Where in the world are we? Americans don't know.

It was reported a couple of days ago that, as usual, Americans ranked near the bottom (outranking only Mexico, and barely at that) on a multi-nation geography survey conducted by Roper for the (U.S.) National Geographic Society. Judging by the 20-question sample, the test wasn’t that hard. The questions that asked people to find a country on a world map gave only four possible choices, and usually only two of them were on the right continent. I just took the sample test of 20 questions, and I am beyond appalled:

Fewer Americans than Mexicans or Canadians could find the United States on a map. Only the Brits did significantly worse than we did.

Only 25% of Americans knew that the U.S. population was between 150 and 350 million. We came in last for that question - after the Italians, 34% of whom answered correctly. And considering that there were only four choices…

And then there’s our war:

17% of Americans could find Afghanistan. We outranked…Mexico.

WTC or no WTC, Americans were least likely to identify Afghanistan as the home of Al Quaeda and the Taliban.

Mein gott.

I found it particularly depressing that Japan, Mexico, and Sweden all had about 98% who could find their own country, and the US has only 89%. sigh…

Only 44% of Americans knew (or guessed) that the European Union was the organization behind the Euro?! Dear God, shoot me now.

Why, did you get it wrong too?

Depressing, ain’t it?

The only question on the quiz I answered incorrectly to was the “what’s the world’s largest religion?”(as in ‘number of followers’). I still have a slight doubt that the answer given was right (I’m stubborn like that, heh), but hey. I do find it ironic that the question that, judging from the graphs of correct answers, was “easiest” for all nations is the one that I got wrong! :rolleyes:

Wow thats truly pathetic.

I, too, answered the world’s largest religion question incorrectly. That and the population of my own country. I did know it was’t in the 1 to 2 billion range, though.


I heard this on NPR driving home yesterday. I believe they also said that every state west of the Mississippi was designated at least once as being New York.

Got all but the religion one, myself. Damn, those are some scary results, although I take a little comfort from the fact that 21% of the British can’t find the US on a map either.

Thought the “westernmost city” one was particularly telling – are there really that many people who don’t know how to read a map?

Hah, I got 'em all correct, though in one case, it was by elimination. For question 16, I knew what region Sweden was in, but wasn’t sure about its exact placement. Of the available answers, only #43 was in the right region, so I went with that. Had #24 been offered, I would have guessed it instead and gotten it wrong (on reflection, I think #24 is Denmark but I’d have to check).

I was please to have gotten 19 out of 20 correct myself. Also missed the world’s largest religion question… because I have heard (obviously) unsubstantiated claims that Christianity is a minority on this planet. I think what people mean by that is: adding all other religions together, Christianity has fewer followers than all others combined. But, taken one at a time, Christianity has the most followers?

I demand a cite!

Isn’t this interesting - I too only missed the religion question. I’d thought I’d heard that Islam had overtaken Christianity, but I guess not. And, Dogzilla, I’m pretty certain Christianity is a “minority” despite being the largest - it’s less than 50% of the world’s population.

Aha, and here’s a cite: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0904108.html, which reports that Christianity is the top but still only 33% of the world’s population.

Yes, but on the other hand, IIRC, 15% or so of the french and italian people who use it every day didn’t know, either…

I’m not that surprised by this result. I’d bet a lot of people picked the city closest to the sea.

I think part of the problem is this: Islam is almost always treated as one religion, while Christianity is not. That is, demographers don’t treat Catholics, Lutherans, Prebyterians, et al as part of one religion. But they DO treat Sunnis and Shiites (among other Islamic sects) as if their divisions were inconsequential.

Using that logic, Islam DOES have more adherents than even the largest Christian sect (Roman Catholicism). But as a group, Christians of all sects still outnumber Moslems of all sects. (How long that will remain true, I have no idea.)

I wonder how many people guessed that the Pacific Ocean was #60 on the map, especially considering there was no #60.

And yes, chalk me up as another who got the religion question wrong. Everyone’s actually a closet Buddhist - that’s my rationalization, and I’m sticking to it.

Nope. Christianity is a minority and the largest religion. In other words, there are less christians than non-christians on the planet, but there are more people belonging to christiannity than to any other specific religion.

Man, what are you trying to do… expose us all?

I think the religion one was rigged. If you look at it honestly (i.e., not accepting the crap the PRC feeds us about its `atheist’ population), Buddhism would certainly be the world’s most common religion.

I got 20/20. I must not be an American! :eek: