Thursday 1 December 2011

Junk Statistics

You can prove anything with statistics - as long as you make them up.

Sex and Marriage

6 out of 10 women prefer chocolate to sex. (Fay Weldon in her latest book Sept 2006)

Men think about sex three times a second. (Latest figures say 19 times a day.)

43% of women experience sexual dysfunction.

50 per cent
of US marriages end in divorce. (Based on stats from one year - allegedly.)
One in three marriages ends in divorce? Not true. The risk of divorce varies hugely according to age, class and length of marriage. Once you've survived the first seven years, the risk of divorce drops dramatically. Marriage kills passion? Not true. People in long-term relationships have more and better sex than single people. A lack of commitment is to blame for relationships breaking down? Not true. On average, couples stick together for six years before taking steps to bail out. Kate Figes, Guardian January 16, 10

[Some amazingly high number of women] don’t have orgasms through penetration alone.

80% of conceptions are spontaneously aborted. (junk or questionable according to bloke quoted in New Scientist)

Child obesity has doubled in the last 10 years.

60% of young people don’t know that milk comes from a cow or eggs from chickens.

A generation of children knows virtually nothing about history. Michael Gove Nov 2011

Only 50% of French schoolchildren know about the Holocaust, the French education minister admitted last week. Marcel Berlins, Guardian February 20, 2008

48 percent of schoolchildren don’t know why we celebrate Easter/have never heard of the Holocaust.

A recent poll showed that 43% of the population have no idea what Easter celebrates, with the young most clueless. Polly Toynbee, Guardian April 14, 2006

One in four children are not the offspring of their supposed fathers. (…though nonpaternity rates of 10 percent and higher have routinely been cited in studies and textbooks, these numbers turn out to have little solid data behind them. Among the estimated rates they found: More than 30 percent — obtained from a researcher's remarks at a 1972 symposium on medical ethics, referring to a study (apparently conducted decades earlier in a single English town) that was never completed, much less published. 20 to 30 percent — from another aging and unpublished UK study; and 7 to 14 percent — from a 1990 study that relied (as later researchers would point out) not on any biology-based testing but on self-reporting by readers of a British women's magazine on the frequency and timing of their off-the-books intercourse.

Half of people under 30 don’t know how to boil or bake a potato (headline for piece about the Potato Marketing Board but the board didn’t quite say that)

A friend writes: Someone on this morning's Today show saying that some appallingly high percentage of "young people" think that peas and sweet corn are in season all year round... (May 29 09) 2 in 10 British people can’t recite any poetry (woman interviewed at Hay on Wye “I don’t get my students to learn poetry by heart – I don’t want to put them off it.” This is in the top ten silliest remarks of all time.) Or is it only 2 in 10 can?

Women, men
In the Renaissance, 50% of nobly born women were shut up in convents. Aristocratic families were loth to stump up dowries for more than one daughter. The rest were walled away. In Milan in the 1600s, three-quarters of the female nobility were cloistered.

75% of women wear bras that don’t fit

76 percent of women hate their bodies. Only one in 50 British women is happy with the way her body looks, a survey claims today. Evening Standard April 11 06 Grazia magazine poll found the average woman worried about her body every 15 minutes... while 29 per cent worried about their size and shape all the time... Grazia editor Jane Bruton said "98 per cent of British women hate their bodies.” 98% Carol Midgley Times January 13, 2011

Women utter 20,000 words a day, men 7,000.

Shakespeare had a vocabulary of 500 words, we use 3,000.


There are more Indian restaurants in London than in Mumbai and New Delhi combined. Sathnam Sanghera

Humans have only twice as many genes as the fly or worm. Humans have fewer genes than rice. (Or some other shockingly small number of genes.)

People tell an average of 10 lies a day More than four out of five people admit to telling little white lies at least once a day. Reuters, December 28 2006 (Or is it three lies every ten minutes?)

Approximately 75% of all CVs have some form of embellishment and 25% contain outright lies.

50% of all advertising is wasted.

The attention span of a TV viewer is only ten minutes. (Amazon review of Alain de Botton’s Consolations of Philosophy)

The average Briton is caught on CCTV camera 300 times a day. “England has more CCTV then rest of Europe put together!” Anna Minton in Ground Control (Research based on two streets and extrapolated - allegedly.)

It’s 90% appearance and body language, 7% what you say. Only 7% of communication is verbal.

All white Americans are 12% black and vice versa (probably more mixed than they had thought, but DNA testers revised their figures down)

80% of Americans think they have been anally probed by aliens. "It's about alien abduction, an issue they take far more seriously in America, where something like one in three people claims to have experienced it, anal probe and all." Spectator Jan 4 2003 (It’s more like 3%, one survey concluded.)


One-third of all murders in England and Wales are "domestic." (BBC)

Two women in England and Wales killed by partner or ex-partner each week. Most are killed after repeated, escalating violence. (Home Office)

75% of American teenagers who take the virginity pledge subsequently lapse.

40% of people who go to a therapist quit after one session.

55% of Britons have read less than a third of the books on their shelves; 10% haven’t read a single one (a poll says).

About 30% of people on singles dating sites are married. (true)

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