US is not the largest industrialized country. It ranks 3rd or 4th depending on how you measure in terms of land area, and 3rd in terms of population. I suppose you didn't study geography in Finland, either?

"I read recently that 42% of Americans can't point to their own country on a map"

We all applaud your ability to read, though, the quality of what you are reading does count for something. Where did you come up with that? HenryFordWasANazi.blogspot.com? If you actually believe that absurd statistic then, well... at this point I think the evidence speaks for itself.
+2
level 35
Feb 4, 2016
Interesting how you shift goal posts here, but baulk when others have done the same. For example the UK has 4 of the top 25 Universities meaning 2.45% of its Universities are in the top 25. How does America compare? (This depends on you definition of a University as this changes between countries.) Totally agree on your slam against the obviously bs statistic. I do find it incredibly annoying when people say Americans have poor geographic knowledge. The questions are often on things that people outside of that geographic area are unlikely to know.
+1
level 77
Feb 4, 2016
What are you talking about? What goal posts?
+1
level 39
May 8, 2015
I don't accept evolution. I have an IQ of 139 and I've made a point of investigating all religions and beliefs, and choosing my own. I chose creationism. I'm not making any of this up.
+1
level 77
May 8, 2015
Kid... I don't want to be too hard on you. I know you're like.. 12 or something. But... do you really not understand what you sound like to literally every single person reading these comments? Try to imagine you saw someone else post what you just posted.
+1
level 77
May 8, 2015
and btw my IQ is 165 but I don't go around telling everybody. Also, at your age, while it's admirable that you have spent some time investigating other "beliefs," it's much less admirable that you think you've reached a point where you can declare a winner. If there was a picture of "sophomoric" in the dictionary it might be a screen capture of the last couple comments you made here. Again, I realize you're probably just not old enough to know any better, but, just trying to be helpful...
+3
level 26
May 19, 2015
Kalbahamut, that was pretty rude. GhostRider responding to the first post saying that 1/2 do not believe in evolution. First, he stated his view on evolution. Then, he gave his IQ to show that he is an intelligent person who has researched numerous viewpoints, not a stubborn high school dropout. Finally, he said what his conclusion is based on the research he has done. Just because his opinion doesn't align with yours doesn't mean you can say stuff like "You're probably not old enough to know better." He did research and came to a conclusion that he chose to share with other people. Don't be disrespectful.
+2
level 77
May 19, 2015
I wasn't being disrespectful at all. I was actually sincerely trying to help. The post he made was embarrassing. If he doesn't figure it out quickly he's going to have a really hard time in life. And he has confessed elsewhere that he is in his teens.

