A majority of Americans in every state except Vermont would fail a test based on the questions in the U.S. citizenship test, according to a survey by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. Only four out of 10 Americans would have passed the test, and just 27% of those under age 45.
People did relatively well on the most basic questions. Seven out of 10 knew that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and that Franklin Roosevelt was president during World War II. But only 43% knew that Woodrow Wilson was president during World War I (nearly one out of four thought it was Roosevelt), and only 56% knew which countries we fought in World War II.
Fewer than a third could correctly name three of the original states. More than six out of 10 incorrectly thought the Constitution was written in 1776. (It wasn’t written until 1787.) Nearly four out of 10 thought Benjamin Franklin invented the light bulb.
Methodology: The survey was conducted using 20 history-specific questions from the practice tests for people taking the citizenship exam.