CFR Campus

Global Literacy Survey

What College-Aged Students Know About the World: A Survey on Global Literacy

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and National Geographic commissioned a survey to gauge what young people educated in American colleges and universities know about geography, the environment, demographics, U.S. foreign policy, recent international events, and economics. The survey, conducted in May 2016 among 1,203 respondents aged eighteen to twenty-six, revealed significant gaps between what young people understand about today’s world and what they need to know to successfully navigate and compete in it. The average score on the survey’s knowledge questions was only 55 percent correct, and just 29 percent of respondents earned a minimal pass—66 percent correct or better.

Please see the survey report (PDF) for the full results and a foreword from CFR President Richard N. Haass and National Geographic Society President and CEO Gary E. Knell.