From Primary Sources in The Atlantic (January/February 2003)
Despite recent events fewer than one in five Americans aged eighteen to twenty-four could locate Afghanistan on a world map, and only one in seven could locate Iraq on a map of the Middle East and Asia. Nor did Americans have much success in identifying U.S. states: barely half could find New York, and only a third could find New Jersey. Worst of all, 10 percent of Americans could not find the United States on a world map. And although it provides little solace to consider some of the strange lacunae in Europeans’ knowledge (for instance, despite the 355-mile border between Germany and the Netherlands, nearly a third of Germans couldn’t identify the latter—which they seemed to locate just fine in 1940), Americans can take heart from this: more than a third of young adults in the United States were able to place the island used for the fourth season of the television series Survivor in the South Pacific.