Friday, June 02, 2006

Find Italy. Go east, then south.

I found a National Geographic study released last month which reveals some fun stats about people's lack of even basic world understanding. In their survey of 18-24 year olds (which would be the crowd to have most recently studied this stuff, you would think), they found the following:

  • 33% could not identify Louisiana on a US map
  • 88% could not find Afghanistan
  • 63% could not find Iraq or Saudi Arabia on a map of the middle east
  • 75% could not find Iran or Israel on a map of the middle east
  • 44% couldn't find the Middle East at all
  • 50% could not find New York on a US map
  • 56% couldn't find Ohio
  • 44% estimated China's population to be double that of the US
  • 54% couldn't identify what continent Sudan was in (10% said Europe!)
  • 75% could not find Indonesia
  • 75% didn't know Indonesia was a Muslim country (PS - it's the largest Muslim country in the world, oh geographically challenged citizens)
  • 48% think that China exports more, when measured by dollar value, than the US
  • 34% could not identify which escape route, in a hypothetical scenario, directed them to the northwest when using a map and a compass rose! (page 18 of the report if you want to see how easy this one should be)
  • 66% did not know you would travel south to get from Japan (in the northern hemisphere, P.S.) to Australia (in the southern hemisphere)
  • 51% could not find Japan
  • 30% thought the population of the US was over 1 billion people
  • 74% thought English was the most common native language in the world
  • 30% said the most heavily fortified border in the world was between the US and Mexico
  • 50% thought India was a muslim contry
On the "positive" side,
  • 70% could find China (of course, so can Kaitlyn, and she's FIVE)
  • 59% know that the Amazon rainforest is in South America (well done class!)
  • 51% could find India (again, nice work)
  • only 6% thought India was the world's largest consumer of oil (but just who are you people?)
So, the next time Hawkins lets us know where he is, he'd better put up a map on his blog, as well as instructions on how to use it.

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