See quotes below about statistics. But first,
In 2006, the National Geographic Society interviewed 510 young Americans -- people aged 18 to 24 -- about geography. Interviewers handed people a blank map of the world and asked them to identify various countries. "Nearly all (94 percent) young Americans can find the United States on the world map, and Canada (92 percent) and Mexico (88 percent) are nearly as familiar," the survey found.
So most Americans, it turns out, can find America on the map. They can find Canada and Mexico and even the Gulf of Mexico. You have to ask what's done more damage to the nation's image: Upton's bad answer, or the pageant's flawed question, which has erroneously convinced millions across the globe that Americans don't know their own country?
Granted, there are lots of things Americans don't know about the world. In the National Geographic survey, most respondents couldn't find the United Kingdom, Egypt, and Indonesia on a world map, and more than 60 percent couldn't find Iraq on a map of the Middle East. But, are these numbers so bad?
Remember, people in the survey were trying to place countries on unlabeled maps. That is, they were the sort of maps nobody ever uses, maps that, indeed, run contrary to the very aim of cartography. A map is a reference object; we make maps precisely so that we don't have to memorize where things are, so that we can, instead, look up where things are.
***98% of all statistics are made up. ~Author Unknown
***There are two kinds of statistics, the kind you look up and the kind you make up. ~Rex Stout, Death of a Doxy
***The average human has one breast and one testicle. ~Des McHale