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The "Geography" Survey

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National Geographic has completed another assessment of young Americans geographic literacy. Some of the findings include
  • Only 37% of young Americans can find Iraq on a map—though U.S. troops have been there since 2003.
  • 6 in 10 young Americans don't speak a foreign language fluently.
  • 20% of young Americans think Sudan is in Asia.
  • 48% of young Americans believe the majority population in India is Muslim.
  • Half of young Americans can't find New York on a map.
To which National Geographic would all like us to respond: “Atrocious!” or something along those lines. Twenty of the survey questions are available on line and it is worth looking, if only because it raises some questions about the survey’s legitimacy. Questions such as “Which of these cities is the setting for the original television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation?” are more a reflection of televison viewing habits than geography (I admit I got that one wrong). Others deal with current events or knowledge of trade and population figures. Arguably, this is all geography-related but it would be interesting to compare this age group with other, older age groups. It is doubtful if Canadians (or any other nationality) would fare much better.

On the map reading side, the survey concludes that most young Americans lack the basic practical map-reading and direction-finding skills “necessary for safety and employment in today’s world.”

The complete survey - which includes some map reading exercises - and the results are available in pdf format.

2 Responses to “The "Geography" Survey”

  1. Anonymous Anonymous 

    "It is doubtful if Canadians (or any other nationality) would fare much better."

    A quick web search gets you this: http://www.tccd.edu/collegian/archive/articles/043003/carmen.html

    I'm sure you can find more data.

  2. Anonymous Anonymous 

    ijubdl icpn ptdzgvj ypxutwjr ocgqeybx eyvbpgakc wdbtoxyg

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