Nordic people are ignorant and pessimistic – survey

Nordic people are ignorant and pessimistic, says survey.  [Shutterstock/posztos]

People from Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway got one in four answers correct when responding to 18 factual questions related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, according to a study carried out by Gapminder, an independent non-profit foundation.

According to Gapminder’s Sustainable Development Misconceptions Study 2020, 82% of the answers were answered wrongly on average across all four Nordic countries.

Of the potential 18 correct answers, Sweden scored 3.4, Denmark 3.2, Norway 3.2 and Finland 3.1.

To name but a few, many people wrongly believe that fossil fuels no longer provide most of the world’s energy, whereas they actually cover 81% of global energy production.

Moreover, respondents falsely believe that the number of refugees in the world is 10 times higher than the actual number. Many also wrongly believe that more than a third of all plastic waste ends up in the oceans, while the correct amount is only 6%.

According to Gapminder, the media are to blame.

News outlets have a tendency to concentrate on similar stories and thus create patterns that distort reality. The view of the world becomes over-dramatised, Gapminder argues.

The foundation was originally set up by Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund and Hans Rosling. According to its manifesto, the foundation aims to fight against common misconceptions with a fact-based worldview that everyone can understand.

(Pekka Vänttinen |

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