Stats Can Lie: Don't Let Divorce Statistics Dictate Your FateI’ll bet you’ve heard at least one of these statistics about┬ádivorce, such as 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce and that more than 60 percent of second marriages end in divorce.

Every time I read stats like these divorce statistics, I’m reminded of a grad school buddy of mine, Cheng Ling. When I joined the research group, Cheng was one of the senior grad students. He’d been in the group for a couple of years and had a reputation for being a comedian.

One day after I’d been a part of the group for about a year, he walked into my office and asked what I was doing. I told him I was working on my statistics homework. He started laughing and told me that statistics were all lies. I assumed he was joking with me again, but he assured me he wasn’t and kept on laughing.

I was shocked! How could statistics be lies?

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Stats Can Lie: Don’t Let Divorce Statistics Dictate Your Fate

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  1. This is stupid. Just because they only have a sample of marriages, rather than every marriage in the country, doesn’t mean that the 50% statistic is inaccurate. In most cases, once you’ve asked 500,000 people about something, there’s little point asking another 500,000 people because they’ll say approximately the same thing within 1-2 percentage points.

    How many times do you EVER have full information? When you choose a hotel, do you ignore the reviews on TripAdvisor because only 500 people have rated the cleanliness as 1 star, but actually probably 10,000 people have been to that hotel but didn’t leave a review?

    Additionally, the statistic says that “50% of marriages end in divorce”, not “50% of marriages WILL end in divorce.” So it doesn’t demand that this statistic will be true into the future.

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