Hawaii. A State?

This year Hawaii cel­e­brates fifty years of statehood.

This year, Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling found that six per­cent of Amer­i­cans do not con­sid­er Hawaii to be part of the Unit­ed States. And four per­cent are not sure.

Ten per­cent of Amer­i­cans are not sure of Hawai­i’s sta­tus as a state.

I have seen sev­er­al of Leno’s Jay­walk­ing seg­ments demon­strat­ing that there are plen­ty of peo­ple who are unaware of what most of us con­sid­er to be com­mon knowl­edge, but ten per­cent? Sure­ly the sam­ple size was too small or some oth­er fac­tor skewed the results. I just have a hard time with ten percent.


Because Hawaii and Alas­ka are the easy states. When learn­ing about the states back in grade school, Hawaii and Alas­ka were the eas­i­est to remem­ber. There they were set apart from the oth­er forty eight states, each in its own lit­tle box, look­ing noth­ing like each oth­er. After learn­ing your own state was­n’t Hawaii and Alas­ka next?

I under­stand that there are peo­ple who can­not name the fifty states. Most of my life I could not do it myself. Today I can. But I made a point of cor­rect­ing the defi­cien­cy. (Don’t ask me about cap­i­tals!) I do not see it as a prob­lem that there are Amer­i­cans (prob­a­bly lots of them) who can­not name the fifty states.

But that ten per­cent can­not cor­rect­ly iden­ti­fy that Hawaii is part of Amer­i­ca when asked? Yikes!

2 thoughts on “Hawaii. A State?”

  1. That does seem a bit off. Even besides the fact that Hawaii had a spe­cial, set apart place on most flat maps, does­n’t every­one at some point want to vaca­tion in Hawaii? Does the thought of hav­ing to get a pass­port run through that 10%‘s mind?

    And besides, a lot of sit­com fam­i­lies vaca­tion in Hawaii. “Full House” comes to mind. It’s like the req­ui­site Dis­ney World/​Land vaca­tion episodes that it seems like every sit­com owned by Dis­ney has. Hawaii and the Dis­ney theme parks should be famil­iar to just about every tele­vi­sion viewer!

  2. It occurs to me that I am being naive. It could well be the case that the ten per­cent has doubts about Hawai­i’s place in the Union due to the Birther con­tro­ver­sy. If one accepts as true what one hears and one hears that Oba­ma is not a nat­ur­al born citizen…

    Add in a small amount of con­fu­sion, and voila!

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