Did you know…? [number one]
Did you know that adults from the United States are the least geographically literate people in the developed world? It’s true, according to the National Geographic – Roper 2002 Global Geographic Survey.
Here are a few snippets from the Executive Summary of the report:
A majority of young Americans grossly overstated the U.S. population. In fact, close to one-third (30%) said that the U.S. has 1 to 2 billion people, or roughly one-third of the world’s population. Only one-fourth of American young adults (25%) correctly identified the U.S. population as falling within the range of 150 to 350 million. Respondents in all other countries were better able to identify the U.S. population than are young Americans.
On average, young adults in other countries in the study were better able to locate other European countries than American young adults are to locate U.S. states.
However, this was not entirely a U.S. phenomenon. Young adults performance in locating Israel was very weak across the board. In no country could even half of young adults surveyed locate Israel on a map of the Middle East/Asia; on average, fewer than one-fourth of respondents could locate it, including only 14% of young Americans. Respondents did nearly as poorly in locating other hotspots, including Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq.
While it bothers me that Americans scored consistently lower than people surveyed in other countries, many other countries didn’t do so hot, either. But that’s no reason to settle for being below average.
I’ve been considering starting a “fact of the week” type of thing on my blog, and now I’m ready. The theme is geography, and this is the first post. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. I realize there’s more than one fact, but I hope it serves as an appropriate introduction to weekly facts about geography.
Since the Middle East is a particularly important and challenging region for many people, here’s a little treat for you to practice: http://www.lizardpoint.com/fun/geoquiz/mideastquiz.html
I got 63 out of 75. I hope you do better than that!