Ecological Fallacy

The ecological fallacy is a type of faulty reasoning that sometimes is made in the interpretation of results that come from the analysis of aggregate data. This mistake occurs when data that exist at a group or aggregate level are analyzed and interpretations are then made (generalized) as though they automatically apply at the level of the individuals who make up those groups. For example, if a researcher used zip code level census data to determine that the proportion of women in the labor force was inversely correlated with the prevalence of mobile homes in that zip code, it does not necessarily follow that women who live in mobile homes are less likely to be employed than are women who do not live in mobile ...

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