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

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30 Mar 2010, 17:18
19
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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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04 Jun 2009, 22:48
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My take is that B cud also have been a valid assumption,

But in the context of argument which talks about about the poor and rich people, the assumption shud be close to it.

in gMAT, its the matter of which is more correct rather than being absolutely correct.

number of poor people = 150 ( acutally)

ppl counted = 120 missed = 30

number of rich people = 100
ppl counted = 80 missed = 20

actual health of nation = 150/100 = 3/2
counted health of nation = 120/80 = 3/2

census is same only when the percentage of missed people in both rich and poor categories is same..
##### General Discussion
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04 Jun 2009, 12:25
1
IMO C.

B is an assumption for C,which in turn is the required assumption for the argument,which talks abt the 'the basic statistical portrait of the nation painted by the census is accurate'. To explain this, the next line is the reasoning '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.'

But this reasoning depends on the the assumption C.

Please correct if i am wrong.
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05 Jun 2009, 11:07
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C it is.

Census should be in proportion to the population (represent the population)

Population = 20% A + 30% B + 50% C
if lets assume 10% of each not counted (not number)
then it'll still represent the potrait of the nation with the ratio of popualtion 2:3:5

but if the equal number of each group are not counted ==> it'll distort the portrait of the nation.
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Re: Got this one wrong....Plz help!!!!!  [#permalink]

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11 Dec 2009, 18:41
This was a real tough one, and I might be overthinking it but ill give it a shot:

I was for C before I tried to explain my reasoning

Now I believe its D

Premise 1: Some Poor arent counted, particularly the homeless
Premise 2: Some Rich arent counted because they are often traveling

Assumption 1: You need to be home to counted
Assumption 2: The homeless arent counted because they dont have a home, the rich arent counted because they often arent at home
Assumption 3: The number of homeless is approximately the number of rich

Conclusion: Net effect on the census is zero

Am i assuming too much?

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

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14 Dec 2009, 04:42
The oa seems to be C. I'd mistakenly chose E for this question, later tried it again and as it is assumption question... with negation
Premise: US census not perfect, thousands go uncounted
Premise: Some poor go uncounted, But some of the rich go uncounted as well
Conclusion: Basic statistical portrait is accurate

negate C) %age of poor uncounted is NOT close to %age of rich uncounted
This will affect the conclusion and basic statistical portrait is not accurate.
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Re: Got this one wrong....Plz help!!!!!  [#permalink]

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16 Dec 2009, 22:42
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gddunton wrote:
This was a real tough one, and I might be overthinking it but ill give it a shot:

I was for C before I tried to explain my reasoning

Now I believe its D

Premise 1: Some Poor arent counted, particularly the homeless
Premise 2: Some Rich arent counted because they are often traveling

Assumption 1: You need to be home to counted
Assumption 2: The homeless arent counted because they dont have a home, the rich arent counted because they often arent at home
Assumption 3: The number of homeless is approximately the number of rich who often travel

Conclusion: Net effect on the census is zero

Am i assuming too much?

What is the OA?

I do not think so.
but you miss one information: "Rich people" is different from "rich people who often travel (until left uncount)".

(D) The number of homeless Americans is approximately equal to the number of rich Americans.-->in D, Homeless American=Rich American (wrong). There are some rich people who stay home.

To correct the (D): The number of homeless Americans is approximately equal to the number of rich Americanswho often travel (Now it can be the assumption. However, this corrected D means the same thing as C. does).
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Re: Got this one wrong....Plz help!!!!!  [#permalink]

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22 Dec 2009, 09:44
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Fact1:The U.S. census is not perfect: thousands of Americans probably go uncounted.
Fact2:Certainly some of the poor go uncounted, particularly the homeless;
Fact3:but some of the rich go uncounted as well, because they are often abroad or traveling between one residence and another.
Conclusion:the basic statistical portrait of the nation painted by the census is accurate.

Paraphrased Assumption: The number of uncounted poor people = number of uncounted rich people.

C seems to be the closest.

