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Differences Between Two Proportions

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Study Sheet

Page 1 of 6

is binomial, since p

is just a proportion of

The setting of the sampling distribution of p

successes to the total number of trials. When the sample is large enough that the expected

number of successes and failures is at least 10, you can approximate the binomial

distribution with a normal distribution. This means that, when the right conditions are met,

you can use z-procedures when you do inference for proportions.

Comparing Two Proportions

Any time you're comparing two independent proportions, you're looking at p1 and p2 . For

1 and p

2 , where p

1 =

confidence intervals, these two proportions are estimated by p

2 =

and p

x1

n1

x2

.

n2

Remember that a confidence interval follows the form

(estimate) (critical value)(standard error), where:

1 p

2 ).

A. The (estimate) is ( p

B. The critical value is a z-value, as long as you meet the criteria for a normal

approximation to the binomial. These are:

=

1 10, n1 (1 p

1 ) 10, n2 p

2 10, and n2 (1 p

2 ) 10. Note that some texts

n1 p

use 5 instead of 10; both are common rules of thumb. Also, remember that it isn't

sufficient to just assume these conditions are met, you must show that they're

met.

These are the critical z-values for the most common confidence levels:

Level

90%

95%

99%

z*

1.645

1.96

2.58

Statistics Assignment

Differences Between Two Proportions

Study Sheet

=

Page 2 of 6

The standard error of the difference between the estimates of the population

proportions is calculated as SE p p =

1

2

1 (1 p

1 ) p

(1 p

2 )

p

+ 2

.

n1

n2

Putting all of this together, you get the following as your confidence interval for the

1 p

2 z*

difference between two populations: p

1 (1 p

1 ) p

(1 p

2 )

p

+ 2

.

n1

n2

When we calculate a test statistic for a significance test about a population proportion, we're

always justified in pooling our estimates of the population proportions. This is because we

assume the population proportions are equal in our null hypothesis H0 : p1 = p2 .

Pooling these estimates gives us an estimate of the proportion,

=

p

X1 + X 2

,

n1 + n2

SE p =

1

1

is the pooled value of p

.

(1 p

)

p

+

, where p

n1 n2

This pooled standard error is then used as the denominator for the z-test statistic that we

compute for our significance test:

z=

1 p

2

p

1

1

(1 p

)

+

p

n1 n2

To use this procedure, we need to make sure we've met the same conditions that are

necessary for using a z confidence interval. However, when we compute the expected

, rather

number of successes and failures for a test statistic, we use the pooled estimate p

1 and p

2 : N1 10 n1 , N2 10 n2 , n1 p

10,

than p

) 10, n2 p

10, and n2 (1 p

) 10.

n1 (1 p

Thus for confidence intervals, you use the individual estimates of the population

proportions, but for significance testing, you use a pooled estimate of the population

proportion, and calculate a pooled standard error.

Statistics Assignment

Differences Between Two Proportions

Study Sheet

Page 3 of 6

1. Set up your null and alternative hypotheses:

H0 : p1 p2 = 0

H a : p1 p2 > 0, p1 p2 < 0, or p1 p2

(You can also write the hypotheses as H0 : p1 = p2 , H a : p1 > p2 , p1 < p2 .)

2. State the test you plan to use, and show that you've met the conditions necessary to

use the test.

If your alternative hypothesis is one-sided, you must use a z-test, and you must meet

the following conditions:

=

N1 10 n1

N2 10 n2

10, n1 (1 p

) 10, n2 p

10, and n2 (1 p

) 10

n1 p

Again, when you compute the expected number of successes and failures for a test

, rather than p

1 and p

2 .

statistic, you use the pooled estimate p

If your alternative hypothesis is two-sided, you can use a z-test or a confidence

interval. If you use a confidence interval, you must satisfy the same conditions you

would for a test statistic, except that when you're computing the expected number of

1 and p

2 instead of the pooled estimate p

.

successes and failures you use p

3. Calculate your confidence interval, or calculate your test statistic and P-value.

Confidence intervals were already covered, so here's how to calculate the test statistic

and P-value for a significance test:

x1 + x 2

.

n1 + n2

=

Calculate your pooled estimate: p

1

2

1

1

=

(1 p

)

p

+

, where p

n1 n2

1 p

2

p

Find the P-value for your test statistic, using a calculator or a standard normal

probability table.

1

1

(1 p

)

p

+

n1 n2

4. Draw a conclusion based on your P-value. If the P-value is low enough, you reject the

null hypothesis.

Statistics Assignment

Differences Between Two Proportions

Study Sheet

Page 4 of 6

Worked Example:

Try this question on your own on a separate piece of paper before looking at the answers.

Then do the Assignment questions.

Out of a random sample of 250 college students on the east coast, 169 say they live away

from home, and out of random sample of 250 college students on the west coast, 182 say

the same. (For this example, think of east-coast college students as sample 1 and westcoast college students as sample 2.)

A.

Show that z-procedures can be used to construct a confidence interval for the difference

between the proportion of east-coast college students and west-coast college students.

B.

Using a 99% confidence interval, can you conclude that there's a difference between the

proportion of east-coast college students and the proportion of west-coast college students

who live away from home? Show your work.

C.

Show that you can use a z-procedure to calculate a z-test statistic for a significance test

about the difference between the proportion of east-coast college students and the

proportion of west-coast college students who live away from home.

D.

Using = .05, set up your hypotheses and draw a conclusion about whether the proportion

of east-coast college students who live away from home is less than the proportion of westcoast college students who live away from home. Show your work.

