10 Plagiarism Statistics You Have to See to Believe

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Since the early 2000s, the World Wide Web has made finding information much easier. Problem is, it’s also made copying and pasting information much more tempting as well.

Today, both academia and businesses face an epidemic of plagiarism.

The allure of copying instead of creating something original is everywhere. Worse than this, it’s often easier than creating your own work.

Plagiarism is a plague. It’s even an act of fraud. Students can be expelled from a course if they plagiarize content or do not reference authors properly.

Authors or business writers who plagiarize content can also face fines or legal repercussions, even if it’s “accidental plagiarism.”

We’re a content marketing agency that has clients paying us tens of thousands each month. The last thing we want is to accidentally plagiarize someone else’s work and get sued!

Whether you are worried about plagiarism as a parent, a business owner, or maybe you think you’re the victim of plagiarism, here are some interesting statistics that show the new reality we face.

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High School and College Plagiarism Statistics

Plagiarism is popular among high school and college students as they cheat.

1. A famous seven-year research study by Donald McCabe surveyed over 70,000 high school students at over 24 high schools in the United States.

According to the study, 64% of students confessed they were cheating on a test, 58% of them said they plagiarized content, and 95% admitted they somehow cheated.

2. A somewhat less formal study by CollegeHumor revealed that among 30,000 college students, 60.8% of them admitted cheating on their assignments. 16.5% of them didn’t even regret it. [2]

3. While the study may not have academic validity, the numbers line up closely with a questionnaire to Rutgers students. The results highlight that 68% of students confessed they had ‘broken the university’s explicit anti-cheating rules’ through plagiarism. [2]

Student Attitudes Towards Plagiarism are Changing

Most students are unaware of the consequences of plagiarism. They use plagiarism as a strategy to get good grades and pass their exam terms.

4. The reason that many students end up plagiarising their work is that 85% of them think cheating is essential. Even college students who don’t cheat imagine that plagiarism can help them score better grades, internships, scholarships, and awards.

A better alternative would be to improve your writing skills and learn from the best teachers online by watching MasterClass greats.

Students Think Plagiarism is Essential

According to a U.S. News and World Report survey, 90% of students polled didn’t believe they would get caught or punished for plagiarism and cheating on other’s work. [3]

5. The rise of fake term papers (either from a mill or a website) has affected as much as 15% of the students in the university system. [4]

Students Attitudes Towards Plagiarism is Changing

Academic ghostwriting in on the rise among graduates and college students.

6. As many as one in seven recent graduates may employed ghostwriters to complete assignments. This means a potential 31 million students across the world have engaged in plagiarism. [5]

7. In one study of 1,800 college students, Professor Donald McCabe stated that “ 84% cheated on written assignments and 52% plagiarized one or more sentences for a paper.” [6]

8. When asked if, ‘is buying a pre-written paper online is a form of plagiarism?’ 13% of students were either not sure, and 9% stated that it’s not a form of plagiarism. [6]

The World’s Most Plagiarised Websites

The information over the Internet overuse plagiarized content, among them Wikipedia or Yahoo Answers.

9. The explosion of information online is adding to the easy ability to plagiarise. The Top 3 Most Plagiarised Websites are Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers and Answers.com. [7]

10. When it comes to content plagiarism and content theft, the numbers are also quite staggering. Google received more than 75 million copyright takedown requests in 2016. These takedown requests covered a variety of content besides writing, including music, images, and movies. [8]

Plagiarism Statistics Conclusion

Plagiarism is everywhere.

Academic plagiarism exists among college students and graduates. Plagiarized content circulates over the Internet. There’s one way to stop it: by writing unique and original content or referencing other’s work.

Using plagiarism detection software — like Grammarly — and referring to an honesty policy should prevent students or business writers from plagiarizing content.


[1] https://academicintegrity.org/statistics/
[2] https://oedb.org/ilibrarian/8-astonishing-stats-on-academic-cheating/
[3] https://oedb.org/ilibrarian/8-astonishing-stats-on-academic-cheating/
[4] https://www.easybib.com/guides/10-facts-about-students-and-plagiarism/
[5] https://www.swansea.ac.uk/press-office/latest-research/lateststudyrevealssharpriseinessaycheatinggloballywithmillionsofstudentsinvolved.php
[6] https://oedb.org/ilibrarian/8-astonishing-stats-on-academic-cheating/
[7] https://www.allenschool.edu/blog/top-8-most-plagiarized-sites/
[8] https://www.theverge.com/2016/3/7/11172516/google-takedown-requests-75-million

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