Non necessary for getting to the answer but I will also examine why the other choices are wrong -
(A) Both the rich and the poor have personal and economic reasons to avoid being counted by the census. Out of Scope.
(B) All Americans may reasonably be classified as either poor or rich. Comes close but vague
(D) The number of homeless Americans is approximately equal to the number of rich Americans.We don't care how many are rich or poor we only care how many of those are unaccounted for
(E) The primary purpose of the census is to analyze the economic status of the American population.Probably an inference not an assumption but a very very close one since we are sort of assuming that Census is not merely counting people but it's counting people based on their economic status.
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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: Assumtion:US census:Source 1000 CR  [#permalink]

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09 Jun 2010, 09:19
1
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. : )

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

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30 Jul 2010, 22:43
1
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. : )

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

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18 Dec 2012, 03:48
1
Zatarra wrote:
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.

Looks like a bad question. The question should have been framed as an inference question than as an assumption question. The reason is in an inference you derive something based on what is given. You do not need an additional fact. Only when it is an additional fact independent of what is given then it becomes an assumption.

Let us look at the relevant statements:

Statement 1: Certainly some of the poor go uncounted, particularly the homeless; but some of the rich go uncounted as well,
Statement 2: the basic statistical portrait of the nation painted by the census is accurate.

So statement 2 looks more like a conclusion drawn from statement 1. Thus if both the above statements are true then we can infer that equal percentage of rich and poor go uncounted without relying on any additional information. Choice C is not an independent fact to make it an assumption.
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Re: The U.S. census is not perfect: thousands of Americans  [#permalink]

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18 Dec 2012, 19:26
Another subtle difference between assumption and inference is that given the argument an inference is derived from the argument whereas an assumption is an independent fact.

Example of an assumption

Premise: Roger is a rich man

Conclusion: Roger does not follow the law

In coming to the conclusion we make the assumption that rich men do not follow law. The correctness of the argument is derived from the assumption. The premise by itself cannot make the conclusion correct. You need the assumption.

In our case the statement that both some rich and some poor go uncounted along with the statement that the basic statistical portrait of the census is accurate imply that any one group is not disproportionately considered in the census. You do not need the statement that the percentage of rich left out is the same as that of the poor left out for supporting the argument.
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Re: The U.S. census is not perfect: thousands of Americans  [#permalink]

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18 Jan 2013, 03:05
Stimulus:
census is not perfect
BUT, statistical portrait is accurate
BECAUSE if there are uncounted poor, there are uncounted rich.

What is the assumption?

(C) The percentage of poor Americans uncounted by the census is close to the percentage of rich Americans uncounted.

This nicely explains the relevance of the author's explanation about uncounted rich and poor to the accuracy of statistical portrait.

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

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08 Jul 2015, 07:20
I had stumbled upon B as well, but on re-checking, I think it's C.
I had thought of presence of a middle-class while supporting B, but what B is talking about is whether a person can be correctly classified as poor or rich
Below is a scenario in which B fails yet the portrait is accurate
Rich: 60 Not covered: 15
Poor: 40 Not covered: 10
Wrongly classified rich: 2
Wrongly classified poor: 2
if none of the wrongly classified person was covered in the census, still the conclusion holds intact as the percentages are correct
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Re: The U.S. census is not perfect: thousands of Americans  [#permalink]

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09 Dec 2015, 08:50
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.

If you want to easily find the assumption, pay attention to each word of the conclusion and justify each word of the conclusion with premises. Try to find any inconsistency between conclusion and premises. What the doubtful word in the conclusion? 'Thousans'' . Yeah , it needs to be justified. The premise only talks about 'some' . But in the conclusion, some becomes thousands to represent big number, which can't be insignificant. So, any answer choice addreses and tries to fill up this gap so that we can represent 'some' as 'thousands' will be the answer choice.
A, E both off topic.
C and D tries to say both group(rich and poor) are close in number or percentage.
Now, think with B. Asumption answe choices can allow new information but it must be relevant. It tries to represent some as big number as thousands, ignoring the middle class. If middle class is not ignored, then it would be tough to represent 'thousands' as 'some'. The conclusion sounds as significant number of ppl were uncounted. The option B tries to prove why.
Re: The U.S. census is not perfect: thousands of Americans &nbs [#permalink] 09 Dec 2015, 08:50

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