Well then you probably are an outlier

There have been many discussions over the last few years here that describe typical Americans, Westerners, etc. Always some posters will chime in and say, I don’t do that, or I don’t own that, etc.. Like that is evidence that assertion made by the OP is potentially wrong, based upon their one anecdotal data point. Some people should just face that they are outliers or that the world has passed them by.


95% of Americans own a cell phone of some kind.

77% of Americans own a smartphone.

87% of the driving age population in the US have a drivers license.

95% of American households own a car.

The average American household owns 2.3 cars.

81% of Americans have some form of social media profile.

60% of eligible voters voted in the 2016 election.

Average age for first marriage for women in US is 27 and 29 for men.

It’s okay if you aren’t near the norm or the average, but it doesn’t mean that the assertions are flawed, it just means that you are probably an outlier.

Does the Dope skew less representative of the norm or averages? I’d guess probably.





We have 3. We would have 2.3 but my wife keeps hiding my chop saw. :mad:

Nope. Nope nope. BIG NOPE. (Stuff like this SDMB or other closed forum membership I won’t count. “Social Media” == Facebook, Twitter, etc.)


Nope. We married a bit earlier.

It depends if the OP claims that everyone (or everyone they know) fits the profile.
Then pointing out that you don’t is worthwhile.

I figure very few people are in the majority in every category, though, so I’d expect most people to be an outlier in some way, and it’s no surprise that people define themselves by the way they are different than the norm.

Are you me? Am I you? Same answers across the board. Well my wife doesn’t hide the chop saw, but there’s almost always one car that only runs 30% of the time so that should count.

83% of American households have cable television.

ETA: To help out the averages, we have two cars and married at 34

Yeah, that’s mostly reasonable. If I were told one of the above were false, I’d say the 2.3 cars/household sounds a bit high.

And I wonder what % of Americans of driving age had a driver’s license 20 years ago. I bet it was higher. And it looks like even the 87% number is from 2009. I wonder if it’s any lower now.

The single thing in that list that applies to me is I live in a household with a (single) car.

Wait, no, I have a very small social media profile too!

As I pointed out in another thread just this morning, most people who are participating in forums like this are usually in association with mainstream people, and rarely have any contact with the outliers. So there is the appearance in the mainstream that nearly everyone is mainstream, because its a closed societal loop. There are a lot more outliers than you think, but they are not sitting at computers commenting in SDMB.

I believe the exact opposite is true.

Yeah. Everyone is a minority, in probably most aspects.

As I pointed out in a recent thread (one of the gender blogposts in fact)…

• Generalizations aren’t evil

• People who are outliers — exceptions — benefit from a widespread understanding of the experience of folks like themselves; they do not need the erasure of generalizations.

• A generalization becomes a different thing when it shifts from being descriptive to being prescriptive. Being an outlier doesn’t make one evil, either.**

Defining someone as an “outlier” shifts the focus from what they DO or HAVE to what they ARE. I match all of the OP’s criteria except the last, so I’m mostly in the majority in these respects, yet if the criteria were different (age, health, sexual orientation, etc.), it would be a different match. But that has nothing to do with the negative connotations associated with being “different”. Don’t forget, from my point of view, you’re the one who’s different. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Notice how the OP just assumes that everyone here can read?

What happened to the 2.3 children?

Did all those kids get chopped off in vain?

I am an outlier and damned proud of it!

How many of you have 10 prescription meds in use?

Ha! I didn’t think so!

except that statistics, in general, are used to confirm a confirmation bias. lets just take one of your examples and flip it around a bit. if you say only 23% of americans dont own a smartphone, one might get the impression that it was a very small percent outside your class. but if i say that tomorrow 23% of americans will die suddenly, you’d think, omg thats a huge percentage! and by listing several categories with similar percentages you can give the impression that the sme person is represented in all the categories. but i’m willing to bet that nearly everyone here has at least one of those categories that does not fit them!

so when an op says that all people fit into these x number of categories, you have at least 2 problems with that statement: a large percentage is not in any way all, and only tells half of the story!

so outlier this!


I think that talking about characteristics of different nationalities and races usually comes primarily from a desire to generalize.

How is it useful information to find that the bell curve distibution of some trait or behaviour is shifted left or right for some group, but still with lots of overlap with other groups? What can we really do with that?
But in fact many people are very interested in finding such differences because, in practice, they want to generalize and say all white guys are X and all black guys are Y (and handwave any counter-examples).

And this is why many people, including me, will always push back against the initial, “harmless” observation.

Also “outlier” is used wrong all the time. It doesn’t just mean a data point that is in the minority, it needs to be way out there to be an outlier. So on the smartphone question, neither having a smart phone nor not having a smart phone are outliers. Owning 20 smartphones would be an outlier.

While I’m ranting, I see “spike” used wrong often too: it doesn’t mean any increase, it needs to be a sudden, large increase compared to the typical pattern.

I prefer to think of myself as a “Statistical Anomaly”.

Conversely, people tend to feel that they’re special for being in the minority when even that’s no big deal. 95% of Americans own a cell phone and you don’t? Neat. 5% of 318mil is 16 million people which is enough people to populate New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. You might be in a distinct minority but you’re not exactly a unicorn.

What’s the point of saying this?

Frankly, it reads to me, since it includes several insults, degrading remarks, and implications that “outliers are defective,” that the OP is opposed to minority rights and personal liberty.

After all, if you collect together enough statistical data, you will find that NO ONE IS NOT AN OUTLIER in one or more aspects.