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U.S. Gets Second Highest Score in Ipsos' Misperceptions Index


U.S. Gets Second Highest Score in Ipsos' Misperceptions Index

Americans Trail Only Italians in Being Most Wrong on Key Facts About Society

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Aug. 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Ipsos has been running studies on how wrong people are about key social realities in their country since 2014. These have been brought together in a book, The Perils of Perception – Why We're Wrong About Nearly Everything, to be published soon. The full series of studies can be found at

Ipsos logo (PRNewsfoto/Ipsos)

Ipsos summarized its extensive body of research with a Misperceptions Index on which the United States ranks second among 13 countries. The Index is based on answers from over 50,000 men and women to 28 questions on a wide range of topics: immigration levels, crime rates, teenage pregnancy, obesity levels, how happy people are, unemployment rates, smartphone ownership, and many other social realities. 

As the surveyed country whose citizens are most likely to have distorted views about social realities, Italy gets a score of 100. The U.S. comes next with a score of 90. France is third with a score of 86. At the other end of the spectrum, Sweden gets a score of only 53 as they are less often wrong about key facts pertaining to their society than people from any other country surveyed.

Recent studies show that Italians tend to be very wrong about many aspects of their society. Americans come close in having erroneous perceptions about any aspects of U.S. society. On average, Americans estimate that:  

  • 17% of the U.S. population is Muslim, when actual figure is around 1% 
  • 24% of girls aged 15 to 19 give birth each year, when the actual figure is 2.1%  

People across the world, including Americans themselves, think of the U.S. as the country whose citizens are most likely to have the facts wrong…

Ipsos recently asked people from 27 countries who they think would have the least accurate view of their own society. The country whose citizens are most widely expected to get facts wrong is the U.S., with an impressive 27% of the global vote — way ahead of any other country. Actually, half of Americans surveyed (49%) select the U.S. as the country with the most inaccurate perceptions of its society among 13 countries listed. 

For more results from this global study, please visit or take the Perils Quiz now

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