General Question

segdeha's avatar

Why didn't the United States ever adopt the metric system?

Asked by segdeha (1707points) July 14th, 2007

I remember as a kid around the time of the Bicentennial (1976), a big deal was made about how the U.S. would have fully adopted the metric system by the year 2000. But, it still hasn't happened. Why not?

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9 Answers

Perchik's avatar

I also remember hearing about the flying cars we'd have in 2000. :D

I would like to know about the metric system though.

nemezide's avatar

A quote from Wikipedia:
"It has been adopted for everyday life by most nations through a process called metrication. As of 2006, 95% of the world's population live in metricated countries, although non-metric units are still used for some purposes in some countries. The holdouts to full metrication are the United States and, to a lesser degree, the United Kingdom, where there is public attachment to the traditional units."
full article:

Bigfish's avatar

Most elementary and middle schools still teach kids the standard American system of measurement as the default system. If the metric system is taught at all, it is only supplimentary. I teach high school science and do everything in my class strictly metric, but getting the students to use the metric system is like pulling teeth. Many of them don't understand the metric system at all, which means I have to take time to teach something that the average European second grader knows inside out and backwards. Anyway, my point is that it should be being taught starting in elementary school, but it's not.

Perchik's avatar

Its sad that it's not being taught because honestly...its easier than the current American system. But I think the government would have to do something to get the American system gone. As long as everyone keeps using inches feet miles, we won't go metric. (unless that is, it gets taught and used by teachers so the younger generation grows up on it and forces the rest of the country to accept it)..

Of course it could be because Americans would undoubtedly complain about it, and it'd be a total pain to switch. :-(

peggylou's avatar

Too much trouble to learn a new system--whether it's better or not! Change is NOT good!

glial's avatar

Let me drink my 2-liter Coke while I ponder this..

segdeha's avatar

Thanks for the great responses! This has been on my mind since moving to New Zealand a few months ago. I'm still getting used to temperatures in Celsius, speeds in kms/hour, etc. Makes me wish we'd gone through with the conversion when I was a kid!

fuse1921's avatar


gooch's avatar

it was! It is the official system of our government. Just people have yet to conform

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