April 21, 2009

Younger People Less Knowledgeable

5.9

On a 12-question news quiz, young adults answered fewer than half correctly on average.

As in the past, younger Americans (ages 18 to 34) are not as knowledge about the news as are older Americans. On a current event knowledge survey, young adults averaged 5.9 correct answers out of 12 news-based questions, fewer than the averages for Americans ages 35 to 49 (7.8) and above age 50 (8.4). In fact, for each of the 12 items tested, a greater proportion of both age groups over age 35 knew the correct answer than adults under 35. The knowledge gap is widest on foreign affairs. Only about half (52%) of those younger than 35 know that Pakistan and Afghanistan share a border, compared with 71% of those ages 35 to 49, and 80% of those 50 and older. And while 47% know Obama had announced a troop level increase in Afghanistan, this was considerably fewer than the percentage of older Americans who were aware of the announcement. There also are sizable age differences in the percentages able to identify Timothy Geithner’s position, the name of the Federal Reserve Board chairman and the U.S. automaker that has not taken emergency loans from the government. Read More