Statistics and culture

Stephanie Wilson (swilson@CHEMONICS.COM)
Fri, 18 Oct 1996 08:43:04 -0400

Another aside on the poverty/statistics thread:

I was talking to a friend who works for an elementary school trade publication yesterday. He
was having trouble with criticisms from a statistical center in the Department of Education
which has several hundred employees whose sole purpose is to generate statistics on education.
My friend said that one reason the U.S. always seems to come out as #1 in a lot of studies is
simply because we have more statistics available than most countries collect.

My question is: does there seems to be a concept in American culture that makes us always
compare ourselves to other countries? Is there something typically American about "wanting to
keep up with the Joneses"? Or does this phenomena also appear in other cultures?

Stephanie Wilson