The Gapminder Effect has been measured!

It works!

Right now, the media attention around “fact resistance” makes it seem like it increases. But do we really know? To know such things we must measure it, and to our knowledge nobody has done that.

Six years ago we realized we didn’t know if our presentations had any effect. So we started measuring knowledge. After all Hans’ appearances in media and TED talks, he expected that people would know the facts that he had been repeating. In 2013 we asked a set of knowledge questions to the public in Sweden, only to find that their ignorance of basic global facts was huge.

Only 8% knew that the majority of children get basic vaccines.
Only 23% knew that the global poverty rate has been halved during the last two decades.
Those were multiple choice questions, A, B or C. And a chimpanzees would get 33% correct answers, just by picking randomly.
We were very disappointed.

This year in February, the same month Hans passed away, we asked a new battery of questions. The 2017 results were announced two weeks ago. And to our great relief, they were much better! The Swedish public had improved from 8% to 27% on the vaccination question.

On the poverty trend questions, they were even better than the chimpanzees! That has never happened in Sweden before! Congratulations.

Now we wondered: Was this really thanks to us? So during the last two weeks we have made a follow up study. If only Hans could have seen these results!

The people who picked the correct answer, got a follow up question. “Do you remember from where you got this knowledge?”

We gave them an open answer field to write whatever came to their mind. So we didn’t trick them. This word cloud shows word sizes by their frequency.

46% of the people who answered correctly, attributed their knowledge to “Rosling” or “Gapminder”. We call it the Gapminder effect!

Our conclusion is: It works! We should just continue doing what we have been doing for 18 years, and spread a fact-based worldview, the way we do it.

Please grab our slides, tools and exam questions, and help more people learn the basic global facts!

🙂 Ola Rosling