… according to the 2013 Census figures,
- 51 would be female, 49 male.
- 70 would be European, 14 Maori and 11 Asian.
- 24 would have been born overseas
- 21 would have a tertiary qualification
- 4 would be unemployed.
- 4 would earn over $100,000
… according to the 2013 Census figures,
From Stuff, this morning
This year, and for the first time in New Zealand, Fairfax Media is partnering with the Global Drug Survey to help create the largest and most up-to-date snapshot of our drug and alcohol use, and to see how we compare to the rest of the world.
That all sounds good. The next line (with a link) is
Take the survey here.
That doesn’t sound so good.
This research group has been running a survey in partnership with UK clubbing magazine Mixmag for years, and last year branched out to ‘Global’ status with the help of the Guardian. Not all that global, though: more than half the respondents were from the UK, with half of the rest from the US. As you might expect, the respondents were more likely to be from demographic groups with high drug use: overrepresented attributes included young, male, student, and gay or bi. The research team and their expert advisory committee includes experts in a wide range of areas needed to design and interpret a study of this sort, with one exception: they don’t seem to have a statistician.
What are the results going to be useful for? Clearly, any estimates of prevalence of drug use will be pretty much useless if the survey oversamples drug users as it has in the past. Comparisons with past surveys done by different methods will be completely useless. International comparisons within the survey will be a bit dodgy, since the newspapers taking part will reach different segments of each country– readers of the Fairfax media are quite a different subpopulation than Guardian readers.
Useful information is more likely to be obtained on drug prices, on subjective experience of drug taking, on harm people experience from different drugs, and on comparison between drugs: eg, among people who’ve tried both MDMA and cocaine, which do they keep using and why? In countries where there is no high-quality survey information, the semi-quantitative information about drug use might be helpful, but that’s probably not true for NZ or the USA. Certainly for alcohol use, the NZ Health Survey would be more reliable, and the estimates of street price of drugs from Massey’s IDMS should be pretty good.
For New Zealand, the most useful outcome would be if the survey provokes a repeat of the NZ Alcohol and Drug Use Survey, which was run in 2007-2008.
[Update: the NZ Health Survey was planned to have a drug use module in 2012.
I can't find any confirmation that it actually happened, or any planned release date for the data. See the comments. The module was administered and data will appear next year. So, it's definitely not true that there hasn't been an NZ survey since 2007/8, contrary to the story]
It’s been a while since the last StatsChat bogus poll, so here’s a new one. Answer it before you read on
From Andrew Gelman, who is passing along research by some Columbia political scientists, the estimated support, by state, for the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, a gay rights bill that the US Senate will be voting on this Monday.
US Senators are elected by, and theoretically represent, their state as a whole. The bill has majority support in every state, well over 60% in most states. It’s not clear whether it will pass.
Part of the problem is multilevel democracy: to be a Senator, you have to be selected as a candidate as well as winning the election. And the people who vote at the preselection stage (primary elections, in the US) average more extreme than those who vote in the election. The more levels of selection you need, the worse the problem gets: Tim Gowers (prompted by the US government shutdown) does the mathematician thing and derives the extreme case. And the problem is exacerbated by the fact that politicians aren’t as knowledgeable about the views of their electorates as they think are.
The [product being advertised] survey, which involved 2034 participants, found that 11 per cent of drivers admitted to having sex while driving. Men were three times more likely to admit to participating in sexual activity than women .
Firstly, a little skepticism would be appropriate here. Isn’t it just possible there’s something wrong with the survey? If you go and search for the press release, you find
This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
which is not encouraging. Also, the breakdown by age in the press release says the proportion who have ‘participated in sexual activity’ while driving is even higher, 17%, among 18-44 year olds. And flirting with a driver in a different car is apparently less common than having it off with a passenger in the same car.
I suppose I could just have led a very sheltered life. But if these figures are accurate you’d expect the AA to have noticed and to have a slightly different list of the top ten driving distractions. And surely it would be hard to have missed the salacious headlines whenever one of these couples caused an accident, which 5% of them report having done.
I’m not sure if it’s encouraging or discouraging that this is a Fairfax story, not something from the Daily Mail.
The Herald tells us
Most women are more scared of public speaking than they are of death, it has been revealed.
Researchers who polled 2,000 women found many are far more at ease with meeting their maker than they are of standing in a room talking to an audience hanging on their every word
On the other hand experience in teaching suggests that a fairly large fraction of women would, given the choice, prefer public speaking to failing a university course.
Since this is a survey commissioned by a London tourist attraction, and they aren’t providing any information about the survey methods, it’s hard to tell why the results are the way they are. All we can really tell is that it’s the sort of research where asking if the results are true is missing the point.
In 2006, statistics celebrity Hans Rosling asked students at the Karolinska Insitute about international child mortality. In each of the following pairs of countries (presented in alphabetical order within pairs), which one has higher child mortality?
None of these are close — they differ by at least a factor of two — but the students did significantly worse than chance, averaging less than two correct answers out of five.
Gapminder.org has a new ‘Ignorance Project’ aiming to find out what important facts about global health and welfare are widely misunderstood. They don’t just have a naive ‘information deficiency’ view of this ignorance:
When we encounter ignorance, we want to find a cure. Sometimes the facts just have to be delivered. But in many cases, the facts are little known as they don’t fit with other misunderstandings, they are counterintuitive, such as the most of the outdated concepts about the world population. In these cases we need to invent a new simple way to explain it. Those new explanations are the essence of Gapminder’s new free teaching material that make it fun and easy to teach and to learn a fact-based worldview.
It may not work, but it’s worth a try
By age 18, the in-sample cumulative arrest prevalence rate lies between 15.9% and 26.8%; at age 23, it lies between 25.3% and 41.4%. These bounds make no assumptions at all about missing cases. If we assume that the missing cases are at least as likely to have been arrested as the observed cases, the in-sample age-23 prevalence rate must lie between 30.2% and 41.4%. The greatest growth in the cumulative prevalence of arrest occurs during late adolescence and the period of early or emerging adulthood
Anecdotally, many of the New Zealanders I talk to think that a) all American beer is appallingly bad, and that b) this is all that Americans drink. In fact, the US has been leading the micro- and craft- brewing revolution for some years now, and a new survey shows that American beer drinking tastes are changing. Budweiser, the so-called King of Beers, a product of US brewing giant Anheuser Busch, appears to have been deposed by Colorado based Blue Moon Brewing Company. I am sure someone will tell me that far more Budweiser/Millers/Coors is produced than beer from Blue Moon, but hey maybe American’s are just using it to pre-cook bratwursts before grilling like I used to do.
I was a little concerned that this study might be self-selected, or industry motivated, but the information provided gives some reassurance: “Data on behalf Blowfish for Hangovers by a third party, private research firm based on a study of 5,249 Americans who drink alcohol and are over the age of 21. Margin of error for this study is 1.35% at a 95% confidence interval. Additional data on alcoholic beverage sales collected directly by the Alcoholic Epidemiolic Data System (AEDS) from States or provided by beverage industry sources.”