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Demographics is the so-called "science" of population statistics — a study of the styles, preferences, habits, and qualities of a particular group of people. As with any statistically-based science, it is can often be subjected to varying degrees of bullshit. Demographics are frequently used in the formulation of public policy, politics, and advertising fancy overpriced material goods.
edit Common demographic classes
Some of the common classes used in demographics for the categorisation of the population include, but are not limited to:
- Consumer habits
- Favorite color
- Dancing skills
- Favorite brand of beer
- Favorite Star Wars movie
edit Specific areas of bullshittery
Bullshitting by getting demographics wrong is easy enough. The two main problems are:
- Confusing a statistical trend with a rule. e.g., statistically, more men than women like football, therefore all men like football. We call this fallacy stereotyping — which is even worse when the "rule" isn't even backed up by the statistical evidence.
- Mistaking one statistical trend as applying outside the demographic. This is why medical trials always specify the status of the type of people they're looking at. You can't take a study that looked at 65 year-old men and assume you'll see the same medical benefits in healthy women in their 20s. Often referred to as the spotlight fallacy.
Between these two points, pretty much every misuse of demographic data can be found.
A generation is the demographic concept of classifying individuals on the basis of the era in which they were born, as well as the significant events and popular culture that they have experienced in their formative years. The definitions of these are vague as hell and often vary or overlap to a certain degree, but some examples include:
- Lost Generation, born 1883–1900
- Greatest Generation, born 1901–1924
- Silent Generation, born 1925–1945
- Baby boomers, born 1946–1964
- Generation X, born c. 1965–1980
- Millennials (Generation Y), born c. 1980–1995
- Generation Z (iGeneration or Homelanders), born c. 1995–2010
- Generation Alpha, born c. 2010–present
A census is a regular attempt to count the number of people in an area or state, possibly so that resources (including politicians) can be distributed fairly. A census is also how quite a lot of data for demographic research is acquired. Censuses are often slightly skewed — not everybody gets counted for various reasons, there are usually quirks, and many people often view it as a blasted liberty.