hbd: a primer on hispanic bio-diversity

The field of human biological diversity (or human biodiversity – HBD for short) deals, in general, with God-given (i.e. innate) biological and genetic differences in humans (whether individuals or groups) – differences which stem from divergent evolutionary trajectories (for instance, r-selected groups versus K-selected groups). It is highly controversial, however – this is partly due to an emphasis in racial differences which manifest themselves in discussions of average intelligence (i.e. IQ) differences between racial groups. I first got into HBD when a black HBD’er (I mention his race here because black HBD’ers, to my knowledge, are very rare) responded to a forum post of mine on education earlier this year and initiated a heck of a convo. From that point, I dug deeper and while I don’t necessarily agree with some of the commentary HBD’ers present, I still found the material interesting (you’ll find a sample of the HBD blogs I read most often in my sidebar). Incidentally, aside from myself, I’m not sure if there are any other Hispanic HBD’ers…

…anyhow, what I will try to do in my next series of HBD-related posts is to dig deeper into Hispanic biodiversity – a topic hardly covered even in the HBD blogosphere except in conversations on immigration and differences between them and other racial/ethnic groups (though hbd* chick recently posted on Hispanic familism and self-identification). Shall we begin?

To frame the picture, let us first consider a piece of 2010 Census data:

[Fig. 1] U.S. Hispanic Population, from the 2010 Census (includes 2000 numbers and percent changes); click to enlarge.

As you can see, there are twenty Hispanic sub-groups! Clearly it’ll be difficult disentangling the differences, so I’ll take it one sub-group at a time. Before that, here’s another piece of data for you:

Hispanic IQ

[Fig. 2] Average Hispanic IQ (and data quality) by nation.

The IQ figures given here come from Lynn & Vanhanen’s Intelligence: A Unifying Construct for the Social Sciences – figures that I cited in my blog post on Hispanic achievement gaps. As I mentioned there, μ = 85.3 and σ = 4.7; by the Central Limit Theorem, for sufficiently large and robust samples, the true population standard deviation is about 20.9. This deviation is greater than the expected deviation of 15; clearly there’s a lot of variation between each of these “Hispanic” nationalities. (Here I place Hispanic in quotes since Spain is a European country with a mostly White population.) The average American Hispanic IQ, however, is somewhat higher than 85.3; the infamous Bell Curve gives an estimate of 89; Steve Sailer blogged about a 2001 meta-analysis yielding a similar estimate. Data quality measures for IQ and scholastic achievement, respectively, appear in the 3rd column – these also came from L & V’s book. Higher numbers indicate higher-quality data – highest quality rating is 25 for IQ and 16 for scholastic achievement; dashes indicate insufficient or missing data. Nicaragua’s IQ estimate is an extrapolation based on biologically similar neighbors; insufficient data on Nicaragua exists. Note that data quality is generally low or missing; to borrow an oft-repeated phrase, More Research is Required!

That’s nice and all, but why is there so much variance in IQ within the Hispanic nations and sub-groups? Heck, what differences besides racial/ethnic/IQ exist within the Hispanic nations and sub-groups? Trust me, it’ll take a while to answer, but we have to start somewhere, right?

That somewhere, as it turns out, is the Caribbean.

A preview: while there are 20 Hispanic sub-groups and 7 classifications (namely, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central American, South American, and Spaniard), most will fall under one of two categories: Mestizo and Mulatto. Mestizos and Mulattos are both mixed-race people; the former arise from a European/Amerindian union while the latter arise from a European/African union.

Further muddying the field is the “Latino” classification, also consisting of 20 sub-groups which completely overlap with the “Hispanic” classification except for Spaniards. Spaniards are not Latino; the 20th Latino sub-group – Brazilians – are not Hispanic.

Confused yet?

In the future, I hope to disentangle these differences, strand by strand; though the task will be difficult, I believe it’ll be rewarding!

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