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nieh
02-03-2005, 07:57 PM
This is an old article, but I just dug it up to show someone at work earlier today and I figure I'll post it here as well.

One of the few things I actively suck at is geography, and yet I can still apparently do it better than half the other people in the country. It bothers me that we're the only country in the world that lives in this sort of bubble where no one knows about anything outside of our borders (and sadly, don't even know where our borders are).

from here: http://archives.cnn.com/2002/EDUCATION/11/20/geography.quiz/

Global goofs: U.S. youth can't find Iraq

Friday, November 22, 2002 Posted: 11:13 AM EST (1613 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Young Americans may soon have to fight a war in Iraq, but most of them can't even find that country on a map, the National Geographic Society said Wednesday.

The society survey found that only about one in seven -- 13 percent -- of Americans between the age of 18 and 24, the prime age for military warriors, could find Iraq. The score was the same for Iran, an Iraqi neighbor.

Although the majority, 58 percent, of the young Americans surveyed knew that the Taliban and al Qaeda were based in Afghanistan, only 17 percent could find that country on a world map.

A U.S.-led force attacked the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan in October 2001, and President Bush has said he is prepared to use force to rid Iraq of any chemical, nuclear or biological weapons programs.

The survey asked 56 geographic and current events questions of young people in nine countries and scored the results with traditional grades.

The surveyed Americans got a "D," with an average of 23 correct answers. Mexico ranked last with an average score of 21, just three points from a failing grade.

Topping the scoring was Sweden, with an average of 40, followed by Germany and Italy, each with 38. None of the countries got an "A," which required average scores of 42 correct answers or better on the 56 questions.

"Someone once said that war is God's way of teaching geography, but today, apparently war or even the threat of war cannot adequately teach geography," said John Fahey, president of the National Geographic Society.

"More American young people can tell you where an island that the 'Survivor' TV series came from is located than can identify Afghanistan or Iraq. Ironically a TV show seems more real or at least more meaningful interesting or relevant than reality."

National Geographic is convening an international panel of policy makers and business and media leaders to find ways to improve geographic education and to encourage interest in world affairs, the society said.
Other findings from the survey

Thirty-four percent of the young Americans knew that the island used on last season's "Survivor" show was located in the South Pacific, but only 30 percent could locate the state of New Jersey on a map. The "Survivor" show's location was the Marquesas Islands in the eastern South Pacific.

When asked to find 10 specific states on a map of the United States, only California and Texas could be located by a large majority of those surveyed. Both states were correctly located by 89 percent of the participants. Only 51 percent could find New York, the nation's third most populous state.

On a world map, Americans could find on average only seven of 16 countries in the quiz. Only 89 percent of the Americans surveyed could find their own country on the map.

In the world map test, Swedes could find an average of 13 of the 16 countries. Germans and Italians were next, with an average of 12 each.

Only 71 percent of the surveyed Americans could locate on the map the Pacific Ocean, the world's largest body of water. Worldwide, three in 10 of those surveyed could not correctly locate the Pacific Ocean.

Although 81 percent of the surveyed Americans knew that the Middle East is the Earth's largest oil exporter, only 24 percent could find Saudi Arabia on the map.

The international survey was conducted for the National Geographic by RoperASW. The results were based on face-to-face interviews with at least 300 men and women aged 18 to 24 in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, Britain and the United States.

The questionnaires were in the local language, but the content was universally the same.


WHERE IN THE WORLD
Among 18- to 24-year-old Americans given maps:

87 percent cannot find Iraq

83 percent cannot find Afghanistan

76 percent cannot find Saudi Arabia

70 percent cannot find New Jersey

49 percent cannot find New York

11 percent cannot find the United States

RELATED
Global Geographic Literacy Survey external link
Take the quiz external link

Julie
02-03-2005, 08:11 PM
yeah well something like 34% of Americans think that Canada is a US state.

Offspring_01
02-03-2005, 08:19 PM
yeah well something like 34% of Americans think that Canada is a US state.

My God! Thats terrible. Whats wrong with those people.

I think its pretty lame that people cant locate their own country on a map. You would think that they would have been taught something about geography in school. Im a king at geo. though. I can locate any country on a map, within seconds.

