Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Most US young people can't find Iraq on map

Most American young people can't find Iraq on a map, even though U.S. troops have been there for more than three years, according to a new geographic literacy study released on Tuesday.

Fewer than 4 in 10 Americans aged 18-24 in a survey could place Iraq on an unlabeled map of the Middle East, a study conducted for National Geographic found. Only about one-quarter of respondents could find Iran and Israel on the same map.

Sixty-nine percent of young people picked out China on a map of Asia, but only about half could find India and Japan and only 12 percent correctly located Afghanistan.

"I'm not sure how important it is that young adults can find Afghanistan on a map. But ... that is symptomatic of the bigger issue, and that's (U.S. young adults) not having a sense that things around the world really matter that much," said John Fahey, president of the National Geographic Society.

The study results confirm Fahey's concern: 21 percent said it was "not too important" to know where countries in the news are located.

Half of respondents said it was "absolutely necessary" to know how to read a map, but a large percentage lacked basic practical map-reading skills.

For example, most young people were able to locate a port city on a fictitious map, but one-third would have gone in the wrong direction in the event of an evacuation.

In general, natural disasters appear to have a limited impact on young Americans' view of the world, the study found.

Only 35 percent identified Pakistan as the country hit by a catastrophic earthquake last October, killing over 70,000 people; 29 percent thought it happened in Sri Lanka.

Most respondents could find Louisiana and Mississippi, but still more than one-third failed to find those two states that were the subject of daily news coverage after the onslaught of hurricanes Katrina and Rita last year.

There were some positive signs: young people who go online for news and who use two or more different news sources show a greater knowledge of geography, the study found.

Source Here


Anonymous Anonymous said...

No problem. I am told that even their president in the White House is not a specialist in geography. Why should he.

May 03, 2006 4:50 pm  
Blogger St.Jimmy said...

That's just sad. Reminds me of an Aussie spoof news show where they fooled loads of Americans into placing little "number 1" (to go in the war against terror) flags on Australia just because they had written "N. Korea / Iraq / France / Iran" on it. One guy said "Oh my god I never realised North Korea was so much larger than South Korea" S. Korea being Tasmania in this case.

May 03, 2006 4:59 pm  
Blogger _H_ said...


I remember it well , in fact you can watch the clip you mention on this site here ( i posted on it last year)

May 03, 2006 6:56 pm  
Anonymous JMN said...

As President of the White House, it is not geography that Bush should have a grasp of, but international relations, international war, and therefore foreign issues, which entails geographic knowledge.

Bush is a business executive - a poor one of that. Being surrounded by intelectuals in different fields of international relations does not equal experise on the Presidents behalf. As long as the decision maker - where 'the buck stops here' - is ignorant to such issues and the workings of the world, there judgements will always be flawed. Especially with a Presdient like George Bush, whose decisions are based upon pre-concieved objectives - his assistants being merely that, assistants.

Since Bush has come into power, he has had issues with Colin Powell, Condeleza Rice and Paul Bremner to name but a few. Why? Because they dare to express concern about his policies.

Yet, his close associates who cock up at every term, such as Donald Rumsfield and Dick Cheney (the latter who continues to lie on some issues such as Saddam Hussein and 9/11), are kept close at hand. Why? Becuase they share an ideology, which they do not qustion.

For individual American's themselves, I can not really blame them. This is not the exception. The majority of people around the world arent competant with a map. Why should they be?

Yet, to have a sufficient opinion on world events, it is necessary to know a bit about the world. It seems a lot of these people accpet unquestioned George Bush's rhetoric and promises of security, simply because they do not personally eplore the issue at hand.

But why should they? Not everyone is an analyst. In a country such as the US, people are contempt with living thier confortable personal lives in thier own nation. That is something that can be both envied and rejected, however you view it. It is the reason why electoral turnouts are so low in nations such as the US and Britain - people are confortable. They still have opinions on issues of terrorism - things which threaten them - yet those opinions are deeply, deeply, uneducated.

But ti depends on your political stances. For example, I can pick out virtually ay country on a worldmap. Yet I cant name the counties of England (infact, im more competant in naming American states than British counties). Im not concerned about Britain as much as the rest of the world - im niether a nationalist or a patriot. I am interested in world affairs. Someone who specialises in British domestic affaris would probably be appalled by my lack of knowledge regaridng British geography.

I've never trusted or followed opinion polls for this reason. The majority of people have an opinion, but an uneducated one of that (by uneducated, I mean they have not read widely on the topic). For executive leaders of nations to be guided by ingorance and apthy is appalling, especially when they are the,selves ignorant and apthetic to world events.

May 07, 2006 3:40 pm  
Blogger _H_ said...

Geography may be bad but I am sure your hearing is fine .. Being in wales it must be hard to confuse your location. Accents make locations simple in the UK , know the accent .. then you know the location , they seem to change about every 20 miles in every direction

More seriously , another Intesting read. one question. As an observer of current world events and political theatre do you not feel obliged to take any form of action to attempt to influence (in any tiny way) what is so predictably ahead. Or is merely being an observer enough to satisfy your intellectual needs

May 09, 2006 4:16 am  

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