Another amazing statistic

Once again, I have come across an amazing item of statistical idiocy.  In "The Times" (very trusted newspaper) yesterday, we could read that 35% of marriage proposals happen in December and 1 in 6 couples get engaged on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  (The TV programmes must be so dull!)  Read on and you find that the average ceremony costs £32,273. 

First, who needs to know the exact pounds?  What use is it to anyone?  Second, how was it measured to such accuracy?  Third, who did the measuring?  Ah, we read on - the figure comes from "hitched" a wedding planning website.  So, we are part way to our answer.  This data came from those couples who registered with the website, used their facilities, and dutifully recorded their budget and expenditure.  This is not a representative sample of weddings - and the financial figure is based on a series of items of data which are both incomplete and unverified.

Why didn't someone in the editorial office of the newspaper spot the absurdity of this story and rewrite it in a meaningful way? 


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