By Jeffrey Gottfried and Elizabeth Grieco, Pew Research Center
While some say wisdom comes with age, younger Americans are better than their elders at separating factual from opinion statements in the news.
In a survey conducted Feb. 22 to March 4, 2018, the Center asked U.S. adults to categorize five factual statements and five opinion statements. As a previous report revealed, about a quarter of Americans overall could accurately classify all five factual statements (26%) and about a third could classify all five opinion statements (35%). When age is further broken down into four groups, the two youngest age groups – 18- to 29-year-olds and 30- to 49-year-olds – are almost matched in their ability to correctly categorize all five factual and all five opinion statements, and both outpaced those in the two older age groups – 50- to 64-year-olds and those ages 65 and older.
About a third of 18- to 49-year-olds (32%) correctly identified all five of the factual statements as factual, compared with two-in-ten among those ages 50 and older. A similar pattern emerges for the opinion statements. Among 18- to 49-year-olds, 44% correctly identified all five opinion statements as opinions, compared with 26% among those ages 50 and older. When looking at the 10 statements individually, younger adults were not only better overall at correctly identifying factual and opinion news statements – they could do so regardless of the ideological appeal of the statements.
Test your own ability to categorize the 10 factual and opinion statements, take the quiz.
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