Nate Silver crunches gun ownership stats

"An American child grows up in a married household in the suburbs. What are the chances that his family keeps a gun in their home?" Ultimate math clickbait at the New York Times today, sparked by the Newtown massacre: a virtuoso breakdown of American gun ownership statistics by Nate Silver.


  1. Weirdly, my work just blocked BoingBoing. When I called IS to question them about the new block they said that it was giving them too many results for “gun” and then refused to go into further detail. And then they tattled to my manager, so I got a talkin’ to. 

    Hooray for well-intentioned (I guess) but totally useless censorship! 

      1. Doesn’t work. I guess I’m just gonna have to wait for BoingBoing to stop being a blog about guns and making.

    1. By far the biggest difference, and the one that explains every other, including the political one, is the contrast between rural and urban populations.

  2. I wonder if there’s a way to measure how gun ownership correlates with the amount of FUD in your news-media of choice…

  3. Good data on how politics and gun-control correlates in the US, but it does not adequately answer the question “An American child grows up in a married household in the suburbs. What
    are the chances that his family keeps a gun in their home?” because a huge segment of the citizenry is apolitical.  Silver’s essay addresses this obliquely by following up with “according to the exit poll conducted during the 2008 presidential election.”  But I think it is useful to point out just how many potential gun owners were not accounted for.

    About a quarter or more of the eligible US citizenry doesn’t vote, assuming this data is correct:

    voter eligibility should be pretty close to gun buying eligibility (age 18+ and non-felon required for both) so there’s a large non-voting population that is at least eligible to own guns.

    Then figure that Silver’s data is collected from just the registered voters who did vote, who also responded to the exit poll, and who didn’t vote third-party or independent; his sample should be smaller still–then again perhaps he corrected for that?

    Not saying it is useless information, indeed I found it interesting.  But in this post and even in the linked article, it seemed to say that political affiliation was the be-all-end-all metric of how our citizens owned guns, which leaves out like one in four people (by my reckoning–I’m just a lay-person.)  Maggie posted a few days ago about how we need to quit finger-pointing at those outside our tribe about gun-control, and I agree.

    1.  for the record, I didn’t flag my responder’s comment, I just replied that I didn’t get where they were coming from.  not sure what happened after that, but something got flagged by someone.  anyhoo, it probably looks like it was me, but no.

      still, in my above comment I’m just going by what seems logical to me and some quick googling; if I missed something and you’re good with stats, let me know.

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