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Probability puzzles require you to weigh all the possibilities and pick the most likely outcome.


Puzzle ID:#6367
Fun:*** (2.2)
Difficulty:*** (2.78)
Submitted By:cathalmccabe***
Corrected By:BobbyKat




The chances of a mother giving birth to a son compared with a daughter are 55%-45% (This is true in the real world due to a higher male infant mortality rate although the percent might be closer together depending on the type of country. 1st world, 3rd world - more males are born than females)

In a family of four children, what are the odds a mother will have 2 boys and a girl?

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Aug 15, 2002

Aug 15, 2002

I read this as a trick teaser - if there is 4 children then the possibility of them being 2 boys and a girl would be 0 (3 into 4 doesn't go).
Aug 16, 2002

The way I read it, it's in probability and makes perfect sense. If you could do the maths you would understand that there is whats called a don't care term - Just to make it a little more interesting!
Aug 21, 2002

yeah i agree.....2 boys and a girl is not 4 children
Aug 24, 2002

thats 100000 too many numbers up there. who in hell would actually take the time to do that? Satan maybe.
Aug 28, 2002

I totally and 100% agree with Canary05 especially as I don't have da mathmatical ability 2 work it out anywayz!
(user deleted)
Sep 01, 2002

I am beginning to wonder if Cathalmcabe has actually got any of their teasers right? Neary every one I have seen is wrong or contains faulty information.
Sep 04, 2002

The guy meant 2 boys and 2 girls. Lighten up.
Sep 05, 2002

I know so many of you have said it, but i'll say it again. in the teaser, it was stated that there was a family of FOUR. then it was stated, and i quote, "What are the odd of being 2 boys and one girl?" 2+1=3, the odds are zero because you can never have only three kids in a family of four kids. In this situation.
Sep 07, 2002

No, you're wrong. He said it was a family of four children but if you looked at the solution it clearly states that he meant 2 boys and 2 girls. He made a mistake. Big deal.
Sep 13, 2002

Why does the phrase "2 boys" have to mean "exactly 2 boys"? If I ask, "Do you have $10?" and you look in your wallet/purse and find $30, are you going to answer yes or no? I would say yes. Ergo: I think the answer to the problem is correct.
Nov 07, 2002

If you assume the puzzler means at least two boys and at least one girl, the calculation holds.
Nov 07, 2002

I think some people need to go study some probability before commenting on these teasers. Four children, with two boys and one girl means that there are two possible scenarios that fit. Either there are two boys and two girls, or there are three boys and a girl. Both situations satisfy the criterion of there being two boys and a girl. The fourth child can be either a boy or a girl.
Jan 17, 2003

snaps is right. the open ended "2 boys and 1 girl" is quite common with probability problems. it's implied that the fourth child can be either. by complaining that it doesn't explicitly state the two cases is to illustrate one's lack of experience with mathematics and statistics.
Feb 26, 2003

AAAH. O.O Pardon me, but 0.0304384293583947593475934759375934759375 is a little much for me! @.@ You've ruined my brain :S
Mar 14, 2003

I disagree with the solution. You do not suspend common English in describing problems just because it is Mathematics. This is like a riddle "What has 2 legs and a long neck Answer: A giraffe, I didn't tell you about the other 2 legs." This might be fine as a joke but if you say there are 2 boys and a girl in the family you at least have to say at least!!! if you'll excuse the pun. 2 boys and a girl means 3 children. Those people who are arguing otherwise speak a different language to me. When you meet an old friend and ask if they have any children and they say 2 boys and a girl, then your normal reply would be "But how many children have you got?" or "What are the other ones then?" I don't think so!
Apr 01, 2006

"at least 2 boys and a girl" might be the best and avoid misunderstanding. (i actually dont speak english in my country so i dont wanna give many comments to the way you make a question)

your solution is too complicated. if there is a simple way why choose a complicated one? you can use "theorem on independent trials"

Theorem on independent trials:

let the probability of event E occuring be p. if this trial is repeated n times, the probability of E occuring exactly r times is:


the solution of your question will be:
p(2boy2girl)= 4C2(55%)^2(45%)^2= 0.3675375

p(3boy1girl)= 4C3(55%)^3(45%)= 0.299475

so the probability is: 0.3675375+0.299475= 0.6670125 (approx 0.67 = 2/3)

the answer is 2/3
Oct 21, 2006

Yeah, it's like saying I have a green eye and and a red hair.

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