The top ten countries with the most Mensa geniuses

Scandinavia cleans up in ranking of nations with highest recorded IQ per capita

Finnish flag, Finland
Finland topped the list for the second consecutive year
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Data released by Mensa, the world's largest and oldest IQ society, has revealed which nations boast the highest proportion of members.

Mensa International was founded in 1946 at Lincoln College, Oxford, to unite people of above-average intelligence from around the world in intellectual fellowship. Membership is only open to people with an IQ in the top two percent of the population. Its stated goals are "to identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity, to encourage research in the nature, characteristics and uses of intelligence, and to promote stimulating intellectual and social opportunities for its members".

The organisation ranks countries by the number of Mensa members it has per capita, to give an idea of where genius appears to be concentrated.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

The findings come with a few important caveats. First, the data can only tell us the number of enrolled Mensa members in each country, not the number of citizens who would be eligible for membership. In countries where IQ testing fees and annual membership dues might be more prohibitive to the average citizen, or where awareness of the organisation is low, it is to be expected that fewer eligible individuals will be Mensa members.

Second, although the organisation's 120,000 members include individuals from more than 100 countries, only 51 of those nations have their own "national group", which keeps its own membership tally, within Mensa. So, of these national groups, which are the brainiest?

Finland takes the top spot, with 2,700 Mensa members out of a population of 5.4 million – meaning one in every 2,000 Finns is enrolled in the prestigious organisation – and Sweden follows in second place.

Brits will be pleased to note that the UK comes in an eminently respectable third place, with one Mensa member for every 2,868 people. Here are the top ten national groups:

1. Finland

2. Sweden

3. United Kingdom

4. Netherlands

5. Denmark

6. Ireland

7. Norway

8. Luxembourg

9. Czech Republic

10. Croatia

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us