A survey taken ten years ago of residents of area L showed that although living conditions were slightly below their ...

Kim on November 9, 2014

Please Explain

Please explain the correct answer further

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Melody on November 25, 2014

We are told that ten years ago, even though the living conditions of area L were slightly below the country's average, most of the residents of L reported general satisfaction with their living conditions.

But, this year, the same survey showed that even though the living conditions of area L are about the same as the national average, most of the residents of L report general dissatisfaction with their living conditions.

We want to resolve the apparent conflict.

So, first thing first, what is the conflict? It seems that though ten years ago the living conditions of area L were below the average, more people were satisfied with the living conditions then than they are now when the living conditions of area L are about the same as the national average.

Now, this would be very odd if the national average stayed constant. But, we have not been given any information that states that the national average was constant.

So, think of it this way: what if ten years ago the national average living conditions were very good. Let's place a numerical value to it and say 100 is perfect. So, ten years ago the national average was 95 and area L was slightly below that at 80. That's still pretty high out of 100, so the people of area L would probably be generally satisfied.

Now, let's say that this year the national average dropped to 50. We are told that area L is "about the same as the national average" now, so it could be: 48. Even though now area L is closer to the national average, its living conditions have still lowered, which explains why the residents of L report general dissatisfaction with their living conditions.

So, for the discrepancy to be resolved, the national average living conditions must have gone down drastically, i.e. answer choice (B) "Between the times that the two surveys were conducted, the average living conditions in L's country had substantially declined."

Hope that clears things up! Please let us know if you have any other questions.