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# The U.S. census is not perfect: thousands of Americans

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The U.S. census is not perfect: thousands of Americans [#permalink]

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20 Feb 2009, 21:24
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The U.S. census is not perfect: thousands of Americans probably go uncounted. However, the basic statistical portrait of the nation painted by the census is accurate. Certainly some of the poor go uncounted, particularly the homeless; but some of the rich go uncounted as well, because they are often abroad or traveling between one residence and another.

Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument above depends?

(A) Both the rich and the poor have personal and economic reasons to avoid being counted by the census.
(B) All Americans may reasonably be classified as either poor or rich.
(C) The percentage of poor Americans uncounted by the census is close to the percentage of rich Americans uncounted.
(D) The number of homeless Americans is approximately equal to the number of rich Americans.
(E) The primary purpose of the census is to analyze the economic status of the American population.
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Re: Got this one wrong....Plz help!!!!! [#permalink]

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27 Dec 2009, 10:23
This is a very interesting question for me....Initially,I was confused whether to choose C or B but later chose B.....and found that most got C and few got B.
I think the answer is B.
Using the negation test,one can see that the option B affects the conclusion more than the option C does.
C does make the conclusion false when it is negated,however the conclusion doesn't even hold if the option B is negated.

OA ?
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Re: Got this one wrong....Plz help!!!!! [#permalink]

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28 Dec 2009, 00:57
papillon86 wrote:
19. The U.S. census is not perfect: thousands of Americans probably go uncounted. However, the basic statistical portrait of the nation painted by the census is accurate. Certainly some of the poor go uncounted, particularly the homeless; but some of the rich go uncounted as well, because they are often abroad or traveling between one residence and another.
Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument above depends?
(A) Both the rich and the poor have personal and economic reasons to avoid being counted by the census.
(B) All Americans may reasonably be classified as either poor or rich.
(C) The percentage of poor Americans uncounted by the census is close to the percentage of rich Americans uncounted.
(D) The number of homeless Americans is approximately equal to the number of rich Americans.
(E) The primary purpose of the census is to analyze the economic status of the American population.

I'll go with C...

A- reasons to avoid being counted is irrelevant.
B- this is not true. the argument considers rich and poor people of US. this does not mean that all people can be classified into one of the two categories.
C- here comes the winner. this accurately states the assumption of the argument. since the percentage of both the category of people are equal, statistical portrait of census is true.
D- this is not true. number of homeless Americans uncounted can be equal to the number of rich Americans uncounted. but,the number of the poor homeless Americans is not necessarily equal to the number of rich Americans.
E- primary purpose of census is irrelevant.
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Re: Got this one wrong....Plz help!!!!! [#permalink]

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28 Dec 2009, 16:03
I'm going with B. The argument depends on the assumption that Americans are classified as rich or poor. What's the OA?
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Re: Got this one wrong....Plz help!!!!! [#permalink]

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29 Dec 2009, 09:19
papillon86 wrote:
19. The U.S. census is not perfect: thousands of Americans probably go uncounted. However, the basic statistical portrait of the nation painted by the census is accurate. Certainly some of the poor go uncounted, particularly the homeless; but some of the rich go uncounted as well, because they are often abroad or traveling between one residence and another.
Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument above depends?
(A) Both the rich and the poor have personal and economic reasons to avoid being counted by the census.
(B) All Americans may reasonably be classified as either poor or rich.
(C) The percentage of poor Americans uncounted by the census is close to the percentage of rich Americans uncounted.
(D) The number of homeless Americans is approximately equal to the number of rich Americans.
(E) The primary purpose of the census is to analyze the economic status of the American population.

The passage emphasizes that ,"the basic statistical portrait of the nation painted by the census is accurate" ,indicating that the poor or rich omitted doesn’t necessarily affect accuracy of the census by a large degree. I think the assumption here is the ability to define people into rich or poor classes .Otherwise the accuracy of the census becomes suspect.

