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The National Geographic–Roper 2002 Global Geographic Literacy Survey polled more than 3,000 18- to 24-year-olds in Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Sweden and the United States.
Sweden scored highest; Mexico, lowest. The U.S. was next to last.
About 11 percent of young citizens of the U.S. couldn't even locate the U.S. on a map. The Pacific Ocean's location was a mystery to 29 percent; Japan, to 58 percent; France, to 65 percent; and the United Kingdom, to 69 percent.
Despite the threat of war in Iraq and the daily reports of suicide bombers in Israel, less than 15 percent of the young U.S. citizens could locate either country.
More young U.S. citizens in the study knew that the island featured in last season's TV show "Survivor" is in the South Pacific than could find Israel.
Particularly humiliating was that all countries were better able to identify the U.S. population than many young U.S. citizens. Within the U.S., almost one-third said that population was between one billion and two billion; the answer is 289 million.
Of the 56 questions asked, Sweden came in first place with an average of 40 questions answered correctly. After them came Germany followed by Italy. Americans answered only 23 questions right while Mexico came in last place with 21 questions. Just above them were the UK and Canada with a score of 28 and 27.
According to these numbers, 39% of Americans would have failed the test and 9% of Americans would have gotten an A. What is especially alarming about this is that the questions asked were said to have been at the fifth grade level or lower. Some of the questions that Americans did the most poorly on were locating the average population of the country, which only 25% got right. They also had the most difficultly locating Japan, Russia, Afghanistan, and Argentina. Americans also had trouble associating Afghanistan with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and locating the Pacific Ocean, though the Swedes did even worse on this question.
However, 89% of Americans could identify the USA, better than the Germans, Italians, and British. Another interesting question that was asked was how confident Americans thought they were about their geography skills. The average answer was 59% which shows that they tend to overestimate just how much they know
• Three-quarters (74%) believe English is the most commonly spoken language in the world. It’s Mandarin
• Nine in ten (88%) could not find Afghanistan on a map of Asia, and regardless of the intense coverage following hurricane Katrina, two-thirds (67%) could not find Louisiana on a US map and half (52%) could not find Mississippi
About 50% said it was “important but not necessary” to know where the countries mentioned in the news were located, and only 14% said speaking another language “was important.”
54% tested did not know that Rawanda and Sudan were in Africa.
Ten percent said Sudan was in Europe.
Originally posted by Perhaps
reply to post by Cabin
With www. at our finger tips, there really is no excuse for not having a reasonible grasp of geog' - so long as the interest is there.
It's an old one, yet a good one.
Agreed, a world Atlas should be a treasured resource in every household.
However, the internet is great, but it's just not the same as drawing your own map and looking through the world Atlas with your very own fingertips.
Ha... we had stencils of the continents, using a map as a model we'd place them on an A3 sheet, trace around them, pencil in major nation boundries and island nations then yeah, colour them in, name them as well as the oceans/seas.
Not sure how old you are but, if you're at least 38-42 remember when we had to color code our maps (I still make my son do this...he-he)? Remember when we had to learn entire Terrains? At least I did way back when
Why is Australia green, tiny and illegible? What does your map read Mate?
Originally posted by ThePublicEnemyNo1
Why is Australia green, tiny and illegible? What does your map read Mate? Australia, is the only continent I haven't visited...dying to go however. One more thing, Zoo animals are found in Africa, but so is the world's largest producer of chocolate.
otta' love Planet Earth....she's all we've got!edit on 5/19/13 by ThePublicEnemyNo1 because: (no reason given)
Originally posted by Wrabbit2000
reply to post by jiggerj
I don't mean to be cruel by saying this... I hope you know that. It's not personal either...I hope you know that as well..
However.. in your message...You've essentially just defined what it is to not only be ignorant, but be happy with that state of affairs, complete with rationale for why remaining that way is not just a decent thing, but the best overall approach to life.
The important thing isn't knowing stuff but how to look it up? Good Lord...this is precisely why we have a good % of the world looking at America and our citizens over the top of academic world wide comparison scores ....with pity and that look reserved for the step child that just can't quite 'get it', no matter how much time is spent on a thing.
Originally posted by Wrabbit2000
reply to post by seabag
You're right. Silly me... How could I have been so blind? I forgot the one fact the pretty well makes everything else moot. Of all the 200+ nations on Earth to have been born in, Chuck Norris chose this one. That does pretty well define the center of the known world and active Universe, does it not?
A right point then. All that 'out there' stuff past our borders is just a support system for us.