Econintersect: The National Geographic Society reported in 2006 that the United States ranks lower in the acceptance of evolutionary theory than all but one of the 34 countries in which surveys were taken. Only Turkey ranked lower. All of the countries in the survey are western countries which are predominently Christian, except for Turkey which has a Muslim majority, and Japan. The two other North American countries, Canada and Mexico, are not listed in the survey results.
The U.S. has ~40% acceptance of evolutionary theory. The other countries besides the U.S. and Turkey under 50% acceptance are Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania and Bulgaria.
Acceptance exceeds 80% for Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and France.
Description of the above graphic from The National Geographic:
This chart depicts the public acceptance of evolution theory in 34 countries in 2005. Adults were asked to respond to the statement: “Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals.” The percentage of respondents who believed this to be true is marked in blue; those who believed it to be false, in red; and those who were not sure, in yellow.
A study of several such surveys taken since 1985 has found that the United States ranks next to last in acceptance of evolution theory among nations polled. Researchers point out that the number of Americans who are uncertain about the theory’s validity has increased over the past 20 years.
It is tempting to attribute the divergence of the U.S. from so many other advanced countries to lack of understanding of evolution. This would implicate the quality of the U.S. education system, which ranks 17th in the world. However, overall quality of education does not show a strong relationship. Two countries immediately below the U.S. in the educational quality ranking and the three immediately above all have much greater acceptance of the theory of evolution than does the U.S.
The following info graphic from Certification Map provides some details about global education systems:
- Photo: Evolution Less Accepted in U.S. Than Other Western Countries, Study Finds (National Geographic) Hat tip to Naked Capitalism.
- Evolution Less Accepted in U.S. Than Other Western Countries, Study Finds (James Owen, National Geographic News, 10 August 2006)
- Best Education In The World: Finland, South Korea Top Country Rankings, U.S. Rated Average (Huff Post Education, 27 November 2012)