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INDIA-IGNORANCE
Reuters/Adnan Abidi
An ignorant lot?
POP QUIZ

Do you know more about India than an Indian does?

By Itika Sharma Punit

How old is the average person in India? What percentage of the country’s female population is employed?

If you relied on someone from India to give you the answers, you’d likely say the average age is 49 and that 41 out of 100 women in India work.

And you would be way, way off. The average Indian resident is in fact 27 years old, and only 25% of working-age women in the country are employed.

India has emerged as the second most ignorant country on domestic issues, among populations surveyed by market research company, Ipsos MORI, as part of its “Perils of Perception 2015” study. The annual survey highlights how wrong people are about some of the key issues and features of their home countries.

“We are often incorrect on factors that are widely discussed in the media or highlighted as challenges facing societies,” said Ipsos MORI spokesman Bobby Duffy. “We know from previous studies that this is partly because we overestimate what we worry about.”

Low internet penetration also tends to be a factor in countries where the citizenry fares poorly on the survey, he said.

Only Mexicans ranked higher (i.e. worse) than Indians on Ipsos MORI’s bluntly named “Index of Ignorance.” South Korea emerged as the least ignorant country in the survey.

Here’s a list of all the questions that were asked in the survey, along with the replies that Indian respondents gave and their actual answers:

QuestionAverage guessActual
How old do you think the average person in your country is?4927
Out of every 100 people aged 20 years or over, how many do you think are either overweight or obese?4120
Out of every 100 people, about how many do you think do not affiliate themselves with any religion – that is, atheists, agnostics and those who say they do not identify with any religion?330.1
What percentage of the population do you think are immigrants (i.e. not born in this country)?210.4
Out of every 100 people, about how many do you think are aged 14 or under?3928
What percentage of politicians do you think are women?2312
Out of every 100 working age women, about how many do you think are in employment?4125
What percentage of people in your country live in a rural area?5568
Out of every 100 people, about how many do you think have access to the internet at home either through a computer or mobile device?6019

The survey included 500 to 1,000 respondents from each country in the ranking. The results are below, with the least accurate (or the most ignorant) at the top:

RankCountry
1Mexico
2India
3Brazil
4Peru
5New Zealand
6Colombia
7Belgium
8South Africa
9Argentina
10Italy
11Russia
12Chile
13Great Britain
14Israel
15Australia
16Japan
17Canada
18Germany
19Netherlands
20Spain
21Norway
22France
23Sweden
24United States
25China
26Poland
27Ireland
28South Korea