South Africans ranked highest in ignorance of key global issues and features of the population in our country in a study done by Ipsos released early in 2018.

A study done in 2017 and released early this year on, “The Perils of Perception”,  highlighted how wrong the online public across 38 countries and districts are about key global issues and features of the population in their country.

Subjects of the study included murder rates, terrorist deaths, teenage pregnancy, diabetes and how healthy people feel.

The results of this study found the people of South Africa the most ignorant of all countries in the survey, after a series of questions found that SA people tend to overestimate and misunderstand certain issues.

Of the 10 overall social issues addressed in the survey South Africans were the most ignorant of the current stance of the following areas:


South Africa’s guessed that the average suicides among young men was 27%, whereas the actual official suicide figure is 1.1%

Across all countries, the average guess is that 20% of deaths of both young men and women are through suicide, when the actual figure is slightly higher for young men, at 20% compared with 17% for young women.


Teenage Pregnancy:

South Africa ranked as highly as a number of 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%. However all countries overestimate teenage births.


Foreign-born prisoners:

Most countries greatly overestimate the proportion of prisoners in their country that are immigrants. The average guess is that 51% of prisoners are immigrants when it is actually 19%. This guess is close to that of participants from France and USA.


Murder rate:

85% of people in South Africa believe the murder rate is higher than it actually is. Predictions averaged at 29% higher than the actual figures. Only 7% of people think the murder rate is lower in their country, but it is significantly down in most countries by 29% compared to the last year.


Belief in Heaven, Hell and God:

In South Africa, the average guess is that 67% of people believe in Heaven, but actual survey results show belief is much higher at 84%.


Overall, South Africans received the bottom spot as the most inaccurate in our perceptions on our country’s social issues, ranking close to Brazil and the Philippines.

Top spot of most accurate goes to Sweden followed closely by Norway and Denmark.


Picture: Unsplash

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