Thursday, January 12, 2006

Everything you knew about Hurricane Katrina was wrong

The Y Files: "Four months after Hurricane Katrina, analyses of data suggest that some widely reported assumptions about the storm's victims were incorrect.

For example, a comparison of locations where 874 bodies were recovered with U.S. census tract data indicates that the victims weren't disproportionately poor. Another database of 486 Katrina victims from Orleans and St. Bernard parishes, compiled by Knight Ridder, suggests they also weren't disproportionately African American."

Read the whole thing. Do you think the truth will be as widely reported as the errors?


Pat said...

Again, please take a look at a re-analysis of the data showing that once age is taken into account blacks actually were over-represented among Katrina's casualties.
As it turns out, the media's concerns about race appear to be validated.

McRyanMac said...

This is just one error correction. But a barely relevant one. One would expect a significant number of blacks to be affected given the demographics of the region. But the correlation to racism is false and misleading. If the storm would have hit a predominantly black college, would that be an indicator of racism? Why weren't the victims disproportionately poor?

Pat said...

You're missing the statistical argument here. Blacks were over-represented among the dead *relative to their presence in the population*. The equivalent scenario would be if a storm hit a college that was 60% black, and 70% of the victims were black. Further, I'm not arguing that it's racism at work. Something (perhaps lower income, perhaps racial segregation, perhaps bad luck) made blacks slightly more likely to die in the storm than would be expected. We don't know what. I'm simply responding to the inaccurate report that claimed whites were disproportionately likely to die. Regarding your last point, we don't know anything about the income of the victims. There is some data about the neighborhoods they lived in, but the demographics of the actual victims were nothing like the demographics of their neighborhoods, suggesting that we can't use neighborhood data to make inferences about the income of the deceased.

Interesting Stuff