Special Report

What Americans Guess Wrong the Most About America


To identify what Americans guess wrong the most about America, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the 34 largest differences between guessed and actual proportions of various subgroups among the US adult population from the report, “From millionaires to Muslims, small subgroups of the population seem much larger to many Americans,” released by national survey company YouGov. 

We used the absolute difference between guessed and actual proportions of subgroups of the population to rank the questions on this list. Guessed proportions are median weighted responses (ranging from 0% to 100%, rounded to the nearest whole percentage) to the question “If you had to guess, what percentage of American adults…” 

YouGov took the real proportions from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, YouGov’s internal poll results, and the results of other well-established polling firms. Most estimates were collected within the past three years; the oldest is from 2009. Because the real estimates presented cover a range of time periods, they may differ from actual population sizes at the time YouGov’s survey was conducted.

The report includes findings from two U.S. News surveys conducted by YouGov on two nationally representative samples of 1,000 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online from Jan. 14-20, 2022. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. citizens.

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