How average are you?

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
January 04, 2012, 4:33 PM GMT+0

Driving, punctuality, maths, sport…sexual performance? Britons rate how good they are on average

Punctual, spelling correctly and usually ready with a trivial pursuit answer – that's how the majority of British people see themselves on average, our poll has found. We gave people a list of activities and asked them to rate how good at it they were – whether above average, average, or worse.

And while the majority of respondents rated themselves as above average for punctuality, spelling and general knowledge, Britons feel less than averagely-good at drawing, sport, and singing – despite, perhaps, the upcoming London Olympics and much-watched television 'talent' singing shows such as ITV's The X Factor.

When it comes to being merely 'average', however, the public rated itself in the middle for more menial tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, driving and following directions. But Britons also consider themselves to be 'about average' for activities such as staying healthy, doing maths and managing finances, as well as the arguably more complex arena of sexual performance and relationships.

  • 58% of British people feel that their punctuality is 'above average' (32% 'about average', 7% 'below')
  • 53% said that they were 'above average' at spelling (35% 'about average', 9% 'below')
  • General knowledge saw a close call, with 49% calling themselves 'above average' compared to 44% who say they're 'about average (4% below)
  • Rated as 'about average' were people's abilities in relationships and sexual performance (both with 53%), cleaning (53%), staying healthy (49%), following directions (49%), cooking (47%), managing finances (47%) and driving (43%)
  • While 60% said that they were 'below average' at singing, 54% at drawing, and 52% at sport

Gender divide

Differences between the sexes perhaps predictably surface for some of our activities including:

  • Driving (42% of men say they're better than average, compared to 25% of women)
  • Following directions (44% of men would say they're above average compared to 32% of women)
  • Sport, at which just 6% of women say that they are above average, compared to 21% of men

When it comes to sexual performance however, very similar percentages of each sex say that they are about average (53% of men and 52% of women).

The age gap

Age was also an intriguing differentiator when it came to some of our activities, as well as the perhaps more predictable differences when it comes to driving, or sport.

  • Sexual performance was deemed as improving, and more or less maintaining, with age (41% of 18- 24 year olds felt that they were average, 60% of 25-39 year olds felt the same, as did 58% of 40-59 year olds, and 45% of those over 60)
  • While similar numbers across the age groups agreed on their mathematical abilities, (41% of 18-24 year olds and 44% of the over 60s said they were 'about average', while 39% of the younger age group and 39% of the elder said they were 'above average'), older people felt better at spelling (43% of 18-24 years olds called themselves 'above average' compared to a significant 59% of the over 60s saying the same)
  • The over 60s believe themselves to be more punctual, with 71% saying that they were 'above average' at this compared to just 43% of 18-24s
  • Similarly, older people feel that they are better at general knowledge, with 55% of the over 60s calling themselves 'above average', versus 37% of the 18-24 age group saying the same

See the survey details and full results here