Statistically ignorant

Posted to Statistics  |  Tags: ,  |  Nathan Yau

Ipsos MORI, primarily a marketing research group I think, released results of their study on public perception of demographics versus reality, on numbers such as immigration, religion, and life expectancy. The key takeaway is that out of the people they polled from fourteen countries, the average person typically over- or underestimated — by a lot.

This grows to be an issue as officials form policies driven by public perception, which is a similar takeaway from the Gapminder Foundation’s Ignorance Project.

The Ipsos MORI study also provides an index of ignorance, placing Italy at the top and the United States at number two. (Interestingly, Sweden, where the Gapminder Foundation is based, is last on the list i.e. lowest ignorance.)

Before you go nuts, remember not to take these ranking estimates too literally. Even though 500 to 1,000 people were surveyed for each country, I’d be curious to hear more about the sampling methodology. Was each country’s sample really representative of the population?

I mean, based on the chart above, the average guess for immigration percentage in the United States is 32. So people thought a third of the country’s population is from somewhere else? That seems high to me. Or maybe I’m just ignorant about ignorance. [via The Guardian]

Favorites

Real Chart Rules to Follow

There are rules—usually for specific chart types meant to be read in a specific way—that you shouldn’t break. When they are, everyone loses. This is that small handful.

One Dataset, Visualized 25 Ways

“Let the data speak” they say. But what happens when the data rambles on and on?

Who is Older and Younger than You

Here’s a chart to show you how long you have until you start to feel your age.

10 Best Data Visualization Projects of 2015

These are my picks for the best of 2015. As usual, they could easily appear in a different order on a different day, and there are projects not on the list that were also excellent.