Of course, he is also absolutely, totally, laughably wrong about the whole Creationism thing... and I hope that, if he's as smart as he thinks he is, he'll figure that out eventually, too... but my comment about being too young to know any better was not about this. It was about acting extremely sophomoric, claiming and bragging about wisdom without actually displaying any, telling people that you know stuff instead of demonstrating that you do, and, worst of all, announcing your IQ score as a means of shoring up your argument. Nobody, ever, would respond positively to that. He could learn the hard way by growing up and facing ridicule, scorn, and social ostracization. Or... he could take to heart the kind advice of someone older
+1
level 73
Oct 16, 2018
Anyone stating his IQ on the internet probably took an internet "IQ test".
+1
level 77
Oct 16, 2018
probably.
+1
level 77
Jun 5, 2013
The point of this quiz if it can be said that there is one (not everybody here designs every quiz they make with an agenda in mind, though I've caught some users doing that) is, primarily, to be an amusing diversion. It's secondary point would be to show how a variety of countries from several different corners of the globe have accomplished various things through their collective application of brain power. A tertiary point might be to annoy the many people out there, like our friend leaving comments above, who have a deep-seated need to believe that all Americans are stupid, in spite of mountains of evidence to the contrary.
+1
level 77
Jun 6, 2013
Hey Oz, since you're not responding here, if this quiz upsets you so much maybe follow your own advice and make your own? I'll help with the idea.
Since your goal is to show that Americans are dumb, find something related to smarts where the US isn't at the very top of the list, preferably where Australia ranks better, even by a miniscule amount.
Then, create a quiz for the top 20 results, but cut it off to only include countries above the USA. If the US ranks 17th on the list for example, cut it off at top 15. (16 would be a little obvious, not that this has stopped you before)
After that, leave snooty comments implying that being ranked 13th or 14th makes you "elite" but 16th or 17th means you are mediocre, without really stating overtly what you mean.
Finally, if another quiz turns up that refutes this theory 7 different ways, complain loudly that it is silly and that your quiz supersedes all. Good luck, I'm sure it will be a great quiz. ;-) Cheers, mate.
+2
level 40
Jun 6, 2013
Kal... you sound completely insane. You're responses are totally incoherent. Less time writing bizarre comments... more time reading books is required I think. ;)
+1
level 77
Jun 6, 2013
Now you are undermining your previous assertion that you can read. Sorry, but I'm not going to struggle to come down to your reading level. Thank you, though, for taking the time to prove the validity of the quiz.
+2
level 40
Jun 8, 2013
Oh dear, have I upset you Kal? Poor poppet. Try this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-shehori/poll-37-of-americans-unab_b_150933.html And this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/05/americans-believe-in-creationism_n_1571127.html And just for an extra bit fun: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/ufos-exist-americans-national-geographic-survey/story?id=16661311#.UbLaspyjKSo Gee, what incredibly high academic standards they have in America. ;) In what formate can I expect your grovelled apology Kal? lol... based on above you're probably too busy getting lost on the way home and ending up getting rectal exams from aliens. No wonder you keep missing all those fossils. lol
+1
level 77
Jun 8, 2013
What gave you the idea that I was upset? I know that you have trouble reading, you already confessed that in your last post, so I am not surprised that you are confused again. I know that reality really stings for people like you. Bigots who NEED to cling to their prejudices just to make it through the day because facing reality it too painful. I am sorry that it hurts so much. I am sorry that your own life is so full of frustration and despair at your own insignificance. I can only imagine what that must feel like. But my pity is not going to make me accept statements from bigots like yourself. I am more committed to fairness and honesty than I am to pampering your ego. So, while I can point to facts that actually matter, like those above, you can dig up color pieces about UFOs. By the way, the idiot who built the creation museum in Kentucky: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Ham is Australian.
+1
level 77
Jun 8, 2013
and thank you, again, for not just proving the absolute validity of the quiz through your inability to refute any part of it (I bring up universities, scientific work, patents and college education; the best you can do is point to hicks and their alien hobby), but also for demonstrating the need for its existence (to provide balance against the bigoted haters like yourself).

