Only 1 in 3 Americans could pass a U.S. citizenship test

This post first appeared at Fellowship of the Minds

Do you wonder why so many Americans have piled onto the Democrats’ persecution of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, seemingly oblivious to America’s fundamental principles of evidence-based accusation and innocent until proven guilty?

The answer is in the stunning results of a recent national survey which found that only one-third of adult Americans could pass a multiple-choice U.S. citizenship test, with a passing score of 60. The test consisted of items taken from the actual U.S. Citizenship Test. Younger Americans (age 45 and younger) are even more ignorant, with just 19% (2 out of 10) who passed the test.

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The survey of a random (and thetrefore representative) sample of 1,000 American citizens was conduced by research firm Lincoln Park Strategies for the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, which was founded in 1945 to identify, develop, and support America’s best minds to be the next generation of leaders. The survey has a margin of error of ±3%.

In a press release on October 3, 2018, the Foundation made public the results:

  • Only 1 in 3 Americans (36%) passed a multiple choice test consisting of items taken from the U.S. Citizenship Test, which has a passing score of 60.
  • Only 13% knew when the U.S. Constitution was ratified, with most incorrectly thinking it occurred in 1776.
  • More than half (60%) didn’t know which countries the United States fought in World War II.
  • Despite the recent media spotlight on the U.S. Supreme Court, 57% did not know how many Justices actually serve on the nation’s highest court.
  • 72% either incorrectly identified or were unsure of which states were part of the 13 original states.
  • Only 24% could correctly identify one thing Benjamin Franklin was famous for; 37% mistakenly believed he invented the lightbulb.
  • Only 24% knew the correct answer as to why the colonists fought the British.
  • 12% incorrectly thought WWII General Dwight Eisenhower led troops in the Civil War; 6% thought he was a Vietnam War general.
  • While most knew the cause of the Cold War, 2% said the Cold War was about climate change.
  • Age gap: Americans 65 years and older scored the best, with 74% answering at least 6 in 10 questions correctly. For those under the age of 45, only 19% passed the test; 81% scored 59% or lower.
  • Despite their lack of even a basic understanding of American history, most respondents in the survey said U.S. history was an appealing subject during their time in school; 40% said it was their favorite subject.

Woodrow Wilson Foundation President Arthur Levine said:

With voters heading to the polls next month, an informed and engaged citizenry is essential. Unfortunately this study found the average American to be woefully uninformed regarding America’s history and incapable of passing the U.S. Citizenship Test. It would be an error to view these findings as merely an embarrassment. Knowledge of the history of our country is fundamental to maintaining a democratic society, which is imperiled today. Americans need to understand the past in order to make sense of a chaotic present and an inchoate future. History is both an anchor in a time when change assails us and a laboratory for studying the changes that are occurring. It offers the promise of providing a common bond among Americans in an era in which our divisions are profound and our differences threaten to overshadow our commonalities.

Alas, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation does not break down the survey results by political party identification.

Washington Times has a 24-question multiple-choice US citizenship test. The newspaper explains:

An important part of the application process for becoming a US citizen is passing a civics test, covering important U.S. history and government topics. There are 100 civics questions on the naturalization test. During the interview process, applicants are asked up to 10 questions and must be able to answer at least 6 questions correctly. Here is a sampling of what may be asked.

The 24 questions are really, really easy for regular readers of FOTM. As an example, the first question is “Who is in charge of the executive branch?”.

To take the test, click here.

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