Top 10 Reasons the United States Should Use the Metric System (or SI)

1) It’s the system 95 percent of the world uses
(It’s not standard in the U.S.,  Burma, and Liberia)
2) It’s easier to make conversions
(You just move the decimal point right and left)
3) Teaching two measurement systems to children is confusing
4) It’s the language of science
5) It’s the language of medicine
6) Human conversion errors are inevitable
(We lost a Mars orbiter that way and pharmacy mistakes are common)
7) It’s the language of international commerce
8) Many hobbies and sports use the metric system
9) Its use is necessary for travel outside of the United States
10) So we look less foolish and ignorant to the rest of the world
And a few more for good “measure..”

11) Less clutter since you don’t need liquid and dry measuring cups and teaspoons and tablespoons
(Just a scale and liquid measuring cups)
12)  It’s much easier to conceptualize 1 gram verses 1/28th of an ounce or 1 milliliter verses 1/29 of a liquid ounce (rounded measures)
13) There are fewer measures to learn. Most people will use meters, liters, and grams verses more than 10 for liquid and dry measures alone
14) It was designed to be easy to learn and use
(In 1790s Europe the literacy rate was around 60 percent)

[This post was updated on 10/6/12 to reflect more accurate information.]

15 thoughts on “Top 10 Reasons the United States Should Use the Metric System (or SI)

    • My understanding is that every country, including the United States, has “officially” adopted the metric system. The problem comes with “adopting” verses “using.” According to a presentation I have from the National Institute for Standards and Technology, that three countries haven’t adopted is a metric myth: every country has.

      The link you included links to another source that says:

      “At a meeting on the development of wholesale centres held in Magwe last month, participants agreed in principle to the government’s proposal to adopt the kilogram as the basic unit for commodities trade in all townships.” and

      “Despite agreeing to consider the proposal, traders who participated in the meeting told The Myanmar Times afterwards they thought there was little chance of it being implemented in the near future.”

      That’s kind of where the United States has been for the past 200+ years and look where we are today.

      Still, I’ll do some checking around in case something has changed.

      Thanks for wanting to keep me honest.

  1. Maybe you can add some of these reasons to your list.

    Why is the metric system easier than USC? The most frequently given answers include:
    1…Because Metric is simple and consistent. There is only one meter and one kilometer and one liter..Unlike the mile (3 miles, international mile, US Survey mile, nautical mile.) and two gallons (Imperial gallon and US gallon) Metric is simple and less confusing, fewer errors, less cost.
    2…Because it dramatically reduces conversion factors in calculations. Less time doing calculations, fewer errors, less wastage in material and time, less cost.
    3…Because Metric prefix’s enable whole numbers only. Avoiding decimal fractions and missinteruptation and errors.
    4…Because Metric offers units from very large to very small.
    5…Because Metric dimensions are easier to divide by three.
    6…Because it has links between related measurements.
    7…Because it uses logical symbols.
    8..Because it is the only properly maintained system.
    9..Because practically everyone uses it. For more than 95% of the world population, the Metric system is the customary system of units, and for more than half of the industrialized world, it has been for at least a century.

    Regards from ..wjong..

  2. We just don’t have the time or interest in converting everything over to an entirely new set of measurements just because the cool kids are doing it. Inches, feet, miles, etc, those are the measurements we use, and it’s always worked just fine for us 300+ million people. Like the term “soccer”, the rest of the world just has to accept that we don’t simply cave into everything just because of “Well, that’s how WE do it over here”. We’re happy with our method of measurements, just like I’m sure you’re happy with yours, thanks you for all of your concerns but we respectfully decline it’s use. We may have supposedly “officially” adopted the metric system, but that’s just window dressing. Not one person here uses it and probably never will.

    • Thank you for taking time to express your opinions. I appreciate that we don’t agree and won’t try to convince you otherwise. However, I think it’s interesting that you use “we” so much in your comments. If by “we” you mean Americans, then I am part of that “we” (was born here and have never lived anywhere else) and I don’t agree with your assertions. I would also propose that if you research a little more you may realize that your statement that no one uses the metric system in this country is incorrect. It is the language of science, medicine and international trade everywhere, including in the U.S. I agree that if we use “football” instead of “soccer” no real harm is done. However, if we lose a multi-million dollar spacecraft and people are poisoned due to medicine and other conversion errors, that makes it more than a problem of semantics. I could go on but I’ll leave it at that. Having responded, I defend your right to disagree with me.

    • “If ignorance is bliss.. then why aren’t more people happy?”
      I’m guessing you don’t use calculations much or else you would know how easier it is to use the metric system. (If you even know the metric system, or the Imperial honestly). Also, by worked fine, you mean managed to get along with it? It has been a problem and still has been with regulations to other countries. Science is major, and U.S. will convert. I just hope soon.

  3. OMG, just trying to convert my recipe for 7200′ again today. So hard to figure out 9% of 1/4 (2 liquid oz?) cup to reduce the amount of oil in the banana bread. Can we not just use ml?!
    The math is not just more tedious for conversions, just the manipulating of the units themselves is a major math headache that would disappear.
    Switching to metric would not solve all my baking-at-altitude problems, I still have to increase the eggs by 15%…. (my current solution is to use extra large eggs)

    • One cup of flour is 250 grams. If I use 90 grams and you have to convert it in cups and measure it, good luck with that. If I get a recipe that asks for 1/4 cups, it will take me 10 seconds to figure out how many grams that is and my scale can measure the exact number of grams. Conversion is only a problem for people that use non-metric systems.

  4. Pingback: Pharmaceutical Prescriptions, the Metric System and Your Safety |

  5. I believe that everybody in the world should adopt whatever system the Americans have. It would be easier for everybody else to just change than to try to reason with them. They are retarded and stubborn and will fight it every step of the way. I don’t mind using pounds. If they mind using grams, fine, I will change, but let’s just make it the same everywhere because I am so tired of every single recipe page to have a comment like “how many cups is 100 grams, why can’t you use normal English”.

    • To be fair, it’s the Americans’ fault for being so damn stubborn and stupidly nationalistic that they won’t give up the standard system, just for the sake of being the hipster of units in the world.
      There’s so many reasons to use metric instead of standard as explained in the post, but people like you disagree for no good reason, proudly declaring that every country in the world should be like America with all its flaws as well.

      And this is coming from an American too, mind you.

  6. The fundamental issue is that it’s easier to calculate in decimals vs. fractions. Can you do 13 1/4″ + 6 13/16″ – 9 5/8″ faster than 12.4mm + 56.9 mm – 22.6 mmm? Not only that can you tell me how many cubic feet are in 73 cubic yard without a calculator?

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