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Re: Got this one wrong....Plz help!!!!! [#permalink]

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30 Dec 2009, 17:20
papillon86 wrote:
19. The U.S. census is not perfect: thousands of Americans probably go uncounted. However, the basic statistical portrait of the nation painted by the census is accurate. Certainly some of the poor go uncounted, particularly the homeless; but some of the rich go uncounted as well, because they are often abroad or traveling between one residence and another.
Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument above depends?
(A) Both the rich and the poor have personal and economic reasons to avoid being counted by the census.
(B) All Americans may reasonably be classified as either poor or rich.
(C) The percentage of poor Americans uncounted by the census is close to the percentage of rich Americans uncounted.
(D) The number of homeless Americans is approximately equal to the number of rich Americans.
(E) The primary purpose of the census is to analyze the economic status of the American population.

I believe it is C. The "statistical portrait" will be more accurate if it compares "percentages uncounted by the census" rather than than "numbers".
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The U.S. census is not perfect: thousands of Americans [#permalink]

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08 Mar 2010, 01:44
The U.S. census is not perfect: thousands of Americans probably go uncounted. However, the basic statistical portrait of the nation painted by the census is accurate. Certainly some of the poor go uncounted, particularly the homeless; but some of the rich go uncounted as well, because they are often abroad or traveling between one residence and another.
Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument above depends?

(A) Both the rich and the poor have personal and economic reasons to avoid being counted by the census.
(B) All Americans may reasonably be classified as either poor or rich.
(C) The percentage of poor Americans uncounted by the census is close to the percentage of rich Americans uncounted.
(D) The number of homeless Americans is approximately equal to the number of rich Americans.
(E) The primary purpose of the census is to analyze the economic status of the American population.
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Re: Assumtion:US census:Source 1000 CR [#permalink]

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08 Mar 2010, 19:07
C for me.
The reason: stimulus conclusion is "the basic statistical portrait of the nation painted by the census is accurate". The only way for this statement to be true is if percentage of poor Americans who is unaccounted by the census is equal to percentage of rich Americans who is unaccounted. Therefore, C.
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Re: Assumtion:US census:Source 1000 CR [#permalink]

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08 Mar 2010, 23:59
alexBLR wrote:
C for me.
The reason: stimulus conclusion is "the basic statistical portrait of the nation painted by the census is accurate". The only way for this statement to be true is if percentage of poor Americans who is unaccounted by the census is equal to percentage of rich Americans who is unaccounted. Therefore, C.

what about E,If we deny "E" is not the the conclusion destroyed?
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Re: Assumtion:US census:Source 1000 CR [#permalink]

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09 Mar 2010, 17:39
mundasingh123 wrote:
alexBLR wrote:
C for me.
The reason: stimulus conclusion is "the basic statistical portrait of the nation painted by the census is accurate". The only way for this statement to be true is if percentage of poor Americans who is unaccounted by the census is equal to percentage of rich Americans who is naccounted. Therefore, C.

what about E,If we deny "E" is not the the conclusion destroyed?

First, look at the stimulus conclusion-the main idea of the stimulus is concerned with accurcy of the census. The purpose of the census (stated in E)has no direct relation to the accuracy of the census. If still unclear, please refer to the PowerScore CR Bible.
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Re: Assumtion:US census:Source 1000 CR [#permalink]

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30 Mar 2010, 17:18
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Hey All,

Looks like there's enough struggling with this one that it would pay for me to weigh in. Let's give it the red carpet treatment.

The U.S. census is not perfect: thousands of Americans probably go uncounted. However, the basic statistical portrait of the nation painted by the census is accurate. Certainly some of the poor go uncounted, particularly the homeless; but some of the rich go uncounted as well, because they are often abroad or traveling between one residence and another.
Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument above depends?

Conclusion: Basic stat portrait of census is accurate
Premise: Some poor uncounted, but also some rich
Assumption: The uncounted rich and poor are roughly equal. Rich and poor are emblematic of the portrait of other groups.

Notice I was able to come up with a couple of assumptions here. This is a pretty bad argument, so there might even be more. It's always helpful to think ahead as much as possible. I wrote both of these before looking at the answer choices, so I have an idea of what I'm looking for.

(A) Both the rich and the poor have personal and economic reasons to avoid being counted by the census.
PROBLEM: We don't care why people avoid the census, only how many of them do.

(B) All Americans may reasonably be classified as either poor or rich.
PROBLEM: This relates to my second assumption, but the language goes too far. We don't need all Americans to be classifiable as poor or rich, because even if there were Americans who could not be classified as poor or rich, the argument would not fall apart. It would become a little muddy (what about those middle class folks?), but we wouldn't have definitive proof that the census was bad.

