FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why Does the Sum of the Indicator Scores Sometimes Not Add Up Exactly to the Total Score?

 
 
Sometimes, it may appear that the indicator scores for a country do not add up exactly to the total score. This does not indicate an error in the data. Rather, this is due to the rounding up- or down- of scores to one decimal place. Take this example from 2011:

 
Question: The sum of the original indicator scores, when rounded to one decimal point, is the same for both countries, 49.3. However, the sum of the rounded (to one decimal point) indicator scores totals 49.1 and 49.4. Why the variance?
 
Answer: The indicator scores are presented as numbers to one decimal place when in actuality, they are sometimes scored to many decimal places. Thus, the number that is presented in the data provided on the grids and in much of our literature is only a rounded (-up or -down) representation of a much more precise number. The total score upon which countries are ranked is actually a sum of the original multiple-decimal-place indicator scores, not the rounded-up numbers. Because of this, the total score may be one or two decimal points off of the sum of the individual rounded indicator scores due to variance introduced through rounding up or down.