Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mathematical Illiteracy in the AP

From an article on this document from ERS:

50 percent more US children went hungry in 2007

Some 691,000 children went hungry in America sometime in 2007, while close to one in eight Americans struggled to feed themselves adequately even before this year's sharp economic downtown, the Agriculture Department reported Monday.

The department's annual report on food security showed that during 2007 the number of children who suffered a substantial disruption in the amount of food they typically eat was more than double the 430,000 in 2006 and the largest figure since 716,000 in 1998.

Note the headline is accurate, but the writer is not (i.e 691,000 is not double the 430,000). When you look at the ERS study, the 2005 figure for children was close to the 2007, making me suspicious of the accuracy of the 2006 figure. In general, the ERS study doesn't indicate dramatic changes in "food insecurity".

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