Collecting and analyzing data on unemployment, inflation, and inequality help describe the complex world around us. When published by the government, such data are called official statistics. They are reported by the media, used by politicians to lend weight to their arguments, and by economic commentators to opine about the state of society. Despite such widescale use, explanations about how these measures are constructed are seldom provided for a non-technical reader.
This Measuring Society book is a short, accessible guide to six topics: jobs, house prices, inequality, prices for goods and services, poverty, and deprivation. Each relates to concepts we use on a personal level to form an understanding of the society in which we live: We need a job, a place to live, and food to eat.
Using data from the United States, we answer three basic questions: why, how, and for whom these statistics have been constructed. We add some context and flavor by discussing the historical background. This book provides the reader with a good grasp of these measures.
Chaitra H. Nagaraja is an Associate Professor of Statistics at the Gabelli School of Business at Fordham University in New York. Her research interests include house price indices and inequality measurement. Prior to Fordham, Dr. Nagaraja was a researcher at the U.S. Census Bureau. While there, she worked on projects relating to the American Community Survey.