The People Behind The Statistics

We often hear stats and detach ourselves from their reality. Yesterday, I heard a podcaster make a great point about statistics and give them life. Today I’d like to look at that and expand on it.

“Life it is not just a series of calculations and a sum total of statistics, it’s about experience, it’s about participation, it is something more complex and more interesting than what is obvious.”

-Daniel Libeskind

Unemployment: The real hidden number here is twofold. You have to take into account the number of people who are either getting back into the labor market or leaving the market. Plus, you have to take into account the number of people finding jobs and losing jobs.

Housing Prices: This is often overlooked when talking about economic crashes. But, as we saw in 2008, the pricing of houses can be a huge deal to people. It’s often their biggest single investment, and the price of the house going way down can be the same as a bloodbath in the stock market.

Polls: I think the thing that is lost in the poll data most often is the human element. Computers aren’t being surveyed, but flesh and blood people. And, we don’t necessarily comply with or give the full truth to pollsters. There are also those who rally to give the pollsters too much.

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