Category: Non-cognitive Ability

Trends in marriage and fertility by race in the United States

This is a brief data post illustrating trends in marriage and fertility by race during all years for which data is available. I decided to make this post after failing to find useful charts clearly documenting this information. So I constructed the charts that I wanted by piecing together information from different publications of CDC and Census data. All of the data is (at the moment) publicly available online and all of my charts/calculations are available in a Google spreadsheet that is cited in each section.

Rates of risky sexual behaviors among high schoolers by race and sex in the United States

In this post, I document rates of risky sexual behaviors by race and sex in the United States. The data is based on surveys conducted by the CDC on nationally representative samples of high school students between 1991 and 2021. The data generally show patterns that are in line with other patterns regarding engagement in undesirable behavior: black students generally report greater rates of risky behavior than white and Hispanic students, who both report greater rates than Asian students. However, most of the racial disparities have decreased significantly in the past 10 years, leaving very small or even reversed gaps in the most recent surveys.

Racial differences in relationship and childbearing patterns

The post documents racial differences in relationship and childbearing patterns. This covers a broad range of topics including racial differences in marriage rates, cohabitation rates, marital stability, marital well-being, sexual behaviors, pregnancies, abortions, fertility rates, single mother household rates, half-siblings, and more. In general, there is a typical rank-order of desirable outcomes by race/ethnicity. Asians tend to have the best outcomes, followed by whites, Hispanics, and then blacks with the worse outcomes.

Achievement beyond IQ: childhood self-regulation

In previous posts, I have emphasized the predictive power of IQ on a variety of outcomes such as education academic achievement, educational attainment, occupational prestige, income, and crime. I referenced studies showing that IQ is a better predictor of many of these outcomes compared to other metrics traditionally assumed to predict success. For example, many studies show that IQ predicts education, occupation, and income better than many metrics that people assume to be predictors of success – e.g. parental SES, parental income, parental education, etc. Such data might lead some to believe that IQ is by far the single best predictor of conventional measures of success within Western societies. I wish to challenge that idea in this post. I do not necessarily deny that IQ is generally the best predictor of certain measures of success. Rather, I insist that there are a variety of personality traits that are better predictors for certain measures of success. There are many personality traits that I could use to support my argument, such as conscientiousness or locus of control. In this post, I will focus on self-regulation. I will present data showing that self-regulation predicts a variety of important outcomes independent of various confounders (including IQ and parental SES).

Achievement beyond IQ: group differences

In this post, I will show specific examples of group differences in success that are not the result of differences in intelligence or cognitive ability. I will begin by citing evidence Asian American overachievement in a variety of metrics of success – e.g., academic achievement, income, occupational prestige, etc. – are not entirely the result of an advantage in cognitive ability. In the future, I plan to add data to this post showing that other groups – including Jews, women, and certain groups of black people – also achieve more than what would be predicted based on their intelligence. 

The early emergence of black-white disparities

Most people are aware of the significant disparities between blacks and whites regarding a wide range of important social outcomes, including crime, income, education, poverty, welfare usage, etc. I have written extensively on racial disparities in crime and on the degree to which disparities in IQ explain many of the important racial disparities. In this post, I will review studies and data that show that many of these disparities appear extremely early. Specifically, I will show that disparities in IQ, cognitive skills, misconduct, and self-regulation appear extremely early in life. For each of these categories, I will show that we find black-white disparities at pre-school age or even earlier. The general pattern for these disparities is that they gradually grow as children age, until the magnitude of the disparities eventually mirror the gaps that we find between black and white adults.