Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Not So Fast

Media is trumpeting the census bureau's release of statistics that say "median household income" jumped dramatically last year, 5.2 percent, putting it almost back where it was before the recession began. Median means half are below and half are above. Household means all incomes in the household combined. It's doesn't say what each income did. These statistics have to be gone over more closely than the media has done so far. If a wife, or a college student living at home, hadn't been working and was forced to get a minimum wage job, that would hike the family income significantly, more than 5.2 percent.

Near the bottom of the USA Today report on the statistics, we probably get a little better idea of what's going on.

"Median earnings for men rose 1.5% to $51,212, while women's earnings rose 2.7% to $40,742.

So a little less than the inflation rate for men, a little more for women. And those new women entering the workforce would account for the female increase. Just wait. Not to always be the harbinger of bad news, but more is coming on this.


  1. Statistics..... I barely passed my class I took at the University of Montana, I think it was a charity passing grade on the part of the professor. However, having said that, I did learn that there are numerous ways of "tweaking" the numbers and/or populations being worked on to get results that seem acceptable. Statistics are the most misunderstood numbers. The great majority of us cannot make heads or tails of them but we do seem to allow folks to manipulate us with them.

  2. My vague recollection of that college stats class tells me that medians are highly suspect right up there with correlation co-efficients...:)