In our Business Statistics MBAG 8541A course, we have been discussing one of the key aspects of descriptive statistics reporting encountered in media, business and official releases: the role that multiple statistics reported on the same subject can have in driving false or misleading interpretation of the underlying environment.
While publishing various metrics for similar / adjoining data is generally fine (in fact, it is a better practice for statistical releases), it is down to the media and analysts to choose which numbers are better suited to describe specific phenomena.
In a recent case, reporting of a range of metrics for U.S. median incomes for 2015 has produced quite a confusion.
Here are some links that explain:
- http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/ analysis of the data: http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/deconstructing-median-income-bs/
- Charles Hugh Sith's analysis of the same set from a similar angle: http://charleshughsmith.blogspot.com/2016/09/fun-with-fake-statistics-5-increase-in.html
- Confirming the above, WallStreetExaminer.com: http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2016/09/chart-day-5-2-household-income-gain-vs-reality/ and a the same with links to original release of data: http://wallstreetexaminer.com/2016/09/median-household-income-rose-5-2-yeah-thats-ticket/
- The above are contrasted by the NYTimes coverage: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/14/business/economy/us-census-household-income-poverty-wealth-2015.html?_r=0 and Bloomberg view: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-13/u-s-poverty-rate-falls-to-post-recession-low-as-incomes-gain