HornyPope
02-03-2005, 08:40 PM
Read this one long ago. I don't believe such vague statistics. I wouldn't be at least bit surprised that it was true--I always maintained that people are universally stupid with Americans ranking quite high among other nationalities. It's just that such tests offered to kids have no real merit in my eyes.

wheelchairman
02-04-2005, 02:20 AM
If the maps weren't labelled, I'd understand that. It's like how 49% of Danes think that the capital of Germany is Border-Store. And that the Capital of England is Manchester United.

JoY
02-04-2005, 03:23 AM
oh god, there are LOADS of people, who can't even point out Turkey, or Germany. I remember there was this Dutch show & it'd go all across the country with a worldmap. then they'd ask, for instance on the beach in Scheveningen (the Netherlands); "where do you think you are now?" there were people, who instantly pointed out Poland & said; "here I think? yeah, definitely". & -these- were *serious* answers.

there's a nice, good percentage of people on this planet, that don't only have no knowledge of topography, whatsoever, but that are just outright stupid.

nieh
02-04-2005, 04:04 AM
Read this one long ago. I don't believe such vague statistics. I wouldn't be at least bit surprised that it was true--I always maintained that people are universally stupid with Americans ranking quite high among other nationalities. It's just that such tests offered to kids have no real merit in my eyes.

This test was done on 18-24 year olds, not kids. Regardless of whether or not the maps were labelled, you should still be able to find your own country. Have these people ever watched the weather?

RXP
02-04-2005, 04:23 AM
I And that the Capital of England is Manchester United.

HAHAHAHAAHAHAHAH fuck that's funny.

Panzerfaust92
02-04-2005, 05:27 AM
I bet close to half of Americans think that Hitler was a Communist

Panzerfaust92
02-04-2005, 05:28 AM
I bet close to half of Americans think that Hitler was a Communist
It's no wonder that W is still president.

JoY
02-04-2005, 05:42 AM
It's no wonder that W is still president.
"hey that Bush-dude, wasn't he also that Jewish saviour that they mentioned in the large book we once read for school?"

Vera
02-04-2005, 07:54 AM
I wonder if the maps were geographical maps with mountains and such or with country borders. With country borders, it's pretty easy. My only weakness is the small states of Central and South America. And I'm known to make mistakes in placing African states, but I think I know all the major ones.

Billy Joe(Thomas)
02-04-2005, 09:34 AM
some people in america don't even know in which state their cyties are in

Vera
02-04-2005, 10:09 AM
Or how to spell "cities".

Sorry, had to.

Panzerfaust92
02-04-2005, 10:10 AM
hey don't judge people like that!

Vera
02-04-2005, 10:36 AM
...Talking to me?

Panzerfaust92
02-04-2005, 10:37 AM
yes............

jimmyjimjimz
02-04-2005, 12:26 PM
This is an old article, but I just dug it up to show someone at work earlier today and I figure I'll post it here as well.

One of the few things I actively suck at is geography, and yet I can still apparently do it better than half the other people in the country. It bothers me that we're the only country in the world that lives in this sort of bubble where no one knows about anything outside of our borders (and sadly, don't even know where our borders are).

from here: http://archives.cnn.com/2002/EDUCATION/11/20/geography.quiz/

Global goofs: U.S. youth can't find Iraq

Friday, November 22, 2002 Posted: 11:13 AM EST (1613 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Young Americans may soon have to fight a war in Iraq, but most of them can't even find that country on a map, the National Geographic Society said Wednesday.

The society survey found that only about one in seven -- 13 percent -- of Americans between the age of 18 and 24, the prime age for military warriors, could find Iraq. The score was the same for Iran, an Iraqi neighbor.

Although the majority, 58 percent, of the young Americans surveyed knew that the Taliban and al Qaeda were based in Afghanistan, only 17 percent could find that country on a world map.

A U.S.-led force attacked the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan in October 2001, and President Bush has said he is prepared to use force to rid Iraq of any chemical, nuclear or biological weapons programs.

The survey asked 56 geographic and current events questions of young people in nine countries and scored the results with traditional grades.

The surveyed Americans got a "D," with an average of 23 correct answers. Mexico ranked last with an average score of 21, just three points from a failing grade.

Topping the scoring was Sweden, with an average of 40, followed by Germany and Italy, each with 38. None of the countries got an "A," which required average scores of 42 correct answers or better on the 56 questions.

"Someone once said that war is God's way of teaching geography, but today, apparently war or even the threat of war cannot adequately teach geography," said John Fahey, president of the National Geographic Society.

"More American young people can tell you where an island that the 'Survivor' TV series came from is located than can identify Afghanistan or Iraq. Ironically a TV show seems more real or at least more meaningful interesting or relevant than reality."

