Benford's Law

Does nature occur by chance?


It was realized that in logarithmic tables, those starting with a digit one were more worn than those starting with higher digits. This meant that the number one tends to occur more often than other digits. This law is named after physicist Frank Benford who stated it in 1938.


Benford's law refers to the distribution of digits in many but not all real-life sources of data. In this distribution, the number one occurs about 30% of the time while other higher digits like the number nine occurs about 5% of the time. This law has been found to apply to a wide variety of data sets like the length of rivers, heights of mountains, depth of lakes.In addition to birth and death rates, and mathematical and physical constants. However, this law does not apply to human manipulated datas or datas influenced by human thought.


Benford's law in detecting fraud

Since people who make up figures tend to distribute their digits more uniformly then we can know that these figures are false by a simple comparison between the distribution of these digits and the distribution predicted by Benford.

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