I had a good chuckle the other day when I was caught by an example of numerical illiteracy on the part of at least two people: an author and an editor. I had to share.
I was flying with Air Asia from Banda Aceh, Indonesia to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The in flight magazine isn't exactly high production value, as the airline is all about saving. Consider Air Asia to be the Ryan Air of the East. Anyways, here's the tasty treat now:
I can take no issue with the first section on young billionaires as it was actually quite interesting. In the second section, I am entertained by the translation of $122.1k GDP per capita to an average income of about $120,000 per year. Taking the crown though, was the gem at the bottom.
"72% of the 14.5 million population in Mali, Western Africa, earn about $0.003 a day with the average worker's salary of only US$1,500 per year!" Now what is that supposed to mean?
Before you reach for your calculator I can tell you that $0.003/day = $1.10/year.
Also I can tell you that 72% of 14.5 million = 10.44 million.
And that (10.44 million people * $1.10 per person per year ) / $1,500 per worker per year = 7656 workers.
And that 7656/10.44 million = 0.07% employment.
Curiously I can't quite determine what I think they were going for. Anything I try to explain the numbers I see gets destroyed anyway by the strange "72% of 14.5 million". According to Wikipedia, only 43.51 million out of the 81.76 million people in Germany are employed. I suppose I could say that 53% of Germans earn about $0 per day. By adding a dash of real workers I could make that figure $0.003.
Please comment and speculate.
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