Monday, September 11, 2006

More Fun with Statistics

Continuing a recurring theme, today's example of statistical ignorance comes from the New York Times. Via National Review's Window on the Week:

The Census bureau reported that, in 2005, 5.4 percent of Americans lived in extreme poverty, making less than 50 percent of a poverty-line income. In 2004, the percentage of Americans living in extreme poverty was the exact same 5.4 percent. The New York Times reports this news as a “sharp increase in those living in extreme poverty.” Translated from Times-speak, the point is that the proportion of poor people living in extreme poverty has gone up. In this case, that isn’t because deep poverty has increased; it’s because shallow poverty has decreased. Which, to clarify the Times’s report a bit more, is good news.



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