Geographically Challenged

It’s fairly well-known that Americans know very little about the world they live in. Many different surveys have shown a lack on knowledge about other countries.  In fact, our countries leaders seem to know little about other nations and their people. 

In 2002, the CNN.com Education site posted an article entitled, Global Goods: U.S. Youth Can’t Find Iraq.  The study states:

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.

But that was a long time ago.  Things must have improved, right?  Study: Geography Greek to Young Americans is a follow-up that tests knowledge of geography.  Some other tidbits:

  • 33% could not find Louisiana on a map
  • 47% could not identify India (it’s pretty big)
  • 33% thought the most heavily fortified border in the world is between the U.S. and Mexico.

We can only hope that there’s significant overlap in these groups of respondents.  As a summary, the article states:

When the poll was conducted in 2002, “Americans scored second to last on overall geographic knowledge, trailing Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan and Sweden,” the report said.

Ironically, our current problem is that we now can’t find a way out of Iraq.

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