What the world’s top internet countries get wrong in understanding their people


Italy is the most ignorant of 14 countries with high internet penetration when it comes to understanding its own people, according to a survey.

The findings, in an Ipsos report measuring the social perceptions of people from 14 countries, had Italy at No.1 on the group’s “Index of Ignorance”.

A total of 11,527 adults from Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Britain and the US were interviewed in August.

They were asked about a number of social issues, from murders, to teenage pregnancy, to immigration figures.

Italians believe 17 per cent of 15- to 19-year-old females give birth each year, when the actual figure is 0.5 per cent.

They estimate 30 per cent of the Italian population are immigrants, when it is 7 per cent in reality, while their guess that 48 per cent of the population were over the age of 65 was nowhere near the real mark of 21 per cent. 

Source: Ipsos

Italians also think no one can land a job. Collectively, they believe 49 per cent of the adult population are unemployed, but to their surprise, just 12 per cent of Italians are out of work.

The United States finished second on the “Index of Ignorance”, just ahead of South Korea, Poland and Hungary.

Statistically, the Swedes have the most accurate perceptions of their own societies, followed by the Germans, Japanese and Spanish.

The data shows all countries overestimated their levels of immigration, the percentage of Muslims in the community, as well as the proportion of their population aged over 65.

However, the biggest overestimate was found to be in the number of people unemployed, with estimates ranging from 37 per cent to 14 per cent over correct figures.

Countries as a whole were found to underestimate the number of Christians, people who voted, and youth unemployment everywhere except Spain.

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