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Recent surveys show that South Africans are more likely to overestimate negative situations than any other country in the world. The Ipsos' global survey named "Perils of Perception" measures the differences between situations in reality and people's perception of it in terms of how accurate their perception actually is or whether they underplay or overplay situations.

South Africans gave the least accurate estimations or categories such as murder rate and teen pregnancy of which they took first place in overestimating, just above India. 85% of South Africans believed that the murder rate has increased while statistics show that it has fallen by 29% in South Africa. Although a seemingly pessimistic South African view, most participants from all countries predicted an increased murder rate.

South African overestimated the number of prisoners who were immigrants by 31.7% coming in second to the Netherlands. The US, Argentina and Australia were among the large over estimators however, Saudi Arabian's estimated in the other direction, sorely underestimating the situation.

Teen pregnancy estimations were the least accurate worldwide with every single country overestimating the actual rate. South Africans were asked to estimate the percentage of girls between 15 and 19 who had given birth in the last year which came to 44% when the actual rate is only 4.4%

While these figures certainly don't spell out the future of our country, it could teach South Africans that things aren't always as bad as they seem. Perhaps South Africans find it easy to revert to the negative before looking at reality.

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