1,746 American Adults Were Asked To Point Out North Korea On A Map: This Was The Result

Tyler Durden's picture

In April 2014, just as the Ukraine conflict (and proxy civil war) was hitting its climax, in the process undermining US-Russian relations for years, some 2,066 Americans were asked to show where the Ukraine was on a map. The result, while leaving something to be desired, was not terrible.

Fast forward to this weekend, when the NYT repeated the same exercise with the latest geopolitical hotspot: North Korea. In an experiment led by Kyle Dropp of Morning Consult, he asked 1,746 American adults to point to where North Korea is on the world map. This was the raw result:


The bottom line: just 36% got it right. Here are the countries they selected:

Aside from showing that the majority of Americans are terrible at geography - hardly news - the NYT provided the following details explaining why the study was conducted: respondents who could correctly identify North Korea tended to view diplomatic and nonmilitary strategies more favorably than those who could not. These strategies included imposing further economic sanctions, increasing pressure on China to influence North Korea and conducting cyberattacks against military targets in North Korea.

They also viewed direct military engagement – in particular, sending ground troops – much less favorably than those who failed to locate North Korea, according to the NYT report. The largest difference between the groups was the simplest: Those who could find North Korea were much more likely to disagree with the proposition that the United States should do nothing about North Korea.

Not surprisingly, education was a major factor in participants’ ability to find North Korea. Those with postgraduate degrees had among the most success; the only ones who did better were people who said they knew someone of Korean ancestry. Those who had visited or been to a foreign country were also much more likely to find North Korea than those who had not.

However what was far more surprising according to the Morning Consult survey, is that on average, Republicans – and Republican men in particular – were more likely to correctly locate North Korea than Democratic men. And Republicans were more likely to be in favor of almost all the diplomatic solutions posed by the researchers. (Women tended to find North Korea at similar rates, regardless of party.) 

Which is surprising considering the Democrats' reputations of being more progressive and, at least on paper, seek non-violent problem resolution. As the NYT further adds:

Geographic knowledge itself may contribute to an increased appreciation of the complexity of geopolitical events. This finding is consistent with – though not identical to – a similar experiment Mr. Dropp, Joshua D. Kertzer and Thomas Zeitzoff conducted in 2014. They asked Americans to identify Ukraine on a map and asked them whether they supported military intervention. The farther a respondent’s guess was from Ukraine, the researchers found, the more likely he or she was to favor military intervention.

Perhaps there is another reason: Ameriacns simply don't care. Be that as it may, Americans’ relatively low interest in North Korea is not recroprical. “North Koreans are obsessed with the United States,” wrote Barbara Demick, the former Beijing bureau chief for The Los Angeles Times, in an interview with the New Yorker.

“They hold the U.S. responsible for the division of the Korean peninsula and seem to believe that U.S. foreign policy since the mid-20th century has revolved around the single-minded goal” of damaging them, she said. “The cruelest thing you can do is tell a North Korean that many Americans couldn’t locate North Korea on a map.”

In any case, the bottom line is clear: "Americans’ inability to identify countries and places is not new. A Roper survey in 2006 found that, in the midst of the Iraq war, six in 10 young adults could not locate Iraq on a map of the Middle East; about 75 percent could not identify Iran or Israel; and only half could identify New York state."

As for North Korea, with just 36% of respondents being able to identify North Korea - and seek a diplomatic solution - it implies that roughly two-thirds of American adults would rather take the Kim regime out entirely. Which hardly bodes well for the longevity of  the North Korean dictator.

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FreeShitter's picture

36%? I thought it would have been much less.

AlaricBalth's picture

North Korea. North Crimea. North Carolina. To quote Hillary Clinton, "What difference does it make!!!"

Haus-Targaryen's picture

Slow news day, huh? 

Rest up Tylers.  When this thing finally does collapse into itself you guys won't be sleeping for days. Neither will any of us either. 

PrayingMantis's picture


... while 64% of American adults need geography lessons, here's what Bibi really thinks about American adults in general ...

... "... "Netanyahu: America is something that you can easily maneuver and move in the right direction. And even if they do say something, so then they say something… so what? 80% of Americans support us! It’s absurd! We have such support there, and here we’re thinking ‘what should we do if?’…

Look, I wasn’t afraid to maneuver [the Clinton Administration]. I wasn’t afraid to confront Clinton. I wasn’t afraid to go against the U.N. What happened with the Oslo Accords? The Accords, which were ratified by Parliament. I was asked before the [1996] elections: “Will you fulfil them?” ... "

... read the whole context of the interview here >>> "America is Something that You Can Easily Maneuver : Bibi Netanyahu"  >>> http://www.veteranstoday.com/2017/05/15/america-is-something-that-you-can-easily-maneuver-bibi-netanyahu/


... emphasis added ...

SofaPapa's picture

It would be interesting to do this same survey just with members of Congress and the administration.  These loudest voices may not do any better...

Muddy1's picture

What the heck, why we're at it let's ask the same question of intellegence analysts, the upper crust of the State Department, and the Trump cabinet.

