“Figures don’t Lie, but Liars Figure”

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 5th, 2014

Week in Review

There’s an old saying by Mark Twain that goes like this.  “Figures don’t Lie, but Liars Figure.”  Which basically means you can make statistical figures say anything you want them to say.  For example, here are two statistics that make it sound like black fathers are better parents than white fathers (see Harper’s Index posted April of 2014 pm Harpers Magazine).

Percentage of white live-in fathers who help their children with their homework daily : 28

Of black live-in fathers who do : 41

Almost half of all live-in black fathers help their children with their homework.  While only 28% of white live-in fathers do.  So black fathers are better parents than white fathers.  At least, these statistics would seem to say so.  But it’s what these statistics don’t say that will change the conclusion these two statistics appear to make.

First of all, children who receive more help with their homework will do better in school.  For their children will be doing their homework if their dad is there helping them.  So the homework is getting done.  And if children have trouble understanding something their dad is their clarifying and explaining things.  So these children are going to do better in school.  And a larger percentage of them will graduate from high school.  As students who work hard and do their homework are more likely to graduate than those who don’t.  So, do the statistics for high school graduation rates show that black live-in fathers are doing a better job helping their kids with their homework?  No.  According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics (see National public high school graduation rate at a four-decade high by Lyndsey Layton posted 1/22/2013 on The Washington Post), high school graduation rates were 83% for whites and 66.1% for blacks.

Learning abilities are the same for both blacks and whites.  So you can’t say that whites are smarter than blacks.  So is there something else that can explain the difference in graduation rates?  Yes.  The inability to make kids do their homework.  For if they’re not doing their homework they’re not progressing through high school.  And many just drop out.  But according to the statistics more black live-in fathers are helping their kids with their homework than white live-in fathers.  So how is it that blacks have a lower high school graduation rate?  Because of something the statistics don’t show.

According to Census data (see Social and Economic Characteristics of Currently Unmarried Women With a Recent Birth: 2011 posted on census.gov), the percent of out-of-wedlock births was 29.2% for whites and 67.8% for blacks.  Less than a third of white children are born out-of-wedlock.  While just over two-thirds of black children are born out-of-wedlock.  To single mothers who struggle to both work and raise their children.  Leaving them little time to help them with their homework. And because these mothers are single and working their children may be home alone.  And more likely to get into trouble.  Not do their homework.  And drop out of school.

So the higher rate of children born out-of-wedlock would explain the lower high school graduation rates for black children.  While the percentage of black live-in fathers helping their children is skewed.  For it’s only 41% of the 32.2% (100% – 67.8%) of black fathers who stayed in the home to help raise their children.  While it’s 28% of the larger 70.8% (100% – 29.2%) of white fathers who stayed home to help raise their children.  (Assuming born in-wedlock means the same as live-in father.  Of course a child could be born in-wedlock only to see his parents divorce later making his or her mother a single mother.  However, with child support and alimony payments a percentage of these single mothers would not have to work and thus be able to spend more time with their child.  So a divorced mother probably would not have to struggle as much a single mother who was never married.  Especially if the divorced parents are older when they start their families and the husband has an established career providing the financial resources that allows the divorced mother to stay at home with the children).

Crunching these numbers for 1,000 fathers you get about 131 black fathers and 779 white fathers (blacks are approximately 13.1% of the population and whites are approximately 77.9%).  Of these 131 black fathers about 42 (32.2%) are live-in.  And of these 779 white fathers about 552 (70.8%) are live-in.  Bringing us to approximately 17 (41%) black live-in fathers who help their children with their homework.  And approximately 154 (28%) white fathers who help their children with their homework.

So, if you look at the total number of live-in fathers helping their children with their homework (17 and 154) the number of white live-in fathers doing so is approximately 793% greater than black live-in fathers.  Or for every black live-in father helping his child with his or her homework there are about 9 white live-in fathers helping their children.  Which sounds like white fathers are spending more time helping their children with their homework.  Which they are because there are more white fathers than black fathers.  In a random sample of 1000 fathers there would be approximately 6 white fathers for every black father.  Based on the demographics of the population.