Statistics Assignment

Differences Between Two Proportions

Study Sheet

Page 5 of 6

Answers:

A.

The situation is binomial because the populations of east-coast and west-coast

college students are both more than ten times the size of their respective samples.

We can use the normal approximation because each sample has more than 10

successes and failures:

1 = (250)(.676) = 169 successes

n1 p

2 = (250)(.728) = 182 successes

n2 p

1 ) = (250)(.324) = 81 failures

n1 (1 p

2 ) = (250)(.272) = 68 failures

n2 (1 p

B.

1 p

2 ) z*

(p

1 (1 p

1 ) p

(1 p

2 )

p

+ 2

=

n1

n2

.052 2.58

.676(.324) .728(.272)

+

=

250

250

.219024 .198016

+

=

250

250

Conclusion:

Based on the 99% confidence interval (.15737, .05337), we cannot conclude that

there is a difference between the proportion of east-coast college students and the

proportion of west-coast college students who live away from home.

C.

The situation is binomial because the populations of east-coast and west-coast

college students are both more than ten times larger than their respective samples.

The expected number of successes and failures is at least 10 for each sample:

= (250)(.702) = 175.5 successes

np

) = (250)(.298) = 74.5 failures

n(1 p

Note that, since the sample sizes are the same, the success and failure calculations

only have to be done once.

Statistics Assignment

Differences Between Two Proportions

Study Sheet

Page 6 of 6

D.

Hypotheses:

H0 : p1 p2 = 0 (The proportion of east-coast college students who live away from

home is the same as the proportion of west-coast college students who live away

from home.)

H a : p1 p2 < 0 (The proportion of east-coast college students who live away from

home is less than the proportion of west-coast college students who live away from

home.)

Calculations:

1 =

p

x1

169

= .676

=

n1

250

2 =

p

x2

182

= .728

=

n2

250

=

p

z=

x1 + x 2

169 + 182

351

=

= .702

=

n1 + n2

250 + 250

500

1 p

2

p

1

1

(1 p

)

p

+

n1 n2

.052

.209196(.004 + .004)

.676 .728

1

1

.702(1 .702)

+

250

250

.052

.001673568

.052

= 1.2711

.0409093

Conclusion:

We conclude, based on = .05 and a P-value of p = .1018, that we cannot reject the

null hypothesis. Thus we conclude that the proportion of east-coast college students

who live away from home is the same as the proportion of west-coast college

students who live away from home.

_____________

Copyright 2000 Apex Learning, Inc. All rights reserved. This material is intended for the exclusive use of

registered users only. No portion of these materials may be reproduced or redistributed in any form without the

express written permission of Apex Learning, Inc.

Statistics Assignment

Differences Between Two Proportions

Page 1 of 2

Answer each question completely and show your work. Send your work back to your

instructor.

1.

A. When you construct a confidence interval for the difference between two

proportions, what do you use as an unbiased estimate of the difference

between the two proportions? (1 point)

B. What's the formula for the standard error of the difference between the

estimates of the population proportions ( SE p p ) used in a confidence interval

1

2.

A. What's the null hypothesis for a significance test about the difference between

two proportions? (1 point)

)

B. What's the formula for the pooled estimate of the population proportions ( p

used in calculating a test statistic for a significance test about the difference

between two proportions? (1 point)

C. When you conduct a significance test about the difference between two

proportions, what's the formula for the standard error of the difference

between the population proportion estimates ( SE p )? (Hint: Remember that,

1

when you're conducting significance tests about the difference between two

proportions, the standard errors are pooled.) (1 point)

3. Why are we justified in pooling the population proportion estimates and the

standard error of the difference between these estimates when we conduct

significance tests about the difference between population proportions?

(1 point)

4. You want to know if there's a difference between the proportions of high-school students

and college students who read newspapers regularly. Out of a random sample of 500

high-school students, 287 say they read newspapers regularly, and out of a random

sample of 420 college students, 252 say they read newspapers regularly. For this

question, think of high-school students as sample one and college students as sample

two.

A. Construct a 95% confidence interval for the difference between the proportions

of high-school students and college students who read newspapers regularly.

Be sure to show that you've satisfied the conditions for using a z-interval.

(5 points)

B. Draw a conclusion, based on your 95% confidence interval, about the

difference between the two proportions. (2 points)

Statistics Assignment

Differences Between Two Proportions

Page 2 of 2

high-school students who read newspapers regularly is significantly lower than

the proportion of college students who read newspapers regularly, what would

you use as your null and alternative hypotheses? (2 points)

D. Calculate p

significance test about the difference between the proportions of high-school

students and college students who read newspapers regularly. (1 point)

E. Demonstrate that these samples meet the requirements for using a zprocedure for a significance test about the difference between two proportions.

(2 points)

F. Calculate SE p , the pooled estimate of the standard errors of the proportions

you'd use in a z-procedure for a significance test about the difference between

two proportions. (1 point)

G. Calculate your test statistic and P-value for the hypothesis test H0 : p1 = p2 ,

H a : p1 < p2 . (4 points)

H. Draw a conclusion about the difference between the two proportions using

= .05. Is the proportion of high-school students who read the newspaper on a

regular basis less than the proportion of college students who read newspapers

regularly? (2 points)

_____________

Copyright 2000 Apex Learning, Inc. All rights reserved. This material is intended for the exclusive use of

registered users only. No portion of these materials may be reproduced or redistributed in any form without the

express written permission of Apex Learning, Inc.

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