It's very telling that you get *so* angry just by the implication that Americans are not stupid. It really shows just how much of a bigot you are, as was clear to me from the beginning though you tried to deny it. I didn't make a quiz or any comments denigrating your country or any specific people, just wanted to show that Americans are not any more stupid than anyone else, but this is too much for you to take. You can't let it stand. It is too damaging to the fallacious and prejudiced worldview you have constructed. So you resort to insults. Very telling.
+1
level 44
Aug 2, 2014
The thing is you're both right. Americans have vastly better output from their educated than much of the rest of the world. But their uneducated, as Oz points out, can't find themselves on a map. This goes right back to the Finnish, and why we don't score well (in the top 5) on standardized tests. The Finnish teach everyone, whereas the Americans only teach the smart, the gifted and the wealthy. The Finnish do not have GT, AP and IB. They don't even have private schools (for the most part). They invest everything in all students. Teachers get paid very handsomely. American schools only invest in the smart half, leaving everyone else pitifully in the rear.
+1
level 44
Aug 2, 2014
And the ultimate irony is that America, in its zeal to improve performance on standardized tests, uses copious practice testing to ensure compliance and achievement. And we consistently underperform. Whereas Finland doesn't use ANY standardized testing, and ends up ranking 3rd in the world on standardized metrics.
+1
level 77
Aug 2, 2014
As a teacher who spent a year working with underperforming students in an American public school, giving them special help and attention (mostly they were children of undocumented immigrants who did not speak English well or at all, many had never been to school before), and that's all that I was doing for a pretty decent salary along with 5 other teachers in the building, I'm not sure I can agree with this. Though there are issues with the public education system in the USA, sure. We've got a lot of problems to tackle that smaller, wealthier, more homogenous countries don't have to deal with.
+1
level 32
Sep 29, 2013
You give "UK" as the answer to some but "England" to others? Not the same thing.
+1
level 77
Sep 29, 2013
I know that. But for some of these lists they counted the countries of the UK separately, and for others they counted them collectively. For the sake of making the answers easier to get I made the answers interchangeable. In one or two cases I combined some of the UK countries together and put them under a single label if data was available.
+1
level 35
Feb 4, 2016
Each country in the UK has its own education authority with different standards. It would be wrong to combine some of these statistics.
+1
level 77
Feb 4, 2016
I hope you will forgive me, then.
+2
level 59
Apr 1, 2014
Hmmm... While I don't dispute the accuracy of this quiz in any way, I think the title is slightly offensive, as it suggests that the countries listed here are smarter/brainier than others (who are not). I don't doubt that these stats are true, but you also have to take into account the population and especially wealth of these countries. Sadly, education is impossible without money, so of course poorer countries are immediately at a disadvantage here.
+1
level 77
Apr 2, 2014
"brain power" could be defined different ways. I just wanted a quiz that showed how different countries had made accomplishments in various fields like science, education and invention. I know that speaking to intelligence is one of the quickest and surest ways to offend people, and generally try to avoid making any negative generalizations on the subject for this reason. It's unfortunate that so many people (like the commenter I pissed off above) are not given pause by the same concerns when they accuse Americans of being stupid to satisfy their own prejudices and insecurities. Dispelling that myth was part of the impetus for creating the quiz. The intention was something positive, I didn't mean to suggest that any country not on this list was full of stupid or unintelligent people. And of course you are right, economic and industrial development play a large role, and population is another (much less important, IMO) factor.
+1
level 77
Apr 7, 2014
I don't think it's that huge of a factor, and certainly less important than industrial and economic development which is the point I was just making above. You disagree? Then how do you explain why Indonesia produces less scientific output than Switzerland?
+1
level 35
Feb 4, 2016
Noticed you just side step the fact that America was not allow in its race to the moon.
+1
level 77
Feb 4, 2016
I don't know what that attempt at a sentence was supposed to mean.
+1
level 77
Jul 13, 2016
If you mean to say that I "side stepped" gandalf's comment about sending men to the moon having something to do with Germany, yeah, I did. It wasn't worth responding to.

I assume he is referencing the fact that the USA benefitted from the expterise of Wernher van Braun among others after World War 2. So what? Ever notice how when other countries want to take credit for something... they have to find some backward roundabout way of doing it? Like... laying claim to the nationality of one of the thousands of people that worked on a project? (ergo, in their minds, somehow they did it)
You know the one country that NEVER has to do that because they actually have accomplished things recently? I'll let you figure it out.
+1
level 77
Jul 13, 2016
Maybe if Germany had spent more of its resources in the 40s developing its science and technology industries, and less on marching Jews, gypsies, cripples and homosexuals into ovens and gas chambers, they could have made the top spot in that particular category.