CuttingEdge's picture

We have to look on the bright side...

That's 36% more Americans than could stick a pin in NK were the US not intent on bombing the shit out of it sometime sonner rather than later. Same goes for every other country they've fucked with since 1953. So if the MIC is provably good for one thing, it is improving the selected geographical awareness of the average US citizen.

NoDebt's picture

I can find North Korea on a map but I don't know how to use Twitter.  And I'M THE WEIRDO, RIGHT?


TalkToLind's picture

No Twitter? Please report to Room 101 immediately!

erkme73's picture

My wife is post-grad - a quite successfuly MD.  She couldn't find RUSSIA on a map, nevermind the Ukraine or N. Korea.   Education has little to do with geographical literacy.  If you travel, or if you have interestin in historical, political, or geographical issues, you'll have no issue.

I know several GED indivuals who have a keener sense of global issues than most post-grads.

Kotzbomber747's picture

War = God's way of teaching Americans geography.

RAT005's picture

I have stood on the Chinese side of the N. Korean border.  Even got yelled at by the Chinese soldier because I was standing on the train tracks connecting the two countries.  N. Korea had pulled its people out of the border community because it was too hard to stop them from illegally immigrating to China.

The_Juggernaut's picture

lmfao @ the dumb motherfuckers who selected areas with nothing to the south.  How could it be North anything if there's no room for the South version?  Fucking people are stupid.

Tarzan's picture

So' to use PCR's favorite word, we're insouciant fools!  

"Perhaps there is another reason: Americans simply don't care."

And the following illustrates, the more ignorant, the more war hungry foolish... 

"...They asked Americans to identify Ukraine on a map and asked them whether they supported military intervention. The farther a respondent’s guess was from Ukraine, the researchers found, the more likely he or she was to favor military intervention."

Ya know, as the telescreen broadcasts, war is so glorious...

Raymond K Hessel's picture

I'm laughing the hearty insane laugh of Tom Hanks in Money Pit.

Dame Ednas Possum's picture

'Fucking people are stupid.'

Not sure I agree.

I see that 'Fucking people' i.e. people who are fucking, are really rather sensible. I mean, what would you rather be doing other than getting your end wet?

Having said that though... judging by the vast array of fools stumbling the globe it is readily apparent that most people certainly are too stupid to take necessary precautions before initiating the act of fucking and have thus infested the planet with useless fuckwits who are too fucked in the head to give a fuck about anything other than fucking.

Giant Meteor's picture

You know, that makes a lot of fucking sense ..

Well done !

Erek's picture

Cowboy: Do you have to cuss so much?

The Dude: What the fuck are you talking about?

11b40's picture

America.... we are dumb, and we are proud. F**f yeah!

Implied Violins's picture

We should bomb Uranus just so people would know where it is.

Temporalist's picture

Usually on maps there are big letters that say things like RUSSIA or KOREA...so I'm sure she could do better than you give her credit for

Money Boo Boo's picture

An ignorant and uninformed citizenry will always elect ignorant and uninformed leaders. Go Team Banana Republic!!

DanDaley's picture

I'm happy that your wife is a competent doctor, but not knowing where NK is really pathetic for an educated adult in any country.

lucitanian's picture

What is your definition of education? How can an educated person not have a basic grasp of geography? There is a broad base to education and physical geography comes at the level of grade school. 

Is it any wonder flat earthers and anti-scienceers abound.

I guess the goals of the PTB of the NWO have already succeeded in dumbing-down the serfs. Even the ignorant can be made to believe they are educated as long as they hold an institutional certificate to testify to that extent.

I heard universities are giving remedial reading and arithmetic classes to entrants. So what exactly did they learn at school and how did they get to collage entrance?

Lore's picture

Distinguish between 'education' and 'intelligence.'  Some of the most highly 'educated' people are dumb as posts, little more than walking diploma-carrying receptacles, with no interest in general knowledge or facility for independent, abstract thought. Some of the worst of those seem to be drawn like magnets to careers in government, which tends to favor mindless peons over those capable of making critical value judgements. 

This is one reason why government pronouncements need to be scrutinized, because the drones among us act as natural enablers for the subspecies of power-seeking psychopaths. This is the essence of Pathocracy: natural puppets under would-be puppeteers.  When you think about this, it becomes clear why all the shit in the world's conflict zones seems to be a form of Proxy War: psychopaths are naturally disinclined to place their own asses on the line in furtherance of their pathological agendas. Why would they, when they can mindwipe your children and make them do it? It's also why mainstream educational curriculum is so tightly controlled: a free society is one where students are encouraged to think creatively. Such a thing is highly undesirable to control freaks. 

