Canada Kicks Ass

So, you think you are so smart?
Date: Thursday, November 21 2002
Topic: International News

Canadians usually pride themselves for their intelligence at a global level.. However, a survey orchestrated by the National Geographic Society recently, may leave some Canadians scratching their heads. Between mid-May and mid-July of this year, The National Geographic Society commissioned Roper ASW to conduct a survey that would test the geographic knowledge of 3,250 young adults, ranging in age from 18 to 24, in nine countries, including Canada.

While Sweden, Germany, and Italy topped the list of nine, Canada ranked a dismal 7th, just ahead of the U.S. and Mexico. Of the 56 questions in the survey, Canadians only could only manage 27 correct answers. The average American, on the other hand, only managed to answer 23 questions correctly.

Some of the responses from Canadians were rather surprising:

  • Only 56 per cent knew Canada's population is between 20 million and 40 million

  • Only 29 per cent were able to identify China and India as the only nations with more than one billion people

  • While 86 per cent could identify Russia and 82 per cent could identify Mexico on a map, a mere 21 per cent could locate Sweden or Afghanistan. And only 19% could locate Israel.

  • A mere 17 per cent were able to identify four countries that acknowledge having nuclear weapons

As dismal as these results may be, we can certainly find possible reasons for such poor performance. Some factors to consider may include educational experience (which may include taking a geography course), travelling abroad, knowledge of other languages or even the various types of news sources one uses.

On the other hand, things could be much worse. 89% or almost nine out of 10 young Americans could recognize the United States on a world map. Which makes you wonder about the other 11 per cent.

To see how well you would fare, you can visit

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