Plenty of people have been President of the United States, but they haven’t all been natural-born geniuses! Though most of them attended top-notch universities and had very successful academic careers, don’t think they’ve all had an easy time. We’ve compiled a list of seventeen presidents and one presidential hopeful to compare how their IQ scores stack up. We’ve also highlighted some of their accomplishments and shown some of what they did while in the Oval Office. Some of the names on this list may surprise you, shock you, or even scare you, but you’ll have to keep on reading to find out more!
#19 Hillary R. Clinton – 169 IQ
#18 John Quincy Adams – 168.8 IQ
John Quincy Adams boasted an impressively high IQ score of 168.8. He received his law degree from Harvard University and reportedly spoke at least four different languages fluently! He also was a talented statesman and representative of the United States in international affairs. There are lots of other Harvard grads on this list that you would never have expected to have such high IQs – just keep reading!
#17 Thomas Jefferson – 160 IQ
Thomas Jefferson is best known for his contributions to the founding of the United States. But did you know he also had an IQ score of 160 – making him one of the smartest people of all time! He left a positive legacy as President by lowering taxes and helping with the founding of the United States of America. Interestingly enough, he was the third president and the third smartest person on our list!
#16 John F. Kennedy – 158 IQ
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was only President for three short years before he was assassinated, but he still left his mark on the Oval Office. He attended Harvard University and served in the Navy, as well as married wife Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis. His IQ of 158 served him well while he was still alive and serving as President! You would never have guessed this next ex-president had a high IQ…
#15 William J. Clinton – 156 IQ
#14 Jimmy E. Carter – 153 IQ
James Earl “Jimmy” Carter is well-known for his intelligence. His IQ score of 153 backs this up. He attended the United States Naval Academy and served for several years before becoming President. After his term was up, he received a Nobel Peace Prize for his work to advance human rights around the world. You will definitely see why this next ex-president made the list…
#13 Theodore Roosevelt – 149 IQ
At only forty-three years old, Theodore Roosevelt became President of the United States. Thankfully, he had a strong IQ score of 149 to help him lead the country! He also held degrees from prestigious schools such as Harvard University and Columbia University, putting him among a select group of people to have degrees from more than one Ivy League School.
#12 Barack H. Obama – 145 IQ
Our most recent President, Barack Hussein Obama, has an IQ score of 145. He attended Harvard Law School, where his professors commented on his excellent academic talents, and he graduated in the top 15% of his class. He is also the first and only US President to have published a scholarly article while in the White House. If you thought that was impressive, wait until you see our next President…
#11 John Adams – 142.5 IQ
Our second President, John Adams, had an impressively high IQ of 142.5! While in office, he negotiated a peace treaty to end the Revolutionary War and help maintain peaceful relations with France. He also attended Harvard University. All in all, he had quite the impressive resume! Yet another Harvard boy is on the next slide!
#10 Abraham Lincoln – 140 IQ
Abraham Lincoln grew up on a farm and received very little formal schooling, but his IQ of 140 made him a genius! He is also the only President to have received a patent for an invention. His was a device that would allow steamboats to be freed after they had run aground. Another President with very little education is on Slide 12!
#9 Franklin D. Roosevelt – 139.6 IQ
Franklin Delano Roosevelt is considered to be one of the most intellectual presidents of all time, probably thanks at least in part to his IQ of 139.6! He got a degree from Harvard University before serving as President for almost twelve years. Throughout his presidency, he remained committed to his studies and often read for pleasure.
#8 George Washington – 132.5 IQ
He only had the educational level of an elementary schooler, but George Washinton still managed to be the very first President of the United States. We’re thinking that his IQ score of 132.5 probably helped, too! He also served in the military, much like the next President we have for you!
#7 Dwight D. Eisenhower – 131.9 IQ
An IQ of 131.9 is certainly nothing to scoff at! That’s the score earned by Dwight David Eisenhower. He was a Five Star General in the United States Army before becoming President and is known for his work regarding school integration and desegregation, as well as his efforts on civil rights issues.
#6 Richard M. Nixon – 131 IQ
Richard Millhouse Nixon had an IQ score of 131. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Whittier College and a law degree from Duke University, both with some of the highest distinctions possible. He was later disgraced during the Watergate Scandal but still earned many fans as the 37th President of the United States.
#5 George H.W. Bush – 130.1 IQ
George H.W. Bush took a detour from college to serve in the United States Navy, but after World War II was over, he used his impressive IQ of 130.1 to help him earn a degree from Yale University and win him the White House. Another Bush is on slide 19!
#4 Ronald W. Reagan – 130 IQ
Our nation’s 40th President, Ronald Wilson Reagan, had an IQ score of 130. What some people don’t know is he had a unique career as a Hollywood actor before heading to the Oval Office, and many of his closest aides have commented that he was “sharp as a tack,” and “a very smart man.”
#3 Herbert C. Hoover – 129.77 IQ
Herbert Clark Hoover went to prestigious high schools and gained acceptance to Stanford University, though he apparently could barely pass the entrance exam! Still, he did well there, earned a degree in Geology, and used his IQ of 129.77 to win him the presidency. Pretty impressive for a guy from small town Iowa!
#2 Gerald R. Ford – 127 IQ
Gerald Rudolph Ford was an excellent student! He was in the honors program at the University of Michigan and was a star player on their football team. After graduating, he received offers to play in the National Football League but turned them down to coach at Yale. His IQ score was 127.
#1 George W. Bush – 124 IQ
Despite being criticized nearly constantly for his misplaced comments and occasional forgetfulness, President George W. Bush has an IQ of 124. This is on par with most college graduates in the United States. Still, “Dubya” has been the butt of many jokes. Rumor has it that Yale University tells prospective students that they “save a few spots in each class for C students because you know who might be the next President of the United States!
As you can see from this list, some of our Presidents were much smarter than they seemed! Of course, anyone who is intelligent enough to win a presidential campaign must be at least somewhat smart, but some of these names really stand out. Being President of the United States is no easy job, so anyone willing to take it on has to have some level of keen ingenuity and creative thinking, but it’s still surprising to read who our smartest Commanders in Chief ever were! The world is an increasingly complicated and tumultuous place, so we must be sure to choose intelligent leaders going forward!