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The People of Mensa


Who is Mensa For?

Mensa is for those who rejoice in the exercise of the mind. If you enjoy mental challenges and revel in the interplay of ideas, Mensa is an organization that will stretch your mind and expand your horizons. Mensa is an international society that has one and only one unique qualification for membership: you must score in the top two percent of the population on a standardized IQ test.


What kind of people are Members of Mensa?

Mensa: We Think, Therefore We Are. Mensans are the kind of people you meet every day . . . except that they enjoy using their minds more than most. And they have IQ scores that would impress some of their neighbors!

Today there are some 100,000 Mensans in 100 countries throughout the world. There are active Mensa organizations in 18 countries in Europe, North America and around the Pacific Rim. American Mensa, Ltd. has some 150 local chapters with more than 50,000 members. Founded at Oxford University in 1946, Mensa has three stated purposes: to identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity, to encourage research in the nature, characteristics, and uses of intelligence, and to promote stimulating intellectual and social opportunities for its members.

There is simply no one prevailing characteristic of Mensa members other than high IQ. There are Mensans for whom Mensa provides a sense of family, and others for whom it is casual. There have been many marriages made in Mensa; but for many people, Mensa is simply a stimulating opportunity for the mind. Almost certainty most Mensans have a good sense of humor, and they like to talk. And, usually, they have a lot to say.

Mensans range in age from 4 to 94, but most are between 20 and 49. In education they range from preschoolers to high school dropouts to people with multiple doctorates. There are Mensans on welfare and Mensans who are millionaires. As far as occupations, the range is staggering. Mensa has professors and truck drivers, scientists and firefighters, computer programmers and farmers, artists, military people, musicians, laborers, police officers, glassblowers you name it. There are famous Mensans and prize-winning Mensans, but there are many, many whose names you wouldn't know.


American Mensa Ltd. Demographics

  • 64.4% male, 35.4% female (0.2% won't say)
  • 54% between 30-49 years of age, 14% under 29, 0.32% over 80
  • 31.2% in first marriage, 29.82% never married, 13.32% divorced once, 9.53% in second marriage after a divorce
  • Just over half have no children, 12.4% have one child, 18.66% have 2, 9.95% have 3, 4.37% have 4, 1.29% have 9+
  • about 30% earn $20-40,000, 10% earn $50-75,000, 9% earn $40-50,000 and about 0.5% earn more than $250,000.
  • 17.93% Master's degree or equivalent, 17.56% four year graduates, one in 11 are Ph.D.s.
  • 41% work in private industry, 13% in government, 13% self employed.
  • 88% European ancestry.
  • 49% Christian, 3% Unitarian, 9% Jewish, 7% agnostic, 3.6% atheist, 9% no religion
  • 14% only children, 19+% older of two, 12.5% younger of two, 11.5% oldest of three, 6.8% middle of three, 5.8% youngest of three, 9.7% oldest of more than three, 10.8% middle of four or more, 4.4% youngest of four or more
  • Computer-related occupations 10%, 3.75% own their own business, Electrical Engineers are 2.6%, 7.5% are in education, 3% lawyers, 0.11% judges, 0.02% are in astronomy.


Mensa Members Around the World

UK and Ireland35,608
South Africa395
New Zealand327
Channel Islands257
Hong Kong100
Total Worldwide Membership: 101,813

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Last edited: March 28, 1996. Version 1.02.