So we have looked at statistics in numerous ways.  Proving once again that “figures don’t lie, but liars figure.”  Or that you can make statistics say anything you want them to say.  So you should always be suspect when people use statistics to support their argument.  Because there is a lot of interpretation the number crunchers make with the data.  A lot of assumptions.  And are often a selective and subjective in their use of the data.  Especially when it’s the government uses those statistics to justify new spending, new taxes, new regulations, etc.  Because these are the people who truly figure with the numbers.  They did it in the days of Mark Twain.  And they still do it today.

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High School Graduation Rates, Out-of-Wedlock Births and Median Family Income

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 3rd, 2014

 Politics 101

(Originally published July 25th, 2013)

Colleges use Affirmative Action to Increase Diversity because only 66.1% of Blacks Graduate from High School

Interest rates recently went up for student loans.  Something that greatly angered the left.  Blaming the Republicans for playing politics with our children’s future.  For a college education is the pathway to a good, high-paying job.  A college education is so critical to a person’s future success that everyone should have access to a low-cost student loan.  And because a college education is so important this should not be a privilege of the rich.  Or whites.  Colleges should use affirmative action to ensure a diversity of students.  Because our differences, they say, make us better.

Yes, a college degree is important.  And the data backs this up.  The median family income in 2009 for someone with a bachelor’s degree was $90,530 (see Table 698. Money Income of Families—Distribution by Family Characteristics and Income Level: 2009 posted on census.gov).  Those with only a high school diploma earned $48,637.  While those who didn’t graduate from high school only earned $31,119.  So clearly a college degree is the pathway to a good, high-paying job.  Of course, to get that college degree you first have to enroll into college.  And to do that you need to graduate from high school.  So graduating from high school, then, is the gateway to those good, high-paying jobs.  Which, as it turns out, is the reason we need affirmative action to ensure that diversity of students.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (see National public high school graduation rate at a four-decade high by Lyndsey Layton posted 1/22/2013 on The Washington Post), not everyone is graduating from high school at the same rate.  Looking at the breakout for three races we find that Asians are graduating 93% of the time.  Whites are graduating 83% of the time.  While blacks are graduating only 66.1% of the time.  Which explains the need of affirmative action admission policies to achieve diversity at our colleges and universities.  For when blacks are only 13% of the population and only 66.1% of them are graduating from high school you’re not going to get a lot of diversity without affirmative action.

Married People with College Degrees have Higher Median Family Incomes than Unmarried High School Dropouts

Going back to the Census data we can see a correlation between these high school graduation rates and median family income.  Those with the highest graduation rate (Asians) earned $75,027.  Those with the next highest graduation rate (whites) earned $62,545.  While those with the lowest graduation rate (blacks) earned $38,409.  Which clearly shows that high school graduates earn more than high school dropouts.  And because Asians and whites have higher high school graduation rates than blacks they have higher median family incomes than blacks.

So we know that to earn a decent income you need a college degree.  And to get that you need a high school diploma.  But is there anything else that has a big influence on a family’s median income?  As it turns out, yes.  Going back to the Census data we see that a family with a married couple earned $71,627.  A male householder with no spouse present earned $41,501.  While a female householder with no spouse present earned only $29,770.

If you want to earn a lot of money, then, the way is clear.  Graduate from high school.  Go on to college and earn a degree.  Then settle down.  Get married.  And raise a family.  A common thread at every stage of this pathway is personal discipline.  Staying in and studying instead of going out and partying.  And once you start working start a family.  For the heavy responsibility of raising children keeps people from staying up late and partying with friends.  Get’s them to work on time in the morning.  And drives them to advance in their careers to provide more for their families.  Things employers like in employees.  Making it easier for these people to climb the career ladder.

The People with the Highest Median Family Income also have the Lowest Out-of-Wedlock Births

A child growing up in a household with a married couple where at least one has a college degree will probably learn the values of his or her parents.  To work hard.  Exercise self-discipline.  And work towards a long-term goal.  Don’t take the easy way.  Don’t take the fun way.  Make sacrifices now that will help you attain your long-term goals.  And it starts with studying and doing your homework.  For a high school diploma is only the first bridge to cross of many to come.  And if you don’t get across that first bridge you will advance no further down the road towards a good, high-paying job.

