A Pew Research Center fan recently wrote us to ask if people around the world shared his opinion as a widely traveled person that people in other countries found Americans as polite and courteous. A 2005 Pew Global Attitudes survey found that few in most Western countries view Americans as “rude,” including just 12% in Germany, 21% in Poland, 26% in the Netherlands and 29% in Great Britain. In fact, Americans were more likely to call themselves rude (35% did so) than were people in these foreign countries. Our neighbors to the north, however, were not as generous in their opinions. A majority of Canadians described Americans as rude. Looking farther around the globe, countries such as Turkey (53% find Americans rude), Indonesia (56%) and Jordan (64%) share the unflattering opinion of Americans with Canadians. It should be noted, however, that since this survey was taken, overall views of the U.S. have improved considerably. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.