Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Andrew Sullivan links to the following story about the percentage of Americans under 5 that are non-white and notices something odd: the chart at the bottom shows only 4% of children under 5 are black. Sullivan seizes this datum and begins to fantasize about a country whose black population has been replaced by brown immigrants, kind of like Sullivan's home, Washington, D.C.
But it's just a freaking typo: the percentage of children under 5 who are black and who are Asian are obviously transposed. As the chart reads currently, there would be 3 million Asian-American children under 5 and only 800,000 black children under 5 - whereas there are 38 million black Americans and only 11 million Asian Americans in total. That would certainly be a story - a colossal Asian baby boom results in over 25% of all Asian-Americans being under 5 years old, while the black birth rate drops effectively to zero over the past 5 years! But it's just a typo: clearly, 4% of children under 5 are Asian, just like 4% of the population as a whole is Asian, and 15% of children under 5 are black, slightly above the 13% of the total population.
I guess Steven Levitt isn't the only one who needs to check the data now and again. If only these people would take a turn on a trading desk. They would lose a lot of money, and maybe learn something.