Friday 19 April 2013

Junk Statistics? Part 2

More common than Tories in Scotland

These are not made up, unlike 81% of statistics. (Old joke.)

#TUC poll 2012: on average people think 41% of Welfare budget goes to unemployed (truth - 3%) and fraud rate is 27% (truth 0. 7%) Tell all! (@GlenysKinnock, 7 Apr 2013 )

The differences between what people think about the welfare state and its reality are very striking. They believe that 41 per cent of the welfare budget is spent on the unemployed: the figure is actually 3 per cent. They believe that 27 per cent of the welfare budget is claimed fraudulently: the government estimates it is 0.7 per cent. Immigrants are actually big net contributors to the country’s finances and are less likely to claim housing or unemployment benefit. What characterises the welfare state, in fact, is the increasing dependence of working households on child and housing benefit. In December 2011, for instance, a quarter of in-work households in rented accommodation were dependent on housing benefit... The great bulk of welfare payment goes to those in work, not to the scroungers and the feckless. (London Review of Books, April 2013)

What many people don't know is that approx 75% of the population are net beneficiaries of the system - i.e. their benefits, NHS care, state education, defence, rubbish collection etc cost more than they put in in tax and NI. Only 25% of the population actually pay money IN to the system! (BBC Radio 4, More or Less)

Multiple pieces of research consistently suggest fewer than 15% of women aged 15-44 have more than one sexual partner in any given year (the figure for men is similar). (Guardian 2013. More stats here.)

"It remains a fact that only 16% of ethnic minority voters supported the Conservatives at the last election." (Musa Okwonga/‏@Okwonga) He's quoting from this poll conducted by Lord Ashcroft.

Having a #gun in the house ups risk of someone in home being murdered by 41%, but for women, risk spikes to 272%, acc to @amnesty.  (Lauren Wolfe/‏@Wolfe321 agrees)

Wow. Those reporting "Christian" down to 59% from 72% and no religion up from 15% to 25% #census #census2011 (@andrewcopson, 11 Dec 2012 Full stats here.)

A 2009 study found that over 30% of new couples in America met online. (Time magazine)

In the UK, 34% of households have one person living in them and in the US it's 27%. (Euromonitor They may not all be single, though.)

A child was sexually attacked every 20 minutes last year, according to new figures the NSPCC has obtained from the police. The statistics also reveal that more than a third of all sex crimes are committed against children but fewer than 10% of reported child sex offences ended in someone being sentenced. (The Week, April 4, 2012)

In the UK, six children and two adults have been killed by dogs since 2006.

10,000 Brits a year return from Australia with their emigration dreams in ruins, says TV programme Wanted Down Under.

Marriage increases happiness by 10%, but every child reduces it by 0.24%. Stats from MIT January 3, 2012

In every country, people vastly overestimate the immigrant share of the population. (@plegrain/Philippe Legrain)

Being single costs an extra £250,000 over a lifetime. (BBC)

1 in 5 US women victims of sexual assault. (BBC)


There are a lot of stats about ebooks and reading:

Ebooks have taken 14% of the book market. (A new BookStats joint report from the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group says ebooks exploded in the adult fiction category last year, accounting for 30 percent of net publisher sales in 2011 – up from 13 percent the year before.)

Did you know that almost 30% of the adult population in North America didn’t read a single book last year? And 60% of Americans admitted to not reading a novel last year, while 40% of college grads claim they never crack another book after graduating. (Women tend to read more – 25% of them did not read a book last year versus 35% of men. The non-readers tend to be older and have lower income and education level. An average reader, on the other side, claims to read 4 books a year.

74.8 million people read an English-language romance novel in 2008… In the UK, over 20% of all fiction books sold each year are romance novels… In 2004, sales of romance novels in Australia increased 28% over the year before. Between 1999 and 2004 there was an increase of 40–50% in the number of new titles released. Harlequin received 20,000 unsolicited manuscripts each year. (Wikipedia)

According to a 1978 study, 45% of Americans do not read books at all.

Lots of factlets at language.log. Of course, Americans spend all their time on the Internet, instead of watching TV like they oughta.

At 16, there is an 80% chance you have already met the person you are going to marry. (Seems to be a dubious Twitter meme.)

One million UK households don’t speak English. (Jackie Ashley, quoted Dec 2012) ONS estimates one million households don't speak English "as a main language" (but may well be fluent) (Daniel Trilling/@trillingual)

Over 150 million cans of Spam are sold annually. (says manufacturer Hormel Foods)

70% of Twitter users have boyfriends or girlfriends. (Twitter meme)

12,000 people a year are hospitalised by their pets. (Times, May 2 2012 Fall injuries serious enough for treatment in emergency rooms averaged nearly 87,000 per year in the U.S. from 2001 to 2006, almost 88% of them caused by dogs.

Few adults lived beyond the age of about 40 in the Middle Ages. (Der Spiegel, April 2012 Probably average life expectancy. If you survived to 21, you might expect to live to 64. It's all explained here.)

Approximately 100 people die each year when they are stepped on by cows, says composer Murray Gold. (Health and Safety Executive figures show that over 481 people have been injured by cows in the past eight years.

25 pubs close every week. (More like 14, and falling, says

I read recently that Britain is the third-largest importer of human hair in the world. China and America take the first two places on that strange podium. ( Reuters confirms.)

76% white and male? That's today's UK professoriate. (@Mary_Churchill From The Times Higher Education Supplement)

Scotland now has more pandas than Tory MPs. And there are fewer Sealyham terriers in existence than there are tigers. (Both probably true.)

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

Species are disappearing at the rate of 40,000 a year. (In 1998, Greenpeace’s official biodiversity report said that half the world’s species ‘are likely to disappear within the next 75 years... In Norman Myers' book The Sinking Ark of 1979, he argued that 40,000 species were being lost every year - 109 a day... but references are as rare as the dodo.

The average Briton is caught on CCTV camera 300 times a day. (No, says The Guardian, Mar 3 11

How many people were burned as witches during the persecutions of the 1500s? How many are cured by Alcoholics Anonymous or find love through Internet dating? If you know, do tell.

More here.

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