Priorities...
+1
level 44
Jun 1, 2014
People who bitch about the U.S. being glorified or "overrepresented" on these lists often utilize the "per capita" argument. They generally neglect to point out that the only reason a country such as China appears AT ALL is because they have such a massive population. Anti-American bias it sounds like to me.
+1
level 77
May 7, 2015
They also don't seem to have any answer for why countries like Indonesia, Brazil, India, Iran, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Nigeria, etc fail to show up. If population was so important they would. But it's really not a big factor. A factor... yes... but a pretty insignificant one. China has started to show up because their economy and industrial and scientific development has so rapidly improved. It has little to do with population. They had a massive population in 1950 too. The USA dominates because for most of the past century they were simply leagues ahead of everyone else.
+1
level 35
Feb 4, 2016
The culture of some of those countries has a negative stance to education.
+1
level 77
Feb 4, 2016
That doesn't make it any less absurd to state that population size is of paramount importance when it comes to scientific achievements. It clearly is almost meaningless. Economic and industrial development as well as a quality tertiary education system are all vastly more important factors than population. So... bringing it up probably just means that someone has an axe to grind with a certain populous country.
+1
level 35
Feb 4, 2016
Really, as far as I can see per capita would hurt Chinas placings.
+1
level 76
Jul 6, 2014
Got everything except Switzerland. Why do I always forget Switzerland???
+1
level 77
May 28, 2015
Singapore and Japan both now have a single university ranked in the top 25 worldwide. The UK still has 4. The US has a mere 17.
+1
level 31
Jun 25, 2015
% of College Graduates: Russia: 54% in 2008. 'According to a 2008 World Bank statistic 54% of the Russian labor force has attained a tertiary (college) education, giving Russia the highest attainment of college-level education in the world.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Russia
+1
level 77
Jun 25, 2015
That's interesting, but I followed the link and then clicked through to the primary source, and on the World Bank's page that was linked, this statistic doesn't appear anywhere that I could find. There is a statistic for tertiary school enrollment (The Russian Federation's 77% falls far short of those at the top of the list), but no statistic for tertiary degree completion... unless I missed it.

It may be that they measured differently. I found different lists for this statistic and they didn't all match up.
+1
level 77
Jun 25, 2015
Oh, another thing, it looks like the stats here were calculated based on the *work force* of the country... so this excludes both older, retired people (who are less likely to have a college degree), younger, unemployed people (who are also less likely to have a college degree), as well as children too young to have finished secondary school (who of course don't have a college degree)...
+1
level 60
Jul 2, 2015
OMG the USA is on here! Then again, I've thought of us differently thanks to your 'Stupid Americans' quiz!
+1
level 77
Jul 3, 2015
Yeah. Don't believe the hype.
+3
level 35
Feb 4, 2016
Number of men sent to the moon has nothing to do with the countries brain power. In the process America murdered at least 7 people through sheer stupidity. The British repeatedly told them it was not safe but ooh no America knows best.
+1
level 77
Feb 4, 2016
Okay... I guess the Americans can continue to make important scientific advancements that in turn lead to the improvement and prolongation of the lives of billions... and the British can whinge about following safety regulations and perhaps save another seven or more lives over the course of the coming decades. Happy to see everyone is pulling their own weight...
+2
level 40
Mar 5, 2016
The categories have nothing to do with intelligence. There are going to be naturally dumb and naturally smart people in every country in the world. Do you think that just because scientific papers are published more in the U.S. that that makes an average American person smarter than an average Somalian, Nigerian or Lithuanian person? Stop being so arrogant, immature and pretentious and live in reality. Also, passing college says more about levels of conformity than levels of intelligence.
+1
level 48
Mar 19, 2016
Gotta say I'm pretty disappointed North Korea isn't on the list.
+1
level 43
May 20, 2016
Well this quiz is about in which country can you make it if you're smart enough.
+1
level 80
Aug 31, 2016
"I'm just here for the comments." -my IQ is 180
+1
level 73
Oct 16, 2018
Trumped
+1
level 61
Jan 14, 2019
USA first everywhere!? We are talking about the same Americans who elected Donald Trump to presidency!
+1
level 77
Jan 14, 2019
Yep! Unfortunately you can find stupid people everywhere, even in any of these countries.