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Book of Odds

Bev Butula

Bev Butula

I had to start out the year with a website that can be insightful and entertaining. The Book of Odds is a website that presents the probability things. For example, according to the site, 1 in 4.98 licensed drivers failed their written test. Or, the odds of a student aged 5-17 in the Midwest is home-schooled are 1 in 50.12.

So, how do they come up with this information? The website details their methodology and clearly lists their sources when presenting the data. The folks at Book of Odds state, “Book of Odds employs talented researchers from top universities to create the odds of everyday life. We have a controlled process of data collection, curation, and computation that has been developed and refined over three years of practice. Computation is generally straightforward and retrospective, using empirical data to estimate probabilities. We place a high value on transparency and display a full citation for every underlying source of data used in the computation of every Odds Statement.”

The website provides a search tool that allows for a keyword search. Once a general word search is executed the results can be refined by several factors including topic, demographic data or geographic area.

The site also offers some data in a visual format. For example, there is a chart outlining the prevalence of hypertension. A criticism I have, however, is that the chart is not dated (that I could find). For more information, check out the “getting started” page.

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