I heard an NPR report that 83% of Americans 18-24 cannot find Afghanistan on a map. Following it up on their website, I found a link to the National Geographic survey they used.
Of course, what the report neglected to mention is that nobody had a good rate at finding Afghanistan. The only country where a majority of respondents could identify it was Germany, and they only made 55%. In fact, many people think Sweden’s pretty obscure (although Swedes scored 97%). Across the board, more people could locate Argentina than Sweden or Afghanistan.
It’s all in what you’re looking for. National Geographic was looking to see how well American youth stacked up against those in other countries, and most of us aren’t doing that well. But the fact is, they aren’t doing much better. (NG’s summary page notes that Mexico, Canada, and Great Britain scored almost as poorly.) What the results really show is that people everywhere have an astounding lack of geographical knowledge.
(Still wondering about the 3% of Swedes who couldn’t find Sweden.)