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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.

Expand chart
Data: Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation; Map: Chris Canipe/Axios

Why it matters: It suggests most Americans can't live up to the standards we set for people applying to be U.S. citizens — and we set those standards because we expect Americans to be informed and engaged. Only four out of 10 Americans would have passed the test, and just 27% of those under age 45.

By the numbers: A few highlights from the survey, conducted for the foundation by Lincoln Park Strategies:

  • 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 Nov. 14, 2018-Jan. 3, 2019 among 41,000 adults, using 20 history-specific questions from the practice tests for people taking the citizenship exam. The margin of error was 1 percentage point.

Go deeper

Reopening is expensive

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Emerging from pandemic lockdown is shaping up to be pricey. Traveling, eating out and even refreshing your wardrobe costs more, per April inflation data out today.

Why it matters: The economy is reopening and suddenly Americans want in on the activities they've gone a year without. The data shows how much that sudden demand has helped push prices higher — at least for now.

Colonial Pipeline restarting service after hack

Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Colonial Pipeline is restarting operations around 5 p.m. ET Wednesday, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced.

Why it matters: At least 11 states and Washington, D.C., have experienced gas shortages since a ransomware attack forced the critical pipeline running from Texas to New York to shut down on Saturday.

2 hours ago - Health

CDC panel endorses Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

An advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday endorsed the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for 12-to 15-year-olds, following the FDA's emergency use authorization.

Why it matters: Approval from the CDC panel was the final step needed before inoculations could be offered at any vaccination site for this age group.

  • Pfizer has said its vaccine is 100% effective at protecting against COVID-19 in a trial of more than 2,200 children between the ages of 12 and 15.