The average American is proficient in basic arithmetic and algebra, but generally struggles with more advanced topics such as calculus and statistics.

## Detailed response to the request

According to studies, the average American’s math skills are average when compared to their global counterparts. However, there is a noticeable gap between gender and socioeconomic groups. For example, male students outperform female students on standardized math tests, and students from wealthier families tend to do better in math than those from lower-income families.

One study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics found that only 32% of 8th-grade students in the United States were considered proficient in math. This suggests that American students may be falling behind their peers in other developed nations in terms of math education.

Furthermore, it is also noted that many American adults struggle with basic math skills. In a survey conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United States ranks 16th out of 34 developed nations in terms of adults’ math proficiency.

Mathematician John Allen Paulos claims, “It wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration to say that the entire future of the American economy depends on how well we educate our kids in mathematics.”

Interesting facts:

- Only 40% of Americans can solve an intermediate mathematical problem.
- In the US, there is typically a $10,000-$20,000 pay difference between jobs that require basic math skills and those that require advanced math skills.
- When asked to estimate the percentage of their income spent on lottery tickets, the average American is off by about 9%.

Here’s a table that shows how the US compares to other countries in terms of math proficiency:

Country | Math Proficiency Ranking* |
---|---|

Japan | 1 |

South Korea | 2 |

Taiwan | 3 |

Hong Kong | 4 |

Singapore | 5 |

Switzerland | 6 |

Netherlands | 7 |

Finland | 8 |

Canada | 9 |

Belgium | 10 |

Poland | 13 |

France | 23 |

United States | 28 |

*According to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings from 2018.

## You might discover the answer to “How good is the average American at math?” in this video

The video “Are You Above Or Below Average?” highlights various aspects of people’s lives and whether they are above or below average. The video shares that those who are taller than 175.7 cm (men) or 161.8 cm (women) are above average, while those who read fewer than 12 books per year are below average. The video also discusses the illusion of superiority, where people tend to overestimate their abilities and skills. This phenomenon is more prevalent in men than women, even among those who score poorly on cognitive tests.

## Here are some other answers to your question

In the United States, adults weighed in at an average numeracy rate of

253 out of 500.

38%The national average math proficiency is

38%(2023).

I would say the average person is familiar with the basic four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division). I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they understand them, but they can use them for most purposes.

I think saying that most people understand high school level algebra is being a big generous though.

## People are also interested

### How good is the average human at math?

The average American parent’s science and math knowledge taps out around the sixth-grade level, according to new research. When asked to estimate the grade they’d be placed into for both math and science if they took a test today, the average respondent said sixth grade for each.

### Are American good at math?

Americans continually score either in the mid- or bottom-tier when it comes to math and science compared to their international peers.

### What is the average math ability in the US?

Answer: The national average math proficiency is 38% (2023). Math proficiency of school are compared within their own state only.

### What does America rank in math?

In reply to that: Among the 34 OECD countries, the United States performed below average in mathematics in 2012 and is ranked 27th (this is the best estimate, although the rank could be between 23 and 29 due to sampling and measurement error). Performance in reading and science are both close to the OECD average.

### What percentage of students are proficient in math?

The percentage proficient in the United States varies considerably across students from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. While 42 percent of white students were identified as proficient in math, only 11 percent of African American students, 15 percent of Hispanic students, and 16 percent of Native Americans were so identified.

### How much money does math make a year?

Answer: On average, the better a person was at math, the more money they made. For every one additional right answer on the eight-question math test, people reported an average of $4,062 more in annual income.

### Which states have a high math proficiency rate?

Response: Of all the states, only Massachusetts has a majority of its students (51 percent) scoring at or above the proficiency mark. Minnesota, the runner-up state, has a math proficiency rate of just 43 percent. Only four additional states—Vermont, North Dakota, New Jersey, and Kansas—have a math proficiency rate above 40 percent.

### Are white students better at math?

The answer is: While the 42 percent rate of math proficiency for U.S. white students is much higher than the averages for students from African American and Hispanic backgrounds, U.S. white students are still surpassed by all students in 16 other countries.

### Is math a problem in America?

Answer will be: By global standards, the average level of mathematical literacy of American students is mediocre, a problem made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, while American parents tend to overestimate their children’s performance.

### What percentage of students are proficient in math?

Response will be: The percentage proficient in the United States varies considerably across students from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. While 42 percent of white students were identified as proficient in math, only 11 percent of African American students, 15 percent of Hispanic students, and 16 percent of Native Americans were so identified.

### Is the United States a good place to study mathematics?

Answer will be: In 2012, the United States earned average scores in science and reading. It performed better than other progressive nations in mathematics, ranking 36 out of 65 other countries. The PISA assessment examined the students’ understanding of mathematics as well as their approach to this subject and their responses.

### How much money does math make a year?

As an answer to this: On average, the better a person was at math, the more money they made. For every one additional right answer on the eight-question math test, people reported an average of $4,062 more in annual income.