For Americans, July 4th is a big celebration with picnics, fireworks, parades and so on. Given all the annual hoopla, it is surprising that the number of people who know that 1776 was the year of American independence is so low.
Only 58% of residents know that the United States declared its independence in 1776. 26% are unsure, and 16% mentioned another date.
There are age differences on this question. Younger Americans are the least likely to know the correct answer. Only 31% of adults younger than 30 say that 1776 is the year in which the United States broke away from Great Britain. 59% of residents between 30 and 44 report the same. Americans 45 to 59 — 75% — are the age group most likely to have the correct answer. Among those 60 and older, 60% report that 1776 is the year in which the United States declared its independence.
When it comes to gender, men — 65% — are more likely to respond with 1776 than are women — 52%.
And, for the second year, about one in four Americans doesn’t know from which country the United States declared its independence. While 76% correctly cite Great Britain, 19% are unsure, and 5% mention another country.
You can see the full survey results here.
Of course, we should not infer from this that younger people are more clueless now than corresponding age groups in the past. This is always the danger with polls that break things down by age cohorts but do not give similar age cohort breakdowns from earlier times. It is quite likely that as people get older, they are more likely to pick up such facts.
In reading this, I became curious as to what percentage of American know that July 4th celebrates independence at all, let alone the year in which it occurred.