National Geographic is convening an international panel of policy makers and business and media leaders to find ways to improve geographic education and to encourage interest in world affairs, the society said.
Other findings from the survey

Thirty-four percent of the young Americans knew that the island used on last season's "Survivor" show was located in the South Pacific, but only 30 percent could locate the state of New Jersey on a map. The "Survivor" show's location was the Marquesas Islands in the eastern South Pacific.

When asked to find 10 specific states on a map of the United States, only California and Texas could be located by a large majority of those surveyed. Both states were correctly located by 89 percent of the participants. Only 51 percent could find New York, the nation's third most populous state.

On a world map, Americans could find on average only seven of 16 countries in the quiz. Only 89 percent of the Americans surveyed could find their own country on the map.

In the world map test, Swedes could find an average of 13 of the 16 countries. Germans and Italians were next, with an average of 12 each.

Only 71 percent of the surveyed Americans could locate on the map the Pacific Ocean, the world's largest body of water. Worldwide, three in 10 of those surveyed could not correctly locate the Pacific Ocean.

Although 81 percent of the surveyed Americans knew that the Middle East is the Earth's largest oil exporter, only 24 percent could find Saudi Arabia on the map.

The international survey was conducted for the National Geographic by RoperASW. The results were based on face-to-face interviews with at least 300 men and women aged 18 to 24 in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, Britain and the United States.

The questionnaires were in the local language, but the content was universally the same.


WHERE IN THE WORLD
Among 18- to 24-year-old Americans given maps:

87 percent cannot find Iraq

83 percent cannot find Afghanistan

76 percent cannot find Saudi Arabia

70 percent cannot find New Jersey

49 percent cannot find New York

11 percent cannot find the United States

RELATED
Global Geographic Literacy Survey external link
Take the quiz external link

damn. that's sad, especially when every map I've ever seen has had the name of the country in huge letters, but this was a test, so they didn't have that on the test. If I was given a blank map, I'll admit, I wouldn't be able to name every country, but I at least know the area the countries are in.

Tired_Of_You
02-04-2005, 12:28 PM
yeah well something like 34% of Americans think that Canada is a US state.

I thought it was 34% of Americans who thought that Quebec is a US State. Not the entire Canada.

I'm not good at all at geography, but at least I know where's the Canada...

wheelchairman
02-04-2005, 01:08 PM
I just took the sample question. I would've only gotten one question wrong (I thought Argentina was Colombia..., however since the number for colombia wasn't one of the choices, it was pretty easy to find the right one), and my knowledge of geography is completely from the American Public school system, haven't learned a thing about geography while in Denmark. Although I would imagine that some of the questions of European and middle eastern geography would've been hard for Americans. I wasn't exactly sure where Afghanistan and Israel were, but I got those questions right anyways.

Tired_Of_You
02-04-2005, 01:18 PM
I also did it and I only got 2 or 3 questions wrong...and I'm not really good at geography. Some questions were so easy, they show you the statistics and it's unbelievable that people didn't know the answer. Even if you've never had geography class at school, I think everybody should know at least where is their country, the oceans and at least some other countries too.


Although I would imagine that some of the questions of European and middle eastern geography would've been hard for Americans.

Yeah, but they give you numbers and everybody should at least have an idea of where it is situated,even if it's without knowing where it is exactly. Dammit, one of the answers for Japan was the number of Australia...and I take Japan for example, but the other questions about middle east were not that hard too. I didn't know exactly where Afghanistan is, but I got it right, anyway. It's just using logic.

wheelchairman
02-04-2005, 01:20 PM
True, but I also think a few people didn't answer the question seriously. I remember doing that with American survey exams they gave us in school.

90's_boy
02-04-2005, 02:04 PM
haha thats funny; although i'm american. oh well, i'm a straight-A honors geography student.

Noodles is gay
02-04-2005, 03:33 PM
Haven't read all the posts in this thread but:

WHAT?!

I can't believe the stupidity involved in that - it's, it's incomprehensible...... :eek:

And they say Americans are stupid!

Betty
02-04-2005, 05:13 PM
Not knowing your own country is kinda bad.

But really, I totally see where people are coming from in not knowing geography.

People have different interests. I really don't care very much about where things are located. I have never actively studied it. In grade 9 geography we learned about provinces and volcanoes and stuff. I don't know much about history either. Once again mostly just learned Canadian history. Perhaps that's a problem with the education system here - sheltering us too much.