Political Ponerology:  A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes (Amazon)

"If the many managerial positions are assumed by individuals deprived of sufficient abilities to feel and understand the majority of other people, and who also exhibit deficiencies in technical imagination and practical skills - (faculties indispensable for governing economic and political matters) - this then results in an exceptionally serious crisis in all areas, both within the country in question and with regard to international relations. Within, the situation becomes unbearable even for those citizens who were able to feather their nest into a relatively comfortable modus vivendi.  Outside, other societies start to feel the pathological quality of the phenomenon quite distinctly.  Such a state of affairs cannot last long.  One must then be prepared for ever more rapid changes, and also behave with great circumspection." (p. 140)

Ghost who Walks's picture

Interesting observations and link.

I agree with you that the educational curriculum is tightly controlled. I'm beginning to wonder about the reasons for that control. It seems to me that there is much more than the location of North Korea that is unknown to the vast percentage of the population.

Taking a variation from Voltaire's  quote of "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise"

I come up with "To learn what is used to control you, simply find out what you are not allowed to study or discuss" which leads to some interesting areas in modern society.

Lore's picture

Exactly!  Place explicit and more subtle roadblocks in front of undesirable avenues of inquiry, and reward intellectual laziness, and the majority will accept authorized narratives without question -- eagerly, even.  We're being fed some real WHOPPERS...

"When you tell a lie, tell big lies... In the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility... In the primitive simplicity of [the mind of the masses] they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying." - Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, 1926, p. 472

Refuse-Resist's picture

Our education system sucks because we ceded control of it to women and minorities.

That's it.

Now it runs based on feelings and equality, instead of displince, rigor, and results.

And this is what you get: 'educated' people that don't know shit about the world. But they vote and vote often.



halcyon's picture

Russia covers c. 12% of earth's land. Not finding that is an exercise in "I dont want to know about the world, dont bother me". You do understand that only Americans are capable of that. I am sure she knows where most US states and cities are. Americans are just clueless about anything non-US and they only really understand that once they actually travel abroad and talk to foreigners.


nmewn's picture

Yeah I think it was 36% of Twitter users or Starbucks patrons that got it right  ;-)

Nice Try Lao Che's picture

99% of the same 'folks' knew precisely which aisle they could locate the grape drink & Colt 45

Arnold's picture

No need for the grape modifier, it's a given.

Giant Meteor's picture

But does it have electrolytes ?

Bigly's picture

C'mon, let's all say it:


Déjà view's picture

"We have to look on the bright side"...

I do not believe a flashlight would help most!


securitized-debt's picture

she was a waitress in a cocktail bar now she owns a jet... http://bit.ly/2jdTzrM

Yukon Cornholius's picture

Why is Greenland bigger than South America on that first map?

It's the education system, stupid!

Kotzbomber747's picture

Actually that has all to do with Mercator map projections. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercator_projection

Unfortunately, it wasn't the Africans, indians (i.e. "native Americans") or Asians that came up with a reasonable way to project the image of a 3D sphere onto a 2D map. #blackmapsmatter and #racism!



It is interesting that the highest percentage that were correct were the over 65 group. It kind of says how American education has changed.



Hata Mari's picture

I also noticed that the age group with the poorest showing, 45-54, is the 'Sandwich' group - you know, those folks who still have kids at home, in college, also taking care of their aging parents, still struggling to pay off the last of the mortgage, coping w/ increased health care premiums; in short, working their asses off.

They don't have time to give a damn about where North Korea is located.

armageddon addahere's picture

We remember the maps in the newspapers from the last time we were at war with Korea.

tonyw's picture

it looks like 31% don't even know whether they have been abroad or not!

still, there's some strange places close to home

. . . _ _ _ . . .'s picture

"...it looks like 31% don't even know whether they have been abroad or not!"

That's not what those numbers mean.

Of the people who had been abroad, 43 % got NorK right.

Of the people who had not been abroad, 26 % got NorK right.

Of the people who were a broad, 27 % got NorK right.

Erek's picture

Define "abroad": Does it mean going for a week to Mexico? Does it mean going fishing for a week in Canada? Or does it mean going somewhere outside the North American continent for an extended period (a month or more) to study or work?

. . . _ _ _ . . .'s picture

Actually, you are asking to define "had been" and not "abroad."

If you've crossed the border, for any length of time, you've been abroad.

Spigot's picture

Not to quibble, but these results are only using one qualifier to filter: those who correctly located NK. That is the subset to which these results pertain.

"Of those who correctly located North Korea, 43% had been abroad, 26% had not and 31% did not respond." is the usual interpretation.

Why did 31% not respond? That is the question.

. . . _ _ _ . . .'s picture

Nope, it says share of respondants who correctly identified NorK...

So, 43% of people who had been abroad (crossed the border at least once for an unspecified amount of time) could find NK on an unlabeled map of Asia. Only 26% of people who had not ever crossed the border got it right.

If they didn't answer, it stands to reason that they didn't correctly identify NorK.

Spigot's picture

tonyw, I'm with you on this. Yes/No question, no ambiguity. And 31% of the respondents stood with their mouths agape, drooling, unable to select either Yes or No. Fuck!

Nolde Huruska's picture

They should have added 30 more people for an interesting headline.