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Personal Probability

Marital Status. The probability that a randomly chosen 40-year-old woman is divorced is about 0.15. this probability is a long-run proportion based on all the millions of women aged 40. Let's suppose that the proportion stays at 0.15 for the next 20 years. Bridget is now 20 years old and is not married.

(a) Bridget thinks her own chances of being divorced at age 40 are about 5%. Explain why this is a personal probability.
(b) Give some good reasons why Bridget's personal probability might differ from the proportion of all women aged 40 who are divorced
(c) You are a government official charged with looking into the impact of the Social Security system on middle-aged divorced women. You care only about the probability 0.15, not about anyone's personal probability. Why?

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(a) Bridget thinks her own chances of being divorced at age 40 are about 5%. Explain why this is a personal probability.

The proportion cited in the problem (0.15) was found by looking at a large population of 40-year-old women. Of this large group, 15% of the women are divorced. However, each individual woman is either divorced, single, married, or widowed. A woman who is not yet 40, like Bridget, can try to estimate her personal probability of being divorced at 40. For some women, this probability will be less than 15%, equal to 15%, or greater than 15%. Such an estimate would ...

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