About one-in-five Americans cannot name a single one of the three branches of government, according to an annual survey from the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center.
The center released its annual Annenberg Constitution Day Civics Survey on Thursday, and found that about 2 in 5 American adults accurately named the three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial.
- 39 percent named all three branches
- 14 percent named two branches
- 25 percent named one branch
- 22 percent couldn’t name any branch
- 1 percent refused to answer
The center notes that the percentage of people who could name all three branches “is the highest in five years, statistically the same as the prior high of 38 percent in 2013 and 2011 and a substantial increase over last year, when 32 percent could do the same.”
According to the center, the survey also found that people who took civics classes in high school, or were regular consumers of news, were more likely to know the answers to the survey questions.
“While this marks an improvement, the overall results remain dismal,” said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, the center’s director, in a statement. “A quarter of U.S. adults can name only one of the three branches of government and more than a fifth can’t name any. The resilience of our system of government is best protected by an informed citizenry. And civics education and attention to news increase that likelihood.”
The center surveyed 1,104 adults in the U.S. between Aug. 16-27 by phone, with a margin of error of +/- 3.6 percentage points.
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