Yet another weird SF fan


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Yet another weird SF fan
 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

An Inadvertently-Informative Study

A much-quoted recent study found that:

In 2008, 53 percent of all households headed by an immigrant (legal or illegal) with one or more children under age 18 used at least one welfare program, compared to 36 percent for native households with children. Immigrant use of welfare tends to be much higher than natives for food assistance programs and Medicaid. Use of cash and housing programs tends to be very similar to natives. A large share of the welfare used by immigrants is received on behalf of their U.S.-born children. But even households with children comprised entirely of immigrants still have a welfare use rate of 47 percent.

The above figures come from an analysis of the public use file of the March 2009 Current Population Survey collected by the Census Bureau. The survey asks about use of welfare programs in the calendar year prior to the survey. The eight major welfare programs reported above are SSI (Supplemental Security Income for low-income elderly and disabled), TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families), WIC (Women Infants and Children food program), free school lunch, food stamps (now called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), Medicaid (health insurance for those with low incomes), public housing, and rent subsidies.

Let us now apply the “Bloggs Test” (last used here to bash a study that praised liberal atheists):
  1. Figure out what Joe Bloggs (an average reader) would conclude from the report. If the report was strongly stated, it was probably either written by an activist who was trying to get people to believe that conclusion or by someone who based it on the activists' press releases. (In this case, Joe Bloggs would conclude that immigrants are parasites.)
  2. Determine the strongest potential piece of evidence that would point in the same direction. If that evidence were true, the report would have mentioned it. (In this case, it would be a report that immigrants are major users of the two biggest Federal welfare programs: Social Security and Medicare.)
  3. In the absence of such evidence being mentioned, conclude that it doesn't exist.
In other words, we can conclude from this inadvertently-informative study that immigrants are less likely to receive Social Security and Medicare than natives.

By the way, the other ignorant army claims the Bloggs Test can be used for improving scores on standardized tests, which they regard as somehow unfair.

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