Here’s a example of the modern malaise of innumeracy:
Whilst it’s clear there’s been a paucity of rainfall in the state of New South Wales, the article is riddled with unasked questions.
Sydneysiders are using higher than average amounts of water and face the prospect of four more years of restrictions and a hike in bills from next July if the drought does not break.
Higher than average.
Per person? Per household? In total and therefore compared to previous years?
Has the denominator changed, such as an increase in population, for example?
We aren’t told.
Instead, we have a late entry for the 2019 Stating the Bleeding Obvious Prize:
Although a typical household bill would be 2.5 per cent higher under the latest submission, customers could cut bills by saving water.
We do get a clue to the answers to the earlier questions though:
But despite a recent increase in usage, the Berejiklian government says Sydneysiders are using less water per person each day than they were during the Millennium drought.
Ok, that suggests a population increase has occurred. Funny the article doesn’t spell that out though.
That dreaded noun, “average”, makes yet another appearance:
It says rainfall across the catchments over the past two years was “below to very much below average” and the Bureau of Meteorology predicts a dryer and warmer than average summer.
Below to very much below.
Well, that clears things up for us….
Either the journalist writing this article is completely innumerate, not curious, blindly regurgitating a press release or trying to drive an agenda.
If the first explanation, perhaps they should read Factfulness.