Americans are geo-stupid

By Krista Kafer A new Roper Poll of young adults aged 18 to 24 found they don’t know much about geography. Here’s a sample of findings. Keep in mind this was a multiple choice test.

Using a map of Asia, nine in ten cannot find Afghanistan, six in ten cannot find Iraq, and seven in ten cannot find Iran or Israel. Never mind Sri Lanka or Indonesia. Didn’t a big thing happen there fairly recently?

Fifty-four percent of respondents can not tell you the continent on which Sudan is located. About the same number can place the Alps in Europe and the Amazon in South America. Good thing Americans don’t travel much.

Only one in three knew about the earthquake that killed 70,000 in Pakistan last year.

My personal favorite: 62 percent could identify landlocked Mexico City as the city least likely to be impacted by a tsunami, on a question where the remaining cities are on islands.

Contrary to the notion that self-absorption is the cause of US world ignorance, the poll shows young Americans are as ignorant about their own country as they are of others.

While 90 percent can find California and Texas on the map, only half can find New York. And Ohio? It well it might as well be Sri Lanka.

One-quarter correctly picked the US as the largest exporter of goods and services. A third knows the approximate population of the US. Sixty-eight percent know that it’s 9 am in LA when it’s noon in New York.

In all, the average participant answered about half of the questions correctly.

Kind of puts “Geography Teacher” Jay Bennish’s rantings in perspective. Maybe the thousands of students who skipped class for yesterday’s rally for illegal immigration didn’t miss much.