Why is it important to memorize where the 50 states are on a map?

Okay, let's be honest for a second: Unless you become a geography teacher or a Jeopardy contestant, you might get through your entire adult life and never once have to point to Delaware on a map. But having a little bit of knowledge about the country in which you live certainly isn't a bad thing, either.

It seems that we see statistics like these from various sources all the time:

  • Three in ten Americans can't name the current vice president
  • 75 percent of Americans can't name both of their U.S. Senators
  • 12% of Americans don't know that Alaska is a state
  • 49% of Americans under age 25 can't find New York on a map
  • 11% of Americans under age 25 can't even find the United States on a map

Again, maybe these facts aren't critical to day-to-day life (and it certainly doesn't mean someone is "smart" just because they do know the right answers), but in today's climate, when so much of the United States' identity is tied to patriotism, it doesn't seem very patriotic to me that so many U.S. citizens are ignorant about our own country's geography, history, structure, and leadership.

Besides, many more reports these days claim that while college entrance exam scores of U.S. students are lower than ever, those in other parts of the world are rising. It's probably not anything to be proud of if a student in India, China, France, or anywhere else can identify the 50 states when you can't, don't you think?