Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

It has been said that you can manipulate statistics to show anything that you might want to demonstrate. I was reading an article in one of the newspapers about how the Bush administration continues to manipulate statistics on terrorism. Um… okay, no surprise there. Let’s move on to some statistics that are interesting from an educational viewpoint. 

We’ll start specific and move to global interest. I often get asked how many people work at Microsoft and sometimes it’s hard to keep up. Today reports:

Microsoft had 89,809 employees worldwide at the end of May, a company spokesman said Thursday. That compares with 78,565 in June 2007, the end of its previous fiscal year.

Microsoft graphic

That works out to the biggest annual growth in the company’s history — even before the current fiscal year concludes at the end of this month. The past record was in 2006, when Microsoft added about 10,000 employees.

Another statistic that come up every once in a while is how large is Seattle. Turns out that isn’t an easy question to ask. If you are talking about only Seattle and not the surrounding ‘burbs, you get this rather dated statistic from the 2000 census:

  • Population: 563,374
  • Households: 258,499
  • Median household income: $45,736
  • People in poverty: 64,068
  • Adults with college degree: 53.6%
  • Median rent: $721

I’m guessing the population is now just under 600,000 but I have no way of substantiating my hypothesis. Here is another guess:

Seattle and Surrounds Population (July 2006)[1][2]

  • City -582,454
  • Density – 6,901/sq mi (2,665/km²)
  • Urban – 3,263,497
  • Metro – 3,919,624

If my math is right, over half of the population of Washington state resides in the Seattle Metro area!

And of course there is the inevitable question about our weather answered rather handily by the Wikipedia entry on Seattle under there Jet City entry. (I thought we were the Emerald City.):


Note how little rain there is in the May through September aka Summer months. Shhh… don’t tell anyone!

My final statistical search is one to answer that perennial question, how many people are there on this blue marble, aka the third rock from the sun. Jay Leno was joking about if a girl made it with a movie star all her friends would be told. If a guy make it with a famous movie star, all 6 billion people on the planet would know. Checking with the U.S. Census Bureau’s World Population Clocks we get this info:

U.S. 304,390,296
World 6,704,743,622
15:17 GMT (EST+5) Jun 20, 2008

Hey, Jay was only off by 704 million souls. Have a great weekend everyone!


About Gandalfe

Just an itinerant saxophonist trying to find life between the changes. I have retired from the Corps of Engineers and Microsoft. I am an admin on the Woodwind Forum, run the Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra, and enjoy time with family and friends.
This entry was posted in Politics, Statistics. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

  1. Rambling says:

    Now that was fun!!!!  When I get done here..I may spend another life time there.

  2. _ says:

    Well-place curse word, there Gandalfe. Very "titallating". LOL I was typing a reply to someone else’s comment this morning (about four good paragraphs), hit the add button and got an error page. When I back clicked, my prose was gone. Darn-it!
    My brother-in-law lives in Seattle. Funny how he’s never mentioned how little rain y’all get in the summer. Do you get tourists instead?

  3. kitten says:

    I love all of your graphs the colours are so pretty (a little play on sarcasm here…playfully mind you) I love how you throw yourself into everything you do now if I could find a gardener as motivated as you I would be in heaven…just being playful today. Nice to see your sense of humor it is infectious. Great post!
     Be well fair day darling kisses Catherine

  4. Bertie says:

    I think the figures are low.  (LOL) You run into too many people every where you go.  That’s an interesting weather chart.  The Microsoft employment chart surprised me because I didn’t realize they had so many people working away from this area.  Ah well.  See you. Mom

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