Ask MetaFilter on U.S. Geographic Literacy

An interesting question posted to Ask MetaFilter last night: “It’s a cliché about people from the USA that they are ignorant of geography. Not just world geography but their own as well. … So, is there some explanation in the school system for this?” The answers so far are an interesting (if necessarily anecdotal) look at geography education in the U.S. — and a tendency in middle school to memorize states and capitals and to colour them. And, to be fair, elsewhere: several commenters made the point that the sheer size of the U.S. (compared with other countries) meant that domestic geography was enough of a task. Here’s part of AV’s answer: “To put things in perspective, England is roughly 50,000 square miles in area, about 4,000 square miles smaller than the state of New York. That’s just one of fifty states. The U.S. itself is closer in size to the entirety of Europe. Do you know where Dubrovnik is? Lviv? Do you think most Brits do?”

Previously: That National Geographic Survey.