Index Of Ignorance

How can one really measure ignorance? We are not really sure but the people at Ipsos Perils of Perception Survey seem to have some sort of idea and have kindly shared their Index of Ignorance ranking as 2016 draws to a close.

The Index of Ignorance ranking apparently “highlights how wrong the public across 40 countries are about key global issues and features of the population in their country.”

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Ignorance about global issues and one’s country by citizens should translate to some sort of negative consequence, or at least, one would suppose that. The Index of ignorance, however, features some fast rising or developed countries on the top ten spots of its ranking.

India, which is the world’s largest democracy and has garnered accolades for being a rising global superpower, has the added designation of being the most ignorant people on the planet. Last year, India was only the second-worst performer on the survey’s Index of Ignorance, but they topped the list in 2016.


Here are the top ten countries that featured on Ipsos Perils of Perception Survey’s Index of ignorance 2016;

  • India
  • China
  • Taiwan
  • South Africa
  • US
  • Brazil
  • Thailand
  • Singapore
  • Turkey
  • Indonesia

To arrive at this conclusion, Ipsos MORI, a British market research firm, did 27,250 interviews between September and November this year. The managing director of the Ipsos MORI, Bobby Duffy, said that;

“Across all 40 countries in the study, each population gets a lot wrong. We are often most incorrect on factors that are widely discussed in the media, such as the proportion of our population that are Muslims and wealth inequality,”

“We know from previous studies that this is partly because we over-estimate what we worry about.”

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To take one example from the questions that proved the ignorance of Indians, Ipsos MORI had asked;

“What percentage of people do you think said they personally believe that homosexuality is morally unacceptable?”

The respondents either grossly underestimated or overestimated the acceptance of homosexuality in their countries.

South Africa, which ranks fourth place on the Index of Ignorance is the only African country represented there and Africa is probably alright with that but that may just be us being ignorant.