I'm sure not too many people could tell me about Friedel-Crafts reactions, but those are the things that I spend my time and effort and interest on.

Anyway, the point is that these people should not be referred to as "stupid".

Aside: I can't look it up, but one of the best Onion headlines was about students getting all of their geography knowledge from Risk and failing the test. "there were all these names like Kamchatka"...

nieh
02-04-2005, 05:21 PM
see, that's the thing. If it were just showing America's statistics, and they were bad on their own, I could deal with that. As I said before, I suck really horribly at geography so I can see why other people wouldn't do well. What bothers me is that just about EVERY OTHER COUNTRY (cept Mexico) did better than us. And it wasn't even like they got 1-2 more right, they did a LOT better than us. To me it's because we have a tendency to be cocky and never bother knowing what's going on outside of our borders until it becomes a problem for us because we're in the mindset that we have no reason to. Argh, stupid people.

Tired_Of_You
02-04-2005, 08:23 PM
In grade 9 geography we learned about provinces and volcanoes and stuff. I don't know much about history either. Once again mostly just learned Canadian history. Perhaps that's a problem with the education system here - sheltering us too much.

It's not the same thing in Quebec. I had Quebec and Canada geography in 5th grade. I had geography of the world in 7th grade and I had history (from the homo habilis to 2000 something) in grade 8. In grade 9 it was Quebec and Canada geography, again. In grade 10 it was history of Quebec and Canada. Everybody has to take those classes. You have to pass the history course of secondary 4 (grade 10) to have your diploma of high school. One of my option class this year is history of old civilisations.

sk8ter-hater
02-04-2005, 08:37 PM
Haven't read all the posts in this thread but:

WHAT?!

I can't believe the stupidity involved in that - it's, it's incomprehensible...... :eek:

And they say Americans are stupid!
So?
That's all I have to say.

Ken Jennings
02-04-2005, 09:27 PM
I heard some guy on the radio call this lady and ask her is she knew who "tsunami" was and she said, "How did you know who I went to middle school with?"

Betty
02-05-2005, 11:45 AM
Nieh, yeah I see what you're saying.

I don't really know what to blame though.

It's partly my own fault for being plain disinterested.

It's partly just education and never really having been taught about it. Or not having been taught A LOT about it, anyway.

I agree that a lot of people from other parts of the world seem to know a lot more about geography, etc.

I guess I just wouldn't say that "Americans are stupid"... that's such a bad stereotype. Arrogant maybe... I don't know.

nieh
02-05-2005, 12:15 PM
Yeah, arrogance and cockiness are more prevalent than genuine stupidity, it's just in my head they're different types of stupidity (or are at least causes of it often enough) so the word 'stupid' still comes to mind for me sometimes. You can only put so much blame on lack of interest though, because I don't particularly see why an average person in another country would be any more inclined to learn that stuff than here (unless you take the whole arrogance factor into account). For people to not be able to find their own country on a map...it's just sad.

Holy crap, I just started took the Sample Survey on that article and it's making me feel even worse (I dunno why I didn't take it when I posted this thing). Only 25% of American's know America's population. 35% of Mexican's know it, 47% of Canadians know it, but only 25% of us!? Anyway, I got all of the questions right...and to answer everyone's question, there ARE borders on the map on the quiz, with a number inside each country. It asks "which number is this country" and then gives you four numbers you can pick from. Since it's multiple choice, that makes it that much easier.

Betty
02-05-2005, 12:32 PM
I think I got 4 wrong on the quiz. Which I suppose is a testament to how generally easy it is. Since geography/history I really don't know anything about. Also, pop culture I'm pretty bad at as well. Essentially anything that would be a popular trivia question. I am always disappointed at the lack of science/math on shows like Jeopardy, etc.

Only 1 was a map question, which is embarrassing enough, but it could be worse.

Some were sorta guessed though... like Sweden for example... I have a general idea where it is... but if the options had only been beside each other... I wouldn't have known which one it was.

nieh
02-05-2005, 12:44 PM
Yeah, to be honest, I would have missed like 3 of the map ones had they not been multiple choice. But hooray for us that it was!

yaozee
02-09-2005, 06:44 AM
i cann't believe it
most of chinese younster can locate irap or america on a map
i especially have interesting on geogrophic i can locate any country on a map when i was 13
another question: can you locate china on a map?