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Statistics Assignment

Differences Between Two Proportions


Study Sheet

Page 1 of 6

Review: The Sampling Distribution of p


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

z-Intervals for the Difference Between Two Proportions


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:
=

The population is at least 10 times larger than the sample.

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

Significance Tests for the Difference Between Two Proportions

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

and a pooled standard error,

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

Review: Steps in a Hypothesis Test


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

Calculate your standard error: SE p p = SE p =


1
2

1
1
=
(1 p
)
p
+
, where p
n1 n2

your pooled estimate.


1 p
2
p

Calculate your standardized test statistic: z =

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

(.676 .728) 2.58

.052 2.58

.676(.324) .728(.272)
+
=
250
250

.219024 .198016
+
=
250
250

.052 2.58 .000876 + .000792 = .052 2.58 .001668 =

.052 2.58(.04084) = .052 .10537 = (.15737, .05337)


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

p = P(z < 1.2711) = .1018


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

for the difference between two proportions? (1 point)


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

C. If you wanted to use a test statistic to determine whether the proportion of


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)

, the pooled estimate of the population proportions you'd use for a


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.