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Less than Half of All Americans Can Locate Costa Rica - Study Reveals Age Divide in Geographic Knowledge

A recent online survey found that only 37 percent of Americans can locate Costa Rica when given a map of Central America and the Caribbean

ATHENS, Ga., Feb. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Surprising results from a research survey commissioned by the rental website, revealed that less than 40 percent of all Americans can locate the Central American nation of Costa Rica on a map and given five multiple choice options.


The research survey "Where Is Costa Rica?" found that only 36.8 percent of the 1,007 respondents could accurately locate the nation on a map showing Central America and the Caribbean. The results, which have been made available to the public here, reveal that individuals 65+ were more likely to answer correctly.  

Respondents with age between 18 - 25 correctly chose Costa Rica 29.6% of the time, while respondents age 65+ were correct 45.8% of the time. Google, who provided the survey tool used, indicated age as a statistically significant determining factor in an individual's likelyhood of answering correctly.

Survey Methodology
Using the Google Consumer Surveys platform, a generalized population of internet users were asked a survey question which included an unlabeled map of Central America and four highlighted countries: Belize, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica. Respondents could also select a fifth choice, "None of the above."

Survey Results
The correct answer locating Costa Rica, choice D, was chosen by 36.8 percent of respondents with a margin of error, +3.6 / -3.5 percent; 17.2 percent of respondents selected Belize; 14.3 percent of respondents chose Puerto Rico; 12.0 percent of respondents thought the answer was Jamaica; and 19.7 percent of respondents believed the correct answer was not shown on the map.

Age Divide
In unweighted percentages and with a larger reported margin of error, only 29.6 percent of young adults ages 18-24 years old correctly identified Costa Rica, and 29.8 percent of adults ages 25-34 selected the right answer. Respondents between ages 35 - 44 found the right country at a rate of 37.8 percent while those between ages 45-54 identified Costa Rica at a rate of 40.3 percent. The rate for selecting the correct answer dropped slightly to 37 percent for the age group 55-64. Respondents in the age bracket 65 of older achieved the most accuracy with nearly half, or 45.8 percent correctly identifying Costa Rica.

One of the most surprising findings was the number of individuals shown the survey that did not respond - approximately 40 percent, suggesting that many Americans did not wish to even attempt to locate the nation on the map, a potential indication that the actual number of Americans who can successfully locate Costa Rica is less than the research found.

Implications of the Research
The survey data from "Where Is Costa Rica?" indicates that the majority of Americans do not recognize the location of Costa Rica on a map. Coupled with the fact that the vast majority of tourists vacationing in Costa Rica are American citizens, there is significant value in building awareness of Costa Rica to an American audience. In fact, in 2011 approximately 859,000 American citizens arrived in Costa Rica, a number that has more than doubled since 2002, according to the Costa Rica Tourism Statistical Yearly Report.

For Eddie Davis, CEO of Apollo International Solutions, the company who developed, this research begins to answer one of his long held questions.  "I've met many Americans, even already in Costa Rica, that think Costa Rica is an island.  Now I have an idea of how prevalent that belief is."  The most likely cause is confusion between Puerto Rico, and island in the Caribbean and US Territory, and Costa Rica.  Over 30% of respondents believed Costa Rica was either Jamaica or Puerto Rico, both island nations.

There were also some interesting results with regards to age demographics.  Many businesses in Costa Rica are targeting retirees from North America either for relocation or medical tourism.  The survey seems to indicate that Costa Rica is already firmly on US Senior Citizens' map.

The survey was produced by Online Marketing Agency Picobarn, on behalf of an online provider of Costa Rica rental marketing.

Media Contact: Jason Davis Picobarn, 7063630713, [email protected]

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