(C) The percentage of poor Americans uncounted by the census is close to the percentage of rich Americans uncounted.
ANSWER: This relates to my first assumption, and is tough to figure out, so it helps to actually take apart the math a bit. Let's imagine that there are 100 people in the country, but we only end up counting 80. If 50 poor, 50 rich is reality and 50 poor and 30 rich are actually counted, we'd have missed 66% of the rich and 0% of the poor, and now our count doesn't provide an accurate portrait of the break down in America (which should have been 50/50, but is no 5/8ths versus 3/8ths). On the flip side, if we miss 10 poor and 10 rich (The same percentage of 50), our breakdown of the country's statistics is still accurate (40 and 40 out of 80, versus 50 and 50 out of 100), even though the hard numbers are wrong.

(D) The number of homeless Americans is approximately equal to the number of rich Americans.
PROBLEM: How many actual people there are in each category is immaterial here. We only care about percentage breakdowns.

(E) The primary purpose of the census is to analyze the economic status of the American population.
PROBLEM: The purpose of the census is immaterial, only its statistical results.

Hope that helps!

-t
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Re: Assumtion:US census:Source 1000 CR [#permalink]

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09 Jun 2010, 06:47
B sounds good but cannot explain -
"However, the basic statistical portrait of the nation painted by the census is accurate."
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Re: Assumtion:US census:Source 1000 CR [#permalink]

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09 Jun 2010, 09:19
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Hey Nusmavrik,

This is a dangerous piece of advice, but I'm throwing it out there anyway. Whenever you read an answer choice that just sounds logically ridiculous, be wary of it. (As in, don't totally leave your common sense at the door.) Would you need to base an argument on the fact that every single human being was either rich or poor? It seems unlikely, unless the argument was incredibly ridiculous. : )

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Re: Assumtion:US census:Source 1000 CR [#permalink]

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30 Jul 2010, 13:50
TommyWallach wrote:
Hey All,

Looks like there's enough struggling with this one that it would pay for me to weigh in. Let's give it the red carpet treatment.

The U.S. census is not perfect: thousands of Americans probably go uncounted. However, the basic statistical portrait of the nation painted by the census is accurate. Certainly some of the poor go uncounted, particularly the homeless; but some of the rich go uncounted as well, because they are often abroad or traveling between one residence and another.
Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument above depends?

Conclusion: Basic stat portrait of census is accurate
Premise: Some poor uncounted, but also some rich
Assumption: The uncounted rich and poor are roughly equal. Rich and poor are emblematic of the portrait of other groups.

Notice I was able to come up with a couple of assumptions here. This is a pretty bad argument, so there might even be more. It's always helpful to think ahead as much as possible. I wrote both of these before looking at the answer choices, so I have an idea of what I'm looking for.

(A) Both the rich and the poor have personal and economic reasons to avoid being counted by the census.
PROBLEM: We don't care why people avoid the census, only how many of them do.

(B) All Americans may reasonably be classified as either poor or rich.
PROBLEM: This relates to my second assumption, but the language goes too far. We don't need all Americans to be classifiable as poor or rich, because even if there were Americans who could not be classified as poor or rich, the argument would not fall apart. It would become a little muddy (what about those middle class folks?), but we wouldn't have definitive proof that the census was bad.

(C) The percentage of poor Americans uncounted by the census is close to the percentage of rich Americans uncounted.
ANSWER: This relates to my first assumption, and is tough to figure out, so it helps to actually take apart the math a bit. Let's imagine that there are 100 people in the country, but we only end up counting 80. If 50 poor, 50 rich is reality and 50 poor and 30 rich are actually counted, we'd have missed 66% of the rich and 0% of the poor, and now our count doesn't provide an accurate portrait of the break down in America (which should have been 50/50, but is no 5/8ths versus 3/8ths). On the flip side, if we miss 10 poor and 10 rich (The same percentage of 50), our breakdown of the country's statistics is still accurate (40 and 40 out of 80, versus 50 and 50 out of 100), even though the hard numbers are wrong.

(D) The number of homeless Americans is approximately equal to the number of rich Americans.
PROBLEM: How many actual people there are in each category is immaterial here. We only care about percentage breakdowns.

