On Durham and identity
ron at fuzzsonic.com
Thu Apr 5 18:10:33 EDT 2007
betsyshane at gmail.com wrote:
> But that census info really threw me...the median income in Durham is
> higher than elsewhere, so does the money thing still hold up? I guess
> that's a whole other investigation; why is Durham real estate so
> damned cheap?
don't read too much into a median income number. it tells you very
little about the distribution of incomes, only that half the incomes are
higher than that number and half are lesser.
it helps to think in graphical terms, x axis being income and y being
number of folks at that income level. you could be looking at a lot of
shapes to the data, but consider two options: a bell curve with the
median right at the peak, or you could be looking at a big trough with
the median at the bottom. each case would have the same median, but a
very different distribution of incomes.
For the trough example, you'd have a lot of poor folks, a lot of rich
folks and relatively few in between. i wouldn't argue without facts
that Durham has a trough distribution, but it probably does have a
different distribution than some of the other cities in the area.
the takeaway here is that you go at your own peril if you try to read
too much into a simple statistic like median income.
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