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#1 2011-05-03 13:17:47

Registered: 2011-05-03
Posts: 1

I am trying to figure out the likelyhood of something I experienced

Hi folks,   Last month I took a new job with a company in San Diego , California. Once there I uncovered that of the 29 employees there that three were  relatives. One is a 2nd cousin and the other two are third cousins. I was blown away, I mean what are the odds of that?

Would this be a probability problem or is this combinatorics? I am not sure where to start and would love to find the formula to figure this out. My mother is super curious too.


PS- The job is awesome


#2 2011-05-03 13:40:53

From: Bumpkinland
Registered: 2009-04-12
Posts: 109,606

Re: I am trying to figure out the likelyhood of something I experienced

Hi bobobo;

Welcome to the forum!

I do not know of any formula for it. Offhand I would say that it his unlikely that it is due to chance. It is not uncommon for relatives to live close by. For them to be influenced by the same people and for them to find jobs close by. They would likely attend the same schools and have similar interests. Cousins also would probably be close in age.

In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.
If it ain't broke, fix it until it is.
Always satisfy the Prime Directive of getting the right answer above all else.


#3 2017-12-03 21:40:51

Monox D. I-Fly
From: Indonesia
Registered: 2015-12-02
Posts: 1,388

Re: I am trying to figure out the likelyhood of something I experienced

This post reminds me to my current situation. In my workplace where I have been working for four months, there are my college crush (admittedly, she was the reason I moved to work here in the first place), my close friend's wife (her husband was my co-worker in my previous workplace, and he was the one who told me that there was a job vacancy in my current one, my neighbor (the step-daughter of my father's close friend, no less), a distant relative (the daughter-in-law of my mother's cousin), a graduate from my high-school (she is my schoolmate's younger sister), and a graduate from the middle school where I underwent teacher training. The odds were... odd, though to be fair, I live near my workplace.

Actually I never watch Star Wars and not interested in it anyway, but I choose a Yoda card as my avatar in honor of our great friend bobbym who has passed away. May his adventurous soul rest in peace at heaven.


#4 2017-12-04 21:26:19

bob bundy
Registered: 2010-06-20
Posts: 8,462

Re: I am trying to figure out the likelyhood of something I experienced

hi Monox D. I-Fly

Your example shows why no theoretical formula is possible. For example, if someone hadn't told you about a job, you'd never have applied.  Some company bosses may have a preference for employing persons related to existing good workers because they think they'll get another good worker.  Or a boss may be prejudiced against doing that because it was a mistake in an earlier appointment.  Unless you know everything about everyone, you couldn't assess the probabilities and even if you had a super database capable of storing all the relevant information, it would be out of date by the time you got in all the data.

Best chance would be to try for an experimental result.  ie.  You collect lots of actual employment records and assess the probability from that.  I don't think it would lead to consistent results if you repeated the collection with new (random) data.


Children are not defined by school ...........The Fonz
You cannot teach a man anything;  you can only help him find it within himself..........Galileo Galilei
Sometimes I deliberately make mistakes, just to test you!  …………….Bob Bundy smile


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