How much do NEU students actually know about the United States?

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We’ve all seen the social experiment videos in which interviewees are unable to answer simple questions correctly like, “From what country did the U.S. declare its independence?” (hint: it is not China). Despite the pride that perpetuates the United States, how much do Americans actually know about their country and the rest of the world? Before reading on, take the quiz to test your own knowledge:

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 10.11.53 AM


We wanted to test Northeastern student’s knowledge, so we sent out a survey with four different topics: politics, history, pop culture, and geography. Due to pop culture’s pervasive nature in media, one would assume students would know the most about this topic, but the results are not necessarily illustrative of this:
Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 10.02.11 AMCorrect Answer: A and B
Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 10.02.32 AM Correct Answer: Taylor Swift


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Correct Answer: Deadpool


In a recent primary poll conducted by Northeastern, only 2,300 ballots were cast to vote for their choice of Republican or Democrat primary winners. Based on the 19,798 student population at Northeastern, this is a 11.6% voter turnout. To provide some context, the 2012 Presidential election had a 53.6% voter turnout. However, despite this lack of participation, students seemed to be fairly knowledgeable when it came to politics. As Stephen Colbert illustrated with his Colbert Super PAC, a political Super PAC is a group that endorses a political candidate for an election, usually a presidential one, that is able to financially fund the candidate’s campaign without limits. When asked, “What is a Super PAC?” some students answered:

“Financially backs a presidential candidate”


“Political action committee, an independent group that can raise unlimited amounts of money to support a candidate or cause, can’t officially coordinate with an actual campaign”


Of course, some students were maybe less informed:

“my abs”

When it came to history, answers seemed to be divided, some answers more shocking than others. For instance, both our first President, George Washington and Hamilton did not sign the Declaration of Independence.
Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 10.04.41 AMCorrect Answer: Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand


Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 10.05.12 AMCorrect Answer: Spain (1892-1975)


Geography seems to also be a difficult topic. For instance, there are a total of 56 states and territories in the US.  However, the majority answered that there were 53 (see below). Surprisingly, regarding European geography, the answers were in a consensus. Most people knew that Lithuania was its own country and that France was next to Switzerland.

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 10.05.54 AMCorrect Answer: 56


We may not be experts on our country, but, on the bright side, we do know our Marvel movies!