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Ignorant of the world outside? New Yorkers are among the most enlightened, study says

April 25, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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It is a well-known proverbial opinion from the rest of the world that Americans don’t really have an interest of what happens outside of the Land of Opportunity. While it is true that only 37% of Americans hold a valid passport, it’s a knee-jerk and unfair assumption that we are culturally ignorant. Indeed, Americans are the second most travelled people in the world (only behind the Finns). Moreover, America is widely regarded as the most culturally diverse nation in the world, therefore, we don’t have to travel too far away from home to experience different ways of life.

But when it comes to following what’s happening in the news, there certainly may be a case for saying America is more focused on local news, as compared to what’s happening internationally. Sure, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is dominating news cycles, but a lot of this could be down to the effect (such as increased gas prices) the war is having on us domestically, rather than say the broader implications of another cold war.

A study carried out by PRFire.com, a leading press release distribution service, has revealed where people are most and least informed when it comes to international news. Five thousand respondents were each surveyed on 5 multiple choice questions about international affairs, which revealed some interesting results…

These questions asked were:

  1. In which part of Europe is Ukraine located? (Eastern)
  2. Which is the international organization, of which the United States is a part of, which guarantees the freedom and security of its members through political and military means? (NATO)
  3. What does the WHO stand for? (World Health Organization)
  4. Which country recently hosted the winter Olympics? (China)
  5. Who is the UK Prime Minister? (Boris Johnson)

The most informed in America turned out to be Mainers, who achieved the highest score of 73%. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given how international the city is (the United Nations is headquartered there afterall), New Yorkers came in 4th position overall with a pass mark of 66% – above the national average of 37%.

And lowest, with a score of just 8%, were Mississippians.

Infographic showing international awareness results by state

When asked what type of news they are more likely to read up on, 64% said news about their local community, town, or city; 21% about broader news happening in their state; and 15% on international news. This indicates that majority are naturally more inclined towards reading up on news focused on their local surroundings.

Lastly, a significant 83% majority admitted that international events events rarely make it into their day-to-day conversation among friends, family, or work colleagues.

BROOKLYN poster, by artist Warren Linn, commissioned in 1982  by Dozier Hasty and Kinga Crary. For information about getting a copy of the original poster, please email Jen Hopewell, jdh@brooklyneagle.com.


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