The family structure, then, is key.  A child needs to learn the values that will let him or her exceed in life.  And a married couple provides twice the parenting of a single-parent household.  And doubles the earnings potential.  By allowing one parent to pursue a full-time career.  Which leads to greater income.  Without having to sacrifice parenting time.  Or risk burning out from trying to do everything alone.  And the numbers prove this.  According to Census data (see Social and Economic Characteristics of Currently Unmarried Women With a Recent Birth: 2011 posted on census.gov), the number of children being born out-of-wedlock differ greatly across the above three racial groups.  Asians have the lowest out-of-wedlock births at 11.3%.  While whites come in at 29.2%.  And blacks come in at 67.8%.

The people with the highest median family income also have the lowest out-of-wedlock births.  Confirming that the path towards a high-paying job is a high school diploma.  A college education.  Being careful NOT to have any children until you’re married.  And after you graduate from college and establish a career get married and raise a family.  In other words, personal discipline.  Sacrificing short-term fun.  For long-term success.  Suggesting the reason why blacks earn a lower family median income than most is because of their high out-of-wedlock birthrate.  Young black women having children before they graduate from high school.  Which prevents them from crossing that first bridge on the road towards a good, high-paying job.  Making her life more difficult.  And giving her children a distinct disadvantage.  At least, based on the Census data.

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Strong families steeped in Conservative Values and Traditions do Well in America

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 11th, 2014

Week in Review

The Washington Post published an article on 1/22/2013 noting the difference in graduation rates among racial groups.  The graduation rates for Asians, whites and blacks were 93%, 83% and 66.1%, respectively.  Census data (for 2010) shows the impact of this on median family income.  The median family income for people with bachelor’s degrees, a high school diploma only and those who didn’t graduate high school was $90,530, $48,637 and $31,119, respectively.  The median family income for Asians, whites and blacks was $75,027, $62,545 and $38,409, respectively.  And the median family income for a family with a married couple, a male householder with no spouse and a female householder with no spouse was $71,627, $41,501 and $29,770, respectively.  The census data also notes the number of out-of-wedlock births for Asians, whites and blacks as 11.3%, 29.2% and 67.8%, respectively (see High School Graduation Rates, Out-of-Wedlock Births and Median Family Income posted 7/25/2013 on PITHOCRATES for source data).

The people with the highest median family income also have the lowest out-of-wedlock births.  Confirming that the path towards a high-paying job is a high school diploma.  A college education.  Being careful NOT to have any children until you’re married.  And after you graduate from college and establish a career get married and raise a family.

According to the data people who follow this general path through life will do better than those who don’t.  And it all starts with the family.  The stronger the family the greater the success.  The greater the number of out-of-wedlock births the lesser the success.  Which is why very religious people do so well.  Immigrants.  And the immigrant communities they make for future American-born generations.

Immigrants have little but family when they arrive in a strange new world.  And the extended family they find in their immigrant communities. As they become Americans they find comfort in their family and the culture and traditions of the world they left.  As they work hard to fulfill their American dream.  And because they work so hard, put family first and make sure their children do well in school they tend to do very well in life (see Tiger Mom’s New Book Stirs Up Culture Wars by Beth Greenfield posted 1/6/2014 on Yahoo! Shine).

But the reality, notes the book, co-written by Chua’s husband and fellow Yale professor Jed Rubenfeld, is that “uncomfortable as it may be to talk about,” some “religious, ethnic, and national-origin groups are starkly more successful than others.” Those groups, according to the authors, are Mormons, Cuban exiles, Nigerian Americans, Indian Americans, Chinese Americans, American Jews, Iranian Americans and Lebanese Americans. And the reasons they excel, the book declares, is because of a basic “triple package” formula: a superiority complex, insecurity, and impulse control.

A Publishers Weekly review calls the book a “comprehensive, lucid psychological study,” which balances its findings with the downsides of the “triple package.” And the authors address cultural stereotyping early on in the book, explaining, “Throughout this book, we will never make a statement about any group’s economic performance or predominant cultural attitudes unless it is backed up by solid evidence, whether empirical, historical, or sociological. But when there are differences between groups, we will come out and say so.” They add, “Group generalizations turn into invidious stereotypes when they’re false, hateful, or assumed to be true of every group member. No group and no culture is monolithic…”

Many on Twitter, meanwhile, have responded angrily to early coverage of the book.

Some choice phrases on Twitter: “racist,” “awful,” “racist psychopath,” “idiot,” “nonsense,” “race baiting clap trap” and, finally, from the political organization MOMocrats, “Amy Chua trolls us all for college tuition for child number two/book number two. YAWN.”