(E) The primary purpose of the census is to analyze the economic status of the American population.
PROBLEM: The purpose of the census is immaterial, only its statistical results.

Hope that helps!

-t

If D were: (D) The number of homeless Americans UNCOUNTED is approximately equal to the number of rich Americans UNCOUNTED;

It would actually be the same as C, doesnt it? and therefore correct
Thanks.
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Re: Assumtion:US census:Source 1000 CR [#permalink]

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30 Jul 2010, 22:43
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Lets say 100 people in America. 40 Rich and 60 Poor. Ratio is 2:3 -----> This is the statistical figure.
Now lets say 10% are uncounted in both the groups.

Rich = 0.9 * 40 = 36
Poor = 0.9 * 60 = 54

Ratio = 36/54 = 4/6 = 2/3 ------------> Statistical data is TRUE regardless of census.
C is the answer. You can try with another ratio and come with the same conclusion

B : classifies the people as rich or poor but does not explains why statistical data will be true.

D : You can prove this mathematically or assumption. Lets say 50 Rich and 50 Poor. Ratio 1:1
If the census discounts different number in the two group then

Rich = 46
Poor = 40
Ratio = 46 : 40 which is not the same as 1:1
So D does not explains why the statistical data is the same. In fact D weakens the argument.
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Re: Assumtion:US census:Source 1000 CR [#permalink]

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31 Jul 2010, 10:13
Noboru,

Indeed, nusma nailed it. This is a classic GMAT trope on CR. Any time a question gives you premises or a conclusion based on percentages, be very wary of any answer choices that revolve around actual numbers. Likewise, in a question that gives premises or conclusions based on actual numbers, be wary of answer choices that revolve around percentages. I'm not saying this is 100% always true, only 95% true. : )

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Re: Assumtion:US census:Source 1000 CR [#permalink]

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11 Sep 2010, 11:49
C for me.
here the conclusion is the basic statistical portrait of the nation painted by the census is accurate.
So we should for answer that is give us a relative figure not the actual number.
Only C has in terms of percentage.

So C is correct
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Re: Assumtion:US census:Source 1000 CR [#permalink]

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06 May 2011, 04:19
'Let's imagine that there are 100 people in the country, but we only end up counting 80. If 50 poor, 50 rich is reality and 50 poor and 30 rich are actually counted, we'd have missed 66% of the rich and 0% of the poor, and now our count doesn't provide an accurate portrait of the break down in America (which should have been 50/50, but is no 5/8ths versus 3/8ths). On the flip side, if we miss 10 poor and 10 rich (The same percentage of 50), our breakdown of the country's statistics is still accurate (40 and 40 out of 80, versus 50 and 50 out of 100), even though the hard numbers are wrong'

the answer is C , though it is very difficult to do this kind of mathematical modeling in actual test conditions .
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Re: Assumtion:US census:Source 1000 CR [#permalink]

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06 May 2011, 06:55
Conclusion is that the statistical portrait is accurate.
Options C and D are the one closest. The argument talks about uncounted poor and rich.
C seems closer to it.
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Re: Got this one wrong....Plz help!!!!! [#permalink]

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15 May 2011, 05:53
the statistics is accurate.Means there is a balancing average act taking place.
C fits the bill.
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Re: Got this one wrong....Plz help!!!!! [#permalink]

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15 May 2011, 06:02
papillon86 wrote:
19. The U.S. census is not perfect: thousands of Americans probably go uncounted. However, the basic statistical portrait of the nation painted by the census is accurate. Certainly some of the poor go uncounted, particularly the homeless; but some of the rich go uncounted as well, because they are often abroad or traveling between one residence and another.
Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument above depends?
(A) Both the rich and the poor have personal and economic reasons to avoid being counted by the census.
(B) All Americans may reasonably be classified as either poor or rich.
(C) The percentage of poor Americans uncounted by the census is close to the percentage of rich Americans uncounted.
(D) The number of homeless Americans is approximately equal to the number of rich Americans.
(E) The primary purpose of the census is to analyze the economic status of the American population.

negate C . it will weaken the argument....However, the basic statistical portrait of the nation painted by the census is accurate....
Re: Got this one wrong....Plz help!!!!!   [#permalink] 15 May 2011, 06:02

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