Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New York Times math: a growth of 275% is 'more than doubled'

Check out this headline from today's New York Times, reporting on the fact that the top 1% of the US population has seen their income grow by 275% between 1979 and 2007, according to a study by the CBO.

And then check out this one, from today's Huffington Post, reporting on the exact same study.

Which do you think is correct? A growth of 275% is more "nearly tripled" than it is "doubled," no? Is the Times trying to tamp down our anger? (The income of poorest fifth of the population rose only 18% during the same period, while the rise of the three-fifths of people in the middle of the income scale was just under 40 %.) Is the Times unconsciously biased in favor of the 1%, who own the paper?


Birdseed said...

Both are wrong. A growth of 275% is "nearly quadrupled". (A growth of 100% is doubled, and so on.)

Birdseed said...

Actually, reading the New York Times article, it is MORE correct - it measures the SHARE of the national income earned by the top 1%, which rose from 8% to 17% - a growth of 113%, which is fair to describe as "more than doubled".

Now, you may think this is the wrong statistic, but...