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All Things Being Equal

This rather amorphous category is the source of many LSAT questions. Usually, two situations are given that appear similar in all important aspects. From these two apparently similar situations, a conclusion will be drawn that may be surprising or contradictory. Your task in these problems is to show or speculate that there is a critical dissimilarity between the two situations (i.e., Not All Things Are Equal). The following example is a classic all-things-being-equal question.
If the public library shared by the adjacent towns of Redville and Glenwood were relocated from the library’s current, overcrowded building in central Redville to a larger, available building in central Glenwood, the library would then be within walking distance of a larger number of library users. That is because there are many more people living in central Glenwood than in central Redville, and people generally will walk to the library only if it is located close to their homes.
Which one of the following, if true, most strengthens the argument?
  1. The public library was located between Glenwood and Redville before being moved to its current location in central Redville.
  2. The area covered by central Glenwood is approximately the same size as that covered by central Redville.
  3. The building that is available in Glenwood is smaller than an alternative building that is available in Redville.
  4. Many of the people who use the public library do not live in either Glenwood or Redville.
  5. The distance that people currently walk to get to the library is farther than what is generally considered walking distance.
This question hinges on the population densities of the two cities. Suppose Glenwood’s population is twice Redville’s but that the area of Glenwood is 10 times as large as the area of Redville. Then the population density of Glenwood would be one-fifth that of Redville. Hence, fewer people in Glenwood would be within walking distance of the library.
The figure below illustrates the situation:
However, if the areas covered by Glenwood and Redville are roughly the same, then the population density of Glenwood would be greater than that of Redville. Hence, there would probably be more people within walking distance of the library in Glenwood than in Redville. The answer is (B).

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