Ipsos have ranked South Africans as “the most ignorant in the world”

By Tom Head for The South African 

A study released by Ipsos this year cites citizens of Mzansi as the most ignorant in the world. We came out on top of the “Misperceptions Index” – a table which charts the 38 nations surveyed about the biggest concerns in their country. South Africans are seen as being the most ignorant of the lot, after a series of questions found that we tend to overestimate and misunderstand certain issues.

The dictionary definition of “ignorant” is what’s being applied here – meaning to have “a general lack of awareness or knowledge”. This study doesn’t imply that South Africans are rude or crass.

What makes South Africans ‘ignorant’?
Of the 10 social issues analysed, South African perceptions are the worst in the following areas:

Murder rate

85% of people in South Africa believe the murder rate is higher than it actually is. Predictions averaged to be 29% higher than the actual figures.

Foreign-born prisoners

This sample size of South Africans believe that 50% of prisoners are foreigners, when in fact, that number is below 20%.

Teenage pregnancy

South Africa ranks as highly as several Latin American countries when it comes to guessing the teenage pregnancy rate. Our participants incorrectly guessed that 44% of 15-19-year-olds are having children, whereas the actual figure is 4.4%.

Most ignorant countries ranked by Ipsos
The South Africans surveyed by Ipsos tend to overestimate these figures rather than anything else. The only perception where they fell short was related to religious beliefs. In general, it was thought that 67% of our countrymen and women believe in heaven – that figure is actually up at 84%.

Brazil, The Philippines, Peru and India make up the top five “ignorant” countries. The three least ignorant countries were all Scandinavian – Sweden came out on top, with Norway and Denmark emerging as the second and third most perspective countries respectively.

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