Error in Radio Derb: "Asians In The College-Age Population"
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In Friday’s podcast I mentioned the well-known graph from Ron Unz’s classic 2012 article The Myth of American Meritocracy.

The bottom axis of the graph is just years, from 1990 to 2011. The vertical axis shows percentage of Asian students enrolled, and there are different-colored lines across the graph for Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Penn, and CalTech. There’s also a separate line, a dotted line, for the percentage of Asians in the college-age population at large.

That dotted line, percentage of Asians in the college-age population, of course rises, from a bit over 20 percent in 1990 to well over 40 percent in 2011. The line for Asian students at Caltech rises with it, so Caltech was just accepting more Asian students as more became available.

I should have stopped and thought before I spoke there. A listener sets me straight:

I’m sure others will point out this misstatement from your podcast yesterday, but here goes. You said (based on the Ron Unz piece) that ”the percentage of Asians in the college-age population at large [rose from] a bit over 20 percent to well over 40 percent in 2011.”

This, of course, is preposterous. As this page shows, in 2010 Asians were about 5 percent of the population. The notion that they could have accounted for ”well over 40 percent of the college-age population at large” a year later defies biological reality.

Now, in your defense (though frankly you should have realized the problem) the Unz piece does not describe that chart clearly. Presumably what that dotted line represents is the percentage of applicants.

Assuming that is the case, the more important question is, ”Where are all the white applicants?” Since white students still outnumber Asian students by roughly 10 to 1, the few (5?) point IQ advantage Asians students allegedly enjoy should NOT result in anywhere near this sort of disparity.

If I had to venture a guess I would say it is due to the relative clustering of Asians in urban and high population areas, Asian cultural desire to climb the elite power structure, whites’ affinity for their local and regional (somewhat less than) elite universities and traditions, and these elite schools’ total lack of interest in attracting the brightest white children from around the country.

Whether I’m all right, all wrong, or somewhere in the middle, the one thing I know is that that 40 percent number is ALLLLLL wrong.

Thank you, Sir. I blush.

My error does not, of course, subtract anything from Ron Unz's graph or CalTech's exceptionalism.

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