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9/09/2007

How to play with statistics?

Singapore residents by Age Group: 0-4 yr 196 K 5-9 yr 239.3 K 10-14 yr 263.6 K 15-19 yr 238.1 K 20-24 yr 222.4 K 25-29 yr 253.7 K 30-34 yr 303.6 K 35-39 yr 310.1 K 40-44 yr 331.2 K 45-49 yr 314.5 K 50-54 yr 260.5 K 55-59 yr 202.8 K 60-64 yr 120.8 K 65-69 yr 104.3 K 70-74 yr 79.7 K 75-79 yr 56.2 K 80-84 yr 30.9 K 85 & abv 25.8 K What do these figures tell us? There are many ways to read statistics. One can read it funnily, creatively, seriously, or to read it just to serve one's own perspective and declare, 'Eureka! the statistics support my case.' Look at the above statistics once again. Look at the age group from 30-49 and you will find the numbers are fairly constant. This means that most of them are well and kicking. Not dying. When they hit 50-54, there is an immediate drop of 54K. Looks like they started to die from 50 onwards. 55-59, another drop of 58K. And 60-64 another big drop of 78K. The bulk of the people dying are within the age group of 50-64. A decrease of 190K. Then comes a lull. The 65-69 groups seems to die lesser, only 16K. This is the safest group. The next big drop is the 70-74 group. Though the number is only 25K, it is actually 25% or 1 in 4 will die in this group. By then the survivors have dropped to only 79.7K. And the dying gets smaller but percentage wise gets bigger. Once hitting 75-79, 1 in 2 will die. The above 85 figure is a distortion as it includes everyone above that age. Oh, the babyboomers should be in the 55-64 groups. But their numbers indicate that many have already died. Isn't this a nice way of looking at numbers?

4 comments:

Matilah_Singapura said...

Why is it easy to bamboozle people—especially the public with stats?

Its because most people are bad in math, and most math teachers are employed by the state, and thus for all intents and purposes—useless for learning how stuff like STATISTICS work.

By the way you've made your case abouts stats, you could be a "victim" of lousy, sub-standard, MOE-designed education. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Actually quite meaningless unless you know the actual number of births in each particular age group. Here in Singapore there are periods of high births and periods of low births corresponding to or depending on the ongoing campaign. The Government at times have been discouring and at other times encouraging people from having more or less children. Interpret the figures in your own way.

redbean said...

that's true. this is just a creative way of looking at data without attempting to know the details.

it is just like claiming a survey with 90% for without looking at how the data were derived.

Anonymous said...

By the way you've made your case abouts stats, you could be a "victim" of lousy, sub-standard, MOE-designed education. ;-)

U are fooked, reddie! ;-P