The Boston Foundation has just put out a Greater Boston Housing Report Card [PDF], and drew some ridiculous conclusions. John A Keith of the Boston Real Estate Blog explains [via]:
From the report:
2004 estimated renter income: $24,132
2004 estimated monthly rent: $1,498
% of median income needed to pay rent in 2004: 74%
1) earlier in their report, the authors estimate rents on two-bedroom apartments throughout the city. They estimate a two-bedroom apartment in the Fenway would cost $1,498 per month. A two-bedroom apartment. Would one person, making $24,132, rent a two-bedroom apartment? Why would they? If they did rent a two-bedroom apartment, they’d have a roommate, thereby reducing their share of the monthly rate to $749. Rent would therefore require only 37% of their gross income.
He goes on to question another aspect of their methodology — using the advertised rental rates, which are often higher than what a landlord can get. It’s an interesting discussion, because there is obviously a diminishing pool of “affordable” housing in Boston. The median home price in our fair city of Cambridge is well over $600,000…
It always surprises me, the carelessness with which people use statistics. No where is this more true than in the education reform debate. For instance, when politicians say, “Half of our kids read below their grade level”. This kind of statement is used to provoke anxiety, and to justify raising (sic) standardized test requirements.
What they don’t choose to explain, (or understand for that matter), is that this is precisely the definition of grade level — 50% above the line, 50% below. That’s how you set a grade level, for god’s sake.
I cringe everytime I hear statistics being manipulated like this.