Thanks to Jason Kottke at kottke.org, I just heard about the Ipsos/Mori quiz, which asks you to choose from among three answers to a range of demographic-oriented questions about your country.
Take the quiz here, if you want to, before reading further.
People in all the countries are woefully under-informed, but the U.S. was second worst on the index of stupidity (after Italy, huh). Believe it or not, most of us gave these answers:
- the teen birth rate is 8 times higher than it is (24 vs. 3 percent in reality... jeepers, how could anyone think a quarter of teenage girls have babies every year?)
- the number of immigrants is 2.5 times higher than it is (32 vs. 13 percent)
- the number of Muslims is 15 times higher than it is and the number of Christians is about 50 percent lower than it is (15 vs. 1 percent for Muslims, 56 vs. 78 percent for Christians... hence the "War on Christmas" and all the other perceived assaults on victimized Christianity)
- the unemployment rate is more than 5 times higher than it is (32 vs. 6 percent)
- and, finally, 70 percent of us think the murder rate is going up, even though it's been going down since 1992.
I would add one caveat about the incorrect unemployment guess: people may be thinking of friends who are underemployed, or who have dropped out of the workforce and are not counted in the official 6 percent number at all. When those are included, according to Forbes, the percentage is over 12 percent. And in some communities, say, I don't know... maybe among black men in some parts of the country... 32 percent isn't far off the actual unemployment rate.