There may be something to the “triple package.”  I don’t know about the superiority complex.  But I’ll buy the insecurity and impulse control.  As they do tie into hard work (as they may feel they have to work harder to equal their peers who are in a familiar world and know more about that world).  And making short-term sacrifices for long-term goals.  Such as saving your money to buy a house to raise your family in.  And then sacrificing personal consumption to plan for the future.  A college education for your kids.  And retirement for Mom and Dad.

The reason these people do so well has less to do with genes than having the personal philosophy that made America great.  Strong family.  And conservative values and traditions.  They’re not super races.  They just embody the best of America.

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Liberal Democrats’ War on the Black Family keeps Blacks Poor and Dependent on Government

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 12th, 2013

Week in Review

The surge of liberalism during LBJ’s Great Society marked the decline of the black family.  Following the Sexual Revolution encouraging women to explore and enjoy their sexuality young women did.  And a lot of them got pregnant.  Which is when the Great Society stepped in and took care of these single mothers.  With Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).  And grouping them together in crime-ridden public housing.  Telling the fathers don’t worry about your babies.  We’ll take care of them.  So many boys grew up without fathers in crime-ridden public housing with other boys growing up without fathers in the same crime-ridden public housing.  Boys who got into trouble.  And took that trouble to school.   Creating broken families.  And broken schools.  In the inner city.  Which was predominantly black.  Causing the Great Society to hurt poor black families more than other poor families.

Kids attending broken schools do not get a good education.  And kids from families broken by liberal Democrat policies do not do their homework.  Hurting their earning potential.  And keeping them dependent on the government.  Once a kid starts down this path it will be very difficult to leave it.  For once you let your English and math skills fall behind others your age you just won’t achieve what they will (see Children’s future earnings predicted from age nine by Nick Collins posted 10/7/2013 on The Telegraph).

Future earnings of children can already be predicted by the time they are nine simply by looking at English and Maths scores, according to a new study…

A mathematician from Harvard University found that children’s grades in English and Maths could help predict their likelihood of going to University at age 20, and their average earnings at 28…

Prof Gary Chamberlain analysed hundreds of records from thousands of classrooms across 866 schools in Tennessee, which dated from the school years 1988-89 to 2008-09.

The data proves this (see Only 5% of Black Students Graduate High School Ready for College based on ACT Scores posted 8/24/2013 on Pithocrates).  Those with the highest number of out-of-wedlock births (blacks) have the lowest high school graduation rate, the lowest ACT scores and the lowest median family income.  While those with the lowest number of out-of-wedlock births (Asians) have the highest high school graduation rate, the highest ACT scores and the highest median family income.

Family matters.  And those who study hard, go to college, establish a career, get married THEN have their children do better than those who party more than study while in school.  And kids with a single parent are at a great disadvantage as they have only half the parenting available to get them to do their homework.  As well as to discipline them and to instill a work ethic.  Doing homework isn’t fun.  But if they don’t do their English and math homework they just won’t have as successful a career as others who do their homework will.

The reason why black families continue to struggle after 40 years of Great Society programs that were to fix everything that was wrong is that the left exploits them to win elections.  With liberals accounting for only about 21% of the electorate they have to put together coalitions of voting blocks.  And with blacks about 13% of the population that’s a nice voting block to take for granted.  All the left has to do is to keep destroying the black family and convince them that they can’t get by without their liberal programs.  Which isn’t that hard to do when the liberals control our public schools.  Where they even pass out free birth control.  And provide access to abortions without parental notification.  Destroying the family anyway they can.  And replacing the family with government.  Just like they did with AFDC and that crime-ridden public housing.

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High School Graduation Rates, Out-of-Wedlock Births and Median Family Income

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 25th, 2013

Politics 101

Colleges use Affirmative Action to Increase Diversity because only 66.1% of Blacks Graduate from High School

Interest rates recently went up for student loans.  Something that greatly angered the left.  Blaming the Republicans for playing politics with our children’s future.  For a college education is the pathway to a good, high-paying job.  A college education is so critical to a person’s future success that everyone should have access to a low-cost student loan.  And because a college education is so important this should not be a privilege of the rich.  Or whites.  Colleges should use affirmative action to ensure a diversity of students.  Because our differences, they say, make us better.

