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Americans clueless about geography

alexd

Administrator
Staff member
Young Americans shaky on geographic smarts
Study finds that many fare poorly at finding Louisiana and Iraq on a map
The Associated Press
Updated: 10:52 a.m. ET May 2, 2006

WASHINGTON - Despite the wall-to-wall coverage of the damage from Hurricane Katrina, nearly one-third of young Americans recently polled couldn’t locate Louisiana on a map and nearly half were unable to identify Mississippi.

Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 fared even worse with foreign locations: six in 10 couldn’t find Iraq, according to a Roper poll conducted for National Geographic.

“Geographic illiteracy impacts our economic well-being, our relationships with other nations and the environment, and isolates us from the world,” National Geographic president John Fahey said in announcing a program to help remedy the problem. It’s hoping to enlist businesses, nonprofit groups and educators in a bid to improve geographic literacy.

Planned is a five-year, multimedia campaign called My Wonderful World that will target children 8 to 17. The goal is to motivate parents and educators to expand geographic offerings in school, at home and in their communities.

They will have their task cut out for them, judging by the results of the survey of 510 people interviewed in December and January.

Among the findings:
  • One-third of respondents couldn’t pinpoint Louisiana on a map and 48 percent were unable to locate Mississippi.
  • Fewer than three in 10 think it important to know the locations of countries in the news and just 14 percent believe speaking another language is a necessary skill.
  • Two-thirds didn’t know that the earthquake that killed 70,000 people in October 2005 occurred in Pakistan.
  • Six in 10 could not find Iraq on a map of the Middle East.
  • While the outsourcing of jobs to India has been a major U.S. business story, 47 percent could not find the Indian subcontinent on a map of Asia.
  • While Israeli-Palestinian strife has been in the news for the entire lives of the respondents, 75 percent were unable to locate Israel on a map of the Middle East.
  • Nearly three-quarters incorrectly named English as the most widely spoken native language.
  • Six in 10 did not know the border between North and South Korea is the most heavily fortified in the world. Thirty percent thought the most heavily fortified border was between the United States and Mexico.

Joining in the effort to improve geographic knowledge will be the 4-H, American Federation of Teachers, Asia Society, Association of American Geographers, National Basketball Association, National Council of La Raza, National PTA, Smithsonian Institution and others.

“Geography exposes children and adults to diverse cultures, different ideas and the exchange of knowledge from around the world,” said Anna Marie Weselak, president of the National PTA. “This campaign will help make sure our children get their geography — so they can become familiar with other cultures during their school years and move comfortably and confidently in a global economy as adults.”

© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
 

Rajio

Well-Known TRIBEr
alexd said:
  • While the outsourcing of jobs to India has been a major U.S. business story, 47 percent could not find the Indian subcontinent on a map of Asia.
  • Six in 10 did not know the border between North and South Korea is the most heavily fortified in the world. Thirty percent thought the most heavily fortified border was between the United States and Mexico.
supprising, you mean 53% could find the indian subcontinent on a map?? more than I would have predicted. ..also the mexico thing is hi-larious concidering how much that border being fairly open is such a news item today.
 
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sheik rock

TRIBE Member
In high school my Geographic knowledge probably would have been at about this level.

Read a newspaper and pay attention, it'll teach you more about the world than most high schools.
 

Rataxès

TRIBE Member
I got a talkin' to by the deli counter girl on Sunday because I refered to Czech as 'Czechoslovakia.' Call me 'Ugly American'.
 

m0ff

TRIBE Member
My Aunt lived in Raleigh, North Carolina for 5 years while she was on contract at Duke University. There were two instances where she was wearing her Hockey Canada shirt that said "Canada is Hockey. Hockey is Canada". She had two teenagers ask what a Canada was...when she explained to them that there was this whole other land mass north of the United States they were flabberghasted and didn't believe her. TRUE STORY (sadly).

So next time you are talking to an American from the Southern states, instead of asking them to point out Iraq, ask them to point out CANADA...it'll blow you away.
 
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Adam

TRIBE Member
sheik rock said:
Read a newspaper and pay attention, it'll teach you more about the world than most high schools.
The type of education system that produces people who can't identify India on a map also produces the type of person who can't read a newspaper.
 

MoFo

TRIBE Member
I suck at geography?
Where the fuck is Switzerland?
And Estonia?

And who is this Darfur guy?
 
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I_bRAD

TRIBE Member
Every American knows there's 52 states. The 50 on the flag and the two freak states (Alaska and Hawaii)

Is Iraq even on American maps anymore, or is it just the 53rd state?
 

Lovely N Amazin

TRIBE Member
m0ff said:
So next time you are talking to an American from the Southern states, instead of asking them to point out Iraq, ask them to point out CANADA...it'll blow you away.
hey! anyone could miss Canada, all tucked away down there.
 

Thumpr

TRIBE Member
I_bRAD said:
Every American knows there's 52 states. The 50 on the flag and the two freak states (Alaska and Hawaii)

Is Iraq even on American maps anymore, or is it just the 53rd state?
let's play 52 pickup with 'em.
 

JOSHB

TRIBE Member
Till yesterday (alla the hacked ad in train thread) I had no idea who Stephen Harper was. Sorry.:eek:
 
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Boo

TRIBE Member
If there's one thing that Canadians excel at its smugness at our American neighbours.

Sure we're fatter than 190 countries, but America is even fatter.

Yes we drive the huge gas guzzling machines, but not as many as the US.

Imagine the US hasn't signed the Kyoto accord!! Well it could be worse they could have the staggering emission levels that we have.

You think most people in Saskatchewan could point out India on a map, or instantly know that the Korean border is the most fortified?
 
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