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Articles on Statistics

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Mark Zuckerberg’s company says the kids are all right, but the data it presents is only about how the average social media user is doing. AP Photo/Eric Risberg

The thousands of vulnerable people harmed by Facebook and Instagram are lost in Meta’s ‘average user’ data

Research from Meta and some scientists shows no harm from social media, but other research and whistleblower testimony show otherwise. Seemingly contradictory, both can be right.
Statistical infrastructure can help improve everything from health care to politics. Andriy Onufriyenko/Moment via Getty Images

Low- and middle-income countries lack access to big data analysis – here’s how to fill the gap

Data science infrastructure is sorely needed in many places. Doctors Without Borders brings medical help to nations in need, but similar efforts are relatively small for statistics.
A ‘100-year flood’ doesn’t mean you’ll be flood-free for the next 99 years. Win McNamee/Getty Images

What’s a 100-year flood? A hydrologist explains

Flood plain statistics can be confusing. There are better ways to think about the risk of severe weather than 100-year storm or flood.
A November 2020 memorial in Washington, D.C. consisted of thousands of flags, each planted to remember someone who died of COVID-19. Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

578,555 people have died from COVID-19 in the US, or maybe it’s 912,345 – here’s why it’s hard to count

Record-keepers have a pretty good sense of how many people have died. But figuring out the cause of those deaths is a lot trickier – and that’s why reasonable modelers can disagree.
Socioeconomic and cultural data can help governments predict and slow the spread of the next pandemic. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

How to use statistics to prepare for the next pandemic

Many governments, including the US, already collect and make public population statistics that could help them prepare for the next pandemic.

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