Thursday, October 03, 2013

Nigeria had fewer people than Chicago when I was a wee lad

The Pew Research Center is an honest organization that provides often interesting and useful data on social issues, public opinion and demographic trends. That assertion, though, needs to be qualified by pointing out that Pew is honest by way of commission, while it is often less so by way of omission. The center regularly conducts a survey entitled "News IQ" in which American adults are surveyed on their knowledge of current events.

If I recall correctly, Pew originally included racial breakdowns in the quiz results, though it stopped doing so several years ago and it looks as though Pew only maintains the most recent results on its site. Now it appears as though a stop to breaking down results by sex is imminent. Report results from the latest survey only separate out male and female responses for three questions that specifically have to do with women (tragically, men performed better on all three!). However, after completing the quiz online, results are broken down by sex, age, and educational attainment.

While men performed better on the three ostensibly girl power questions (identifying Marissa Mayer, the percentage of congress critters who are female, and female college graduation rates), women actually outscored men on two of the thirteen items, the two concerning subjects of elevated interest to many women--same-sex marriage and educational curricula. While sexless feminists might be interested in female figures engaged in traditionally masculine pursuits, most women are far more interested in traditionally (and biologically) feminine concerns like social inclusion and nurturing.

If Pew stops reporting results by sex, we're left with age (fairly predictable question by question and a dead giveaway overall), education (more obvious than the outcome of a Globetrotters-Generals game), and party affiliation (almost indistinguishable this time around).

One age-related result does catch the eye:

Percentages who correctly answered "Nigeria" by age range:

18-29 -- 47%
30-49 -- 45%
50-64 -- 43%
65+ -- 29%

The question is multiple choice with four possible answers, so old fogies are essentially oblivious to the specific differences in rates of fertility between various different countries in the world. You don't have to care about demographics for demographics to care about you, of course.


staffanspersonalityblog said...

I looked at party affiliation before and it was almost exclusively won by Republicans. That might in turn reflect the racial makeup of the parties.

I'm a little surprised that men outperform women. Here in Sweden, girls are better in all subjects in school, except English.

Dan said...

I was born in 1978. The population of Nigeria then was 70MM versus 2 MM for Chicago, according to some random Google data tool.

Staffan, Republicans are higher information voters by a large margin.

Republicans tend to be uncharismatic, unhip men whose only qualification is that they have a more accurate view of the world. They are terrible politicians. People are drawn by their correctness, and not because they are hip.

Dan said...

I am always irked that the left smugly considers itself the smart party and the science party when almost all of what it holds to be true regarding gender, sex, human ability, economics, race and culture is empirically incorrect.

Team red spots team blue a massive lead by being populated by Southern rednecks with low education and it still gets to the top as the higher information party.

Dan said...

Team red gives team blue a further lead by letting team blue have most people in universities, much of the technology sector and most urban dwellers. Somehow with all that team red still ends up as the higher information party.

Jokah Macpherson said...

I think I know why men were more likely to get the Marissa Mayer question.

Audacious Epigone said...


Girls do better than boys in math and science in Sweden?


I was trying to be quaint, not quant, with the title. I swear!

Re: the GOP being the higher information party--more men, older folks, fewer NAMs.


Yeah, yeah, I know, she taught computer programming. I get it.