Yes, a college degree is important.  And the data backs this up.  The median family income in 2009 for someone with a bachelor’s degree was $90,530 (see Table 698. Money Income of Families—Distribution by Family Characteristics and Income Level: 2009 posted on census.gov).  Those with only a high school diploma earned $48,637.  While those who didn’t graduate from high school only earned $31,119.  So clearly a college degree is the pathway to a good, high-paying job.  Of course, to get that college degree you first have to enroll into college.  And to do that you need to graduate from high school.  So graduating from high school, then, is the gateway to those good, high-paying jobs.  Which, as it turns out, is the reason we need affirmative action to ensure that diversity of students.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (see National public high school graduation rate at a four-decade high by Lyndsey Layton posted 1/22/2013 on The Washington Post), not everyone is graduating from high school at the same rate.  Looking at the breakout for three races we find that Asians are graduating 93% of the time.  Whites are graduating 83% of the time.  While blacks are graduating only 66.1% of the time.  Which explains the need of affirmative action admission policies to achieve diversity at our colleges and universities.  For when blacks are only 13% of the population and only 66.1% of them are graduating from high school you’re not going to get a lot of diversity without affirmative action.

Married People with College Degrees have Higher Median Family Incomes than Unmarried High School Dropouts

Going back to the Census data we can see a correlation between these high school graduation rates and median family income.  Those with the highest graduation rate (Asians) earned $75,027.  Those with the next highest graduation rate (whites) earned $62,545.  While those with the lowest graduation rate (blacks) earned $38,409.  Which clearly shows that high school graduates earn more than high school dropouts.  And because Asians and whites have higher high school graduation rates than blacks they have higher median family incomes than blacks.

So we know that to earn a decent income you need a college degree.  And to get that you need a high school diploma.  But is there anything else that has a big influence on a family’s median income?  As it turns out, yes.  Going back to the Census data we see that a family with a married couple earned $71,627.  A male householder with no spouse present earned $41,501.  While a female householder with no spouse present earned only $29,770.

If you want to earn a lot of money, then, the way is clear.  Graduate from high school.  Go on to college and earn a degree.  Then settle down.  Get married.  And raise a family.  A common thread at every stage of this pathway is personal discipline.  Staying in and studying instead of going out and partying.  And once you start working start a family.  For the heavy responsibility of raising children keeps people from staying up late and partying with friends.  Get’s them to work on time in the morning.  And drives them to advance in their careers to provide more for their families.  Things employers like in employees.  Making it easier for these people to climb the career ladder.

The People with the Highest Median Family Income also have the Lowest Out-of-Wedlock Births

A child growing up in a household with a married couple where at least one has a college degree will probably learn the values of his or her parents.  To work hard.  Exercise self-discipline.  And work towards a long-term goal.  Don’t take the easy way.  Don’t take the fun way.  Make sacrifices now that will help you attain your long-term goals.  And it starts with studying and doing your homework.  For a high school diploma is only the first bridge to cross of many to come.  And if you don’t get across that first bridge you will advance no further down the road towards a good, high-paying job.

The family structure, then, is key.  A child needs to learn the values that will let him or her exceed in life.  And a married couple provides twice the parenting of a single-parent household.  And doubles the earnings potential.  By allowing one parent to pursue a full-time career.  Which leads to greater income.  Without having to sacrifice parenting time.  Or risk burning out from trying to do everything alone.  And the numbers prove this.  According to Census data (see Social and Economic Characteristics of Currently Unmarried Women With a Recent Birth: 2011 posted on census.gov), the number of children being born out-of-wedlock differ greatly across the above three racial groups.  Asians have the lowest out-of-wedlock births at 11.3%.  While whites come in at 29.2%.  And blacks come in at 67.8%.

The people with the highest median family income also have the lowest out-of-wedlock births.  Confirming that the path towards a high-paying job is a high school diploma.  A college education.  Being careful NOT to have any children until you’re married.  And after you graduate from college and establish a career get married and raise a family.  In other words, personal discipline.  Sacrificing short-term fun.  For long-term success.  Suggesting the reason why blacks earn a lower family median income than most is because of their high out-of-wedlock birthrate.  Young black women having children before they graduate from high school.  Which prevents them from crossing that first bridge on the road towards a good, high-paying job.  Making her life more difficult.  And giving her children a distinct disadvantage.  At least, based on the Census data.

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