Percentage Perception

What percent of The Netherlands’ population do you think is Muslim?

Make a guess, but think about what informs your guess:

How did you arrive at your percentage? Why do you think others would arrive at a
different percentage? What might your guess depend on?

What percentage is it really? See the table on the back for the answer.

What was your percentage error?

your estimaged percentage−correct percentage
Percentage error = correct percentage .

If you get a positive number, that means you overestimated the percentage. If you get a
negative number, that means you underestimated the percentage.

With the growth of the Muslim community in Western countries, people are becoming
more aware of religious diversity. Ispos Mori surveyed people around the world to find
out what percentage of the population they thought were Muslim. The results show that
there is a misperception of the Muslim community around the world!

The table on the back is not in any order and has some gaps. The table below it has all
the numbers that should fit in the gaps. Note that the percentage error has been
rounded to 3 significant figures (always rounded to have only three numbers).

See if you can put the numbers in the right place…pay careful attention to the
conversations you are having as you work together to do this!
Percentage Perception
Country Actual % % Perceived Difference % Error
Muslim (what people
The 6 19 13 217
Great Britain 4.8 10.2 213
Germany 5 21 16
Belgium 7 23
South Korea 0.2 3400
United States 23
Japan 6 5.8
Spain 14 11.9 567
Italy 3.7 20
Canada 24.2
Sweden 17 270
Indonesia -8.26
South Africa 1.9

320 87.2 2.8 229 15
1.1 28.1 382 18 -7.2
6.8 40 16.3 290 441
30 0.2 21 27 31.7
80 21.9 16 12.4 148
3 8.3 1990 600 2.1
7 4.6 864

Which country had the biggest misperception? How did you decide? Could it be ranked
another way?
Follow-up discussions:

1. How did you decide which set of numbers belonged with France and which belonged
with Australia? What was your reasoning?

2. What effect do these misperceptions have do you think? For example, if people
overestimate the Muslim population, how might they react? What laws might they enact?

3. Are there other things that you think your country over- or underestimates? What is
the consequence?

4. How can we avoid these kinds of misperceptions?

All statistics from Ipsos.

Based on and adapted an activity developed by Jim Noble for InThinking.