Here’s another example of how society is being shaped by media headlines.
Here’s a graph which was posted in an article about Millennials (people born 1981-1996) using data from the Census Bureau.
The headline tells us “Young people are less likely to own a home than ever before. If we look at the purple line (Under 35) our eyes will notice the downward curve and agree with the headline. This headline appears to be true. But, as usual, there is a lot more to be learned from this graph.
Let’s examine this purple line a bit more:
- We can see the “ever before,” part of the statement is correct because the data point in 2015 is indeed the lowest data point. If we look at it a little further, we will see the difference between the highest (~42%) and lowest (~35%) is 7%. If we had 100 young people, 7 less would own their own home in 2015, than did in 2004. Is this really anything news worthy?
- This graph also shows us something else, there is generally a downward trend of under 35 year old’s owning their own home after a recession. The only time this is not true is after the 2002 recession. Which was followed by the highest number owning their own home. This would be something news worthy and worth looking into.
Let’s zoom out and look at the graph as a whole:
- If we look at the end of the graph, we can see that EVERY age group is less likely to own their own home than in the past few years. EVERY age group’s line is on a downward trend.
- Since we know every age group has the same trend, in order to see if there is anything significantly different in the Under 35 age group, we’d have to look at the difference between the highest and lowest of each group. When we do this we see ~3% in 65+; ~7% for 55-64; ~8% for 45-54; ~12% for 35-44; and ~6% for US as a whole. With this new information, we could say the number of young people who are less likely to won a home is right on trend with 45-64 age group as well as US over all trends. If any group needs to be reported on, it would be the 35-44 age group!
- This chart shows us two things, neither of which has any relation to the headline. It shows the 65+ age group is the only age group that ISN’t less likely to own a home than ever before! And the 35-44 age group has had the most significant drop in home owner ship over the last several years.
The only reason to take a headline at it’s face value is laziness or because it some how benefits your personal stance on something. If the headline ends up being false, then you are standing on falsehoods and lies. You have just been scammed. Is that really where you want to be?