New study finds that 7 in 10 Americans cannot answer basics civics questions

February 20, 2024

A recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation study conducted ahead of President's Day found that 7 in 10 Americans lack civic literacy on topics like the three branches of government and the number of Supreme Court justices. The survey polled 2,000 registered voters with basic quiz questions and found only 25% say they are "very confident" they could explain how our government operates. Unfortunately, this does not come as a surprise to those of us who have borne witness to the steep decline in student outcomes that continues to worsen in many states. It is vital that we address these knowledge gaps immediately to ensure that our youth is equipped with the knowledge and education needed to preserve our democracy. 

"As we approach our semi-quincentennial in 2026, this report amounts to a five-alarm fire drill for the civic health of the nation," Hilary Crow, head of the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s The Civic Trust, said in a press release. "While Americans across backgrounds value civic participation in theory, we are sorely lacking in the basic knowledge that translates values into informed, engaged citizenship."

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