Do you want the good news or the bad news?

How the media covers statistics can be very revealing as statistics can be used creatively to show whatever you want to show. A TV1 news report said that the bad news is that statistics have revealed that there were 135,000 kids living in poverty in 2015. The good news, however, was that the Government household incomes report showed that incomes have increased 11 per cent since 2008.

The bad news though was that housing costs have also increased. According to the article people living in poverty in New Zealand are spending 51 per cent of their income on housing which is very bad news as that evil gap between the rich and the poor still hasn’t shrunk.

The news story discussed how terrible this number is and how the government is not doing enough to address the issue of thousands of children living in poverty.

Buried right at the end of the story was one small (and obviously barely relevant) factoid. In 2011 there were 220,000 thousand kids living in poverty and only four years later that number had dropped to 135,000.

The report also found that between 2011 to 2015 the number of children living in material hardship in New Zealand dropped from 220,000 to 135,000.

-TV1 News

That is an impressive 40% drop and very good news indeed. Why on earth was that good news not the headline and focus of the article?


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