Main content

### Course: AP®︎/College Statistics > Unit 10

Lesson 8: Confidence intervals for the difference of two proportions- Confidence intervals for the difference between two proportions
- Examples identifying conditions for inference on two proportions
- Conditions for inference on two proportions
- Calculating a confidence interval for the difference of proportions
- Two-sample z interval for the difference of proportions

© 2024 Khan AcademyTerms of usePrivacy PolicyCookie Notice

# Calculating a confidence interval for the difference of proportions

Calculating two-sample z interval to estimate the difference between two population proportions.

## Want to join the conversation?

- What happens when sample sizes are small? Just like single proportions case, we use t distribution?(3 votes)
- We could do a randomization test (also called a permutation test), but in general, it's just odd to use small samples to estimate proportions. Percentages/proportions try to place values on a scale of 0-1 (or 0% to 100%), so we don't get anywhere near the precision we're looking for when we use a small sample.(1 vote)

- Why do we not use a pooled proportion for the standard error here but we use it when we are looking calculating a p-value? Many times it seems that we evaluate significance based on whether the confidence interval crosses 0 to determine significance which often relates to the p-value. That is why I am confused why we don't use the pooled proportion here(2 votes)
- From the author:Hi! Here, we're making a confidence interval. The goal is to estimate the difference between the true underlying population proportions Pn and Ps. There's no assumption that those proportions are the same — we just want to estimate how different they might be.

A significance test has a different goal and set of assumptions. To test IF there's a difference, we assume that there is no difference between Ps and Pn. Then, we look at the sample difference and see if it could reasonably happen by chance alone when Pn and Ps are equal. We pool the proportions to get an estimate of that common value to be consistent with our assumption of equality in the null hypothesis.

Note that neither method is perfect for standard error, but they key is that they both work pretty well as advertised when we meet all of the conditions (eg a 95% CI will capture the true difference about 95% of the time, and a test with alpha = 0.05 will reject/fail to reject the null hypothesis about as often as it's supposed to.(2 votes)

- Suppose we have independent random samples of size n1=615 and n2=605. The proportions of success in the two samples are p1=.53 and p2=.45. Find the 90% confidence interval for the difference in the two population proportions(1 vote)
- If the difference in the proportion is p1-p2 then the confidence interval would be (0.033, 0.127).(3 votes)

- If the problem doesn't specify (p sub s - p sub n) like this problem does, does it matter which value should be subtracted from the other in the first term? Should that first term in the equation be nonnegative?(2 votes)
- I am not a math or statistics teacher, so I don't really know for sure. If you want a more definitive and certain answer than the one I am about to give you, you can ask a math or statistics teacher or do a Google search.

If the order of the subtraction is not stated in the problem, then I don't think that the order in which you do it matters. I don't think you should try to avoid the negativity of the values because sometimes there will be negative values in the confidence interval, and there isn't anything you can do to change that.

Also, I know this answer is two years too late, but I still hope this helps!

If I'm wrong, please don't hold this against me because I am still learning this material, but I wanted to help.(1 vote)

## Video transcript

- [Instructor] Duncan is
investigating if residence of a city support the
construction of a new high school. He's curious about the
difference of opinion between residence in the north
and south parts of the city. He obtained separate
random samples of voters from each region, here are the results. So let's see, in the
north 54 out of the 120 said they want the school,
66 said they didn't. In the south 77 said
they wanted the school, 63 said they didn't. Duncan wants to use these
results to construct a 90% confidence interval to estimate the difference in the
proportion of residence in these regions who support
the construction project. P sub S minus P sub N. So these are the true
parameters for the difference between these two populations. Assume that all of the
conditions for inference have been met. Alright, which of the
following is a correct 90% confidence interval
based on Duncan's sample? So pause this video and see
if you can figure that out and you will need a calculator and depending on your calculator you might need a Z table as well. In a previous video we introduced the idea of a two sample Z interval
and we talked about the conditions for inference. Lucky for us here they say the conditions for inference have been met. So we can go straight to calculating the confidence interval. And that confidence
interval is going to be the difference between
the sample proportions, so P sub S hat, so the sample
proportion in the south minus the sample proportion in the north, it's gonna be that
difference plus or minus our critical value, Z
star, times our estimate of the standard deviation
of the sampling distribution of the difference between
the sample proportions. And that is going to be our estimate is going to be P hat sub S times one minus P hat sub S, all of that over
the sample size in the south plus P hat sub N times
one minus P hat sub N, all of that over the
sample size in the north. Okay, so our sample
proportion in the south, I'll later use a calculator
to get a decimal value, but this is going to be in the south we have 77 out of 140 support it. So this is going to be 77 out of 140. In the north this is
going to be 54 out of 120, 54 out of 120. What is my critical Z value? Well here I'm gonna have
to either use a calculator or a Z table. Remember, we have a 90%
confidence interval. And so, let me see, I'll
draw it right over here. If this is a normal distribution and you wanna have a
90% confidence interval that means you're containing 90% of the distribution which
means each of these tails well combined they would have 10%, but each of them would have
5% of the distribution. And so I'm gonna look at a Z table that figures out how
many standard deviations below the mean do I need to be in order to get 5% right over here? And then that's going to tell me, well if I'm that far below or above that's gonna be my critical Z value. So let me get that Z table out. So I care about 5% and
I'm using this in a bit of a reverse direction, but let's see, 5%. So this a little over
5%, I'm getting closer to 5%, even closer to 5%, now
we've gotten right below 5%. So we're gonna be in
between this and this. I could just split the difference and I could just say,
1.6, let's just say 1.645 to go right in between. So this is going to be
approximately equal to 1.645. And then let's see, we
know what P hat sub S is, we know what P hat sub N is. In the south our sample size is 140 and in the north our sample size is 120. And so now I just have to type all of this into the calculator, which
is gonna get a little hairy, but we will do it together. For the sake of time we'll accelerate this typing into the calculator. But I'm gonna start with
calculating the upper bound and then we'll calculate the lower bound. And then I think I've
closed all my parentheses and so I think we're ready
to get the upper bound is going to be equal to
0.218 or approximately 0.202. So we can immediately look at our choices and see where is at the upper bound. And so this one is looking
pretty good, 0.202, but let's get the lower bound now. So I got my calculator back,
instead of retyping everything I'm just gonna put a minus here. So I go to second, and just
so you see what I'm doing, second entry, I see the entry back and then I can just
change, I can just change the part where right before the radical. So we are going to, alright,
so this just needs to be a minus, click enter,
and there you have it. Our lower bound is negative 0.002. And that is indeed this
choice right over here. So there we go, we have picked our choice.