Ed Driscoll

Statistical Surprise

Neo-Neocon asks a couple of very interesting questions:

A while back, in the course of doing some research on World War II and the Holocaust, I came across a statistic that absolutely stunned me: the percentage of Jews in the population of Germany immediately prior to World War II.

Since then, every so often I will ask people if they can guess what it might have been, and no one’s ever gotten it right, or even come close.

So, what percentage of the population of pre-WWII Germany do you suppose was Jewish? Take a moment and think about it. Then guess.

Here’s another one that no one ever seems to get right: the percentage of Jews in the population of Baghdad around the time of World War I. Take a moment and think about it. Then take a guess.

A hint: whatever you’re thinking, neither number will be what you expect–by a long shot. Don’t miss the comments, either.