Heavy Lifting - thoughts and web finds by an economist
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Friday, March 04, 2005

Ridiculous statistic of the day...

In my email box this morning was this tidbit:
The average household in america has 2.3 frying pans.

I hate "statistics" of this type. It is likely true that the ratio of the number of frying pans in this country to the number of households in this country equals 2.3. However, the number is essentially worthless because we have an integer problem. It is impossible to have 1/3 of a frying pan. Unless people are sharing ownership rights of frying pans, i.e., leasing frying pans, renting frying pans, buying into timeshares of frying pans, then the household has two or three pans.

It is probably better to state that the average is 2 per household and leave it at that.

Similarly silly averages are 2.3 kids, 1.8 dogs, and such. Integer problems, especially in the case of kids or dogs, can be significant.

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