Number Analysis

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By Sarah Barchus

In an article by the Cable News Network, the reporter effectively used numbers to inform readers of the size and composition of the LGBT community according to a recent Gallup poll.

The reporter said that 3.4% of Americans identify themselves as LBGT. This percentage is helpful to understand the portion of the American community that the LGBT comprise.

The reporter also uses percentages to break down the ethnicity, gender, political affiliation, age and education demographics of the LGBT population.

Again, these percentages give readers an idea of who is the LBGT community.

The reporter did use math in one paragraph to make clear how many men and woman consider themselves LBGT. The reporter said 3.6 percent of woman identified themselves as LBGT, compared to 3.3 percent of men. This is helpful for understanding the proportion of LBGT people within their gender categories. The reporter helped readers understand the numbers further, by telling them that 52 percent of the LBGT community is women. This puts the numbers in a different context and thus, gives them more meaning.

The reporter decided to include the number of same-sex partner/spouse households taken from the 2010 census, which measured sexual orientation for the first time. This is a different way of telling readers information because it gives them the exact number, which may help them picture the statistics in a different way.

The numbers were not overwhelming because they were the story. The reporter structured the story and separated the numbers in ways that were easy to read. My eyes were not numbed by the numerals.

The reader could have potentially used numbers in a different way by saying "so many out of so many were this." Sometimes that makes percentages more visible.


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This page contains a single entry by barch009 published on November 6, 2012 9:04 PM.

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