Fresh Air or Times Square?
July 3, 2014 2:34 PM   Subscribe

Where do the smartest people move? A new report finds that higher intelligence is linked with rural-to-city migration, and with city-to-suburb movement.
posted by pearlybob (14 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
When do we get career chips, like in futurama? When is that happening?
posted by Halogenhat at 2:49 PM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think it's fair to say the question really is: Where did the smart baby boomers move, from starting out to raising their families?

This apparent migration, to the city cores then back to the suburbs, happened between 1979 and 1996. Does this past become our present and future? Or, given the shifts in housing prices between generations, are these results particular to a certain set of economic conditions and affordable housing that no longer hold?

With house becoming increasing less affordable, migrations which happen in later generations seem unlikely, to me, to follow those of their parents.
posted by bonehead at 3:01 PM on July 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

The brand of car I drive also confirms my intellectual superiority.
posted by XMLicious at 3:07 PM on July 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

Call me a restless intellect, but it wasn't my IQ that caused me to move, it was a combination of career and Mrs A being from that country.
posted by arcticseal at 3:13 PM on July 3, 2014 was a combination of career and Mrs A being from that country.

I have hung out on a lot of gifted lists and your reasons jibe with my anecdotal observations and with this blurb from the article:
The study's overall takeaway? Smart people just don't like to stay put.
I kind of suspect that military service is sort of the poor/not college educated but still smart person's choice, in part because the scenery changes. Urban planning and some other fields that practically require a master's to get your big toe in the door are strongly correlated with moving around to advance your career. So there may be no clear dividing line between desire to move around per se and desire to have certain intellectually oriented jobs/careers. Some folks who pursued jobs that required smarts ended up moving whether they wanted to or not. Others more explicitly chose work that allowed them to travel/move around. Either way, anecdotally, there seems to be fairly strong correlation between high IQ and failing to put down roots and stay put overly long.
posted by Michele in California at 3:21 PM on July 3, 2014

Yep, I always suspected that Lisa Douglas was smarter than Oliver...
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:23 PM on July 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

London or New York, obviously. Everywhere else is for thickies.
posted by Decani at 3:24 PM on July 3, 2014

Where do stupid people move?
posted by IndigoJones at 3:38 PM on July 3, 2014

Color me thicky. I live in the town where I was born, except for about 10 years when I was in college & bumbling around looking for a career afterwards in a dinky redneck town.
posted by yoga at 4:36 PM on July 3, 2014

The article says most of the research was in the 80s. I wonder what happens now. I live in Vancouver, so most people I know don't head to the suburbs to raise families.

The very highest IQ levels were found not among people who grew up in city centers but among those who grew up in rural areas and ended up in cities. That suggests longer migration distances into the city "require individuals to have increasingly high IQ to make the move," he says.
I was one of a handful of people from my high school who left town to go to university. People had these inflated views of how smart you had to be to go to university. Pretty much only those of us who scored in the top 2-3% went to university right after high school. More than that went to community college and later transferred to university. But most people stayed in town and got jobs at the grocery store. Those of us who left tended to be so intellectual that we stuck out like sore thumbs and really were only ever going to feel like we had a tribe if we went to the city. We were the outliers, I guess.

I am raising my kids in an urban area. I hope to raise them with the idea that you do not need to be brilliant to go to university or post-secondary programs. I think many hard-working B students could do just fine at university. I think it's a real shame that we were told you had to be brilliant to go. I think it makes more sense to tell people that tutors, mentors, hard work, inside info about how the system works and other tools can help you get into and through university. I also think it's important that kids understand you don't need perfect marks in all subjects. Many of us gave up certain subjects because we were getting B+s and we were afraid we wouldn't get into university.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 5:07 PM on July 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

IQ scores correlate reasonably well with educational performance, because in the high to average range, the tests were designed to do that. People who do well in school are more likely to go college, and then likely to move to get a job. A lot of times these jobs end up being in cities. People who grow up in cities and go to college are also more likely to move to get jobs, and so slightly more likely to end up in a different kind of neighborhood.

I don't think IQ is really doing anything here as an explanatory variable. I think level of education would be a much stronger predictor of movement, and I doubt if IQ would account for any of the variance if level of education were partialed out.
posted by nangar at 7:59 PM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

"The most general message is that the selective residential mobility we observe associated with socioeconomic status has its psychological underpinnings in intelligence differences," says Jokela.

This seems like a highly problematic analysis.
posted by eviemath at 7:06 AM on July 4, 2014

The most general message is that the selective residential mobility logic we observe associated with socioeconomic status this psychologist's attempts to address a sociological question has its psychological sociological underpinnings in intelligence differences insufficient reading

Never having met the quoted author it would have been crass of me to leave the last two words untouched
posted by ormon nekas at 7:19 AM on July 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

That aside, level of education is in the data set as far as I can tell, so there is room for someone else to do a more serious analysis.

The first thing to check is whether the IQ gradient is also found within roughly equivalently-educated subgroups, because everyone is right that the education–jobs complex is the biggest reason why cognitive test scores and spatial mobility would be related.

I'd do a bit of exploration myself but I'm very late on very many deadlines as it is...
posted by ormon nekas at 7:31 AM on July 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

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