Friday, October 19, 2018

Americans don't know their Alsace from their Bilboa


Holiday Cottages asked Europeans and Americans to identify the locations of countries around the world on a map. They then compared the results to see whether Americans or Europeans have a better understanding of world geography. The results were not good for the Americans.

Where in the World? A Global Look at Geographic Recognition presents the results of a test involving over 1,000 people being asked to point out countries on a map of the world. The results are very interesting. Holiday Cottages has created an interactive map which allows you to view all the individual guesses made for each country. The map also tells you the percentage of people who guessed the location of the country correctly. In addition it lists the countries which were most often incorrectly identified instead.

Holiday Cottages went on to compare the accuracy of American and European answers. It discovered "that Europeans were universally more apt at identifying world countries than Americans". When asked to identify a country on the map in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America Europeans were always better at correctly pointing out the country on a map.

However the results are not as clear cut as Holiday Cottages suggests. Holiday Cottages are keen to argue that Americans have a poorer understanding of world geography than their European cousins. They therefore forget to point out that Americans are far better at identifying European countries than Europeans are at identifying US states. Holiday Cottages has created tables showing how well different generations of Americans can identify European countries and how well the different generations of Europeans were at identifying US states. All generation of Americans are better at identifying European countries than all European generations are at identifying US states.
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