Ranking United States Presidents by Their IQs


Regardless of what you think of their politics, their policies, or their personalities, one thing is certain: You don’t become the President of the United States if you’re a total dummy. Sure, some of them may show questionable judgment or do things that make you wonder — the sheer number of presidents who have fallen down the stairs at some point during their run is staggering — but generally speaking, you need to be pretty smart in most respects if you’re going to be the most powerful person in the free world. President IQs from Washington to Bush were calculated in scientific studies done by Catherine Cox and Dean Keith Simonton, in 1926 and 2006 (respectively), and some of them are shockingly high. To put these IQs into perspective, keep in mind that the average IQ for someone who is considered to be of normal intelligence (according to Verywell Mind) is between 85 and 115.

But who’s surprised? They were President of the United States, after all.

Ulysses S. Grant – 130

When the “least smart” president on this list still has an IQ of 130, a full 15 points above the cutoff for “average,” you begin to get an idea of just how smart we’re talking about when it comes to people who are after this coveted position.

George W. Bush – 138.5

George W. Bush seems to have developed a reputation in some circles over the years for being one of the dumbest presidents to ever hold office. Sure, some of that is earned; he wasn’t exactly the world’s best public speaker, and he did have a tendency to invent words and say things that were pretty meaningless. He has the second-lowest IQ on this list. But remember that 138.5 is still, compared with the general population, pretty high.

James Monroe – 138.6

James Monroe was the last of the Founding Fathers to be elected to the presidency, and there may be a reason they went through all the others first; with an IQ of 138.6, Monroe just edges George W. Bush for the third-lowest score! That being said, a score of 138.6 doesn’t make him a slouch, either. It’s considered “very superior” intelligence, according to the Wechsler IQ classification.

Andrew Johnson – 138.9

Andrew Johnson ascended to the presidency after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, but was subsequently the first President of the United States to be impeached after his plans to restore the seceded states to the Union — without granting protection to former slaves — came under fire in Congress. The country certainly did move on to elect smarter men; his IQ was only 138.9.

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