Monday graph: 30000 Brits claim unemployment benefits in EU countries


Fresh from the Guardian!

EU_Unemployment_DatablogThere’s some data missing that may be relevant (I’m thinking especially about Britons claiming unemployment benefits in the Netherlands) but it’s still very interesting.

One thing the graph does very well is to remind us that yes, British people on benefits in EU countries do exist, it doesn’t only happen the other way around.

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LGBT rights in Europe- does religion influence gay rights policy?


Recently I came accross this map by ILGA-Europe:


The percentages you see on each country represent an aggregated score calculated by ILGA; 0% would mean the lowest score for LGBT rights and 100% the highest.

The East-West divide seems striking, but why is it so?

Freedom House’s Zselyke Csaky discusses  the idea that it may have to do with religion:

“A somewhat more plausible explanation emphasises the conservative-religious component in many of the region’s countries. Religion definitely plays a role in Poland’s constitutional ban on gay marriage, which has been in effect since 1997 and is strongly supported by the Roman Catholic Church. Support from the church was essential to the success of Croatia’s referendum as well, with Catholic bishops urging Croatians to vote “yes” to the amendment outlawing gay marriage. In Romania, an Orthodox priest running on an antigay platform collected the 100,000 signatures necessary to stand as an independent candidate in the European Parliament elections in May. And Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been forging a conservative image for a country that had previously been the first in the region to allow the registration of same-sex partnerships, in 2007.”

Fair does, but let’s try to analyse the data a bit more closely:

So,the most gay-friendly countries: Continue reading

On “voodoo polls” and why we shouldn’t ever use them


So, after writing about David Cameron’s shoddy use of statistics in the Telegraph and now the margin of error in one YouGov poll that might just have changed the fate of the referendum and what happens after, I found myself thinking a lot about how official statistics and opinion polls are being used and reported in the media, and what pitfalls lie there.

Today, for instance, i want to talk about the “voodoo poll”, so called because it’s about as scientific as voodoo (and presumably because for the serious researcher seeing it reported as a serious poll in the media feels like a stab in the heart from a distance).


A “voodoo poll”, or open access poll, is one where a non-probability sample of participants self-select into participation.

In human language: sampling is the use of a subset of the population to represent the whole population. In probability sampling (random sampling), we have ways of calculating the probability of getting any particular sample, and therefore we can rigorously infer from the sample to the general population.In non-probability sampling, we do not; and therefore we need to use them with care.

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Get Data on Origins and Destinations of the World’s Migrants, from Pew Global


Discovered via Pew Research’s Fact Tank.

The Global Migrant Stock interactive map lets you see the total number of people living outside their birth countries, counted both as immigrants in the countries they went to and as emigrants in the countries they left. It uses United Nations Population Division data and it’s very user-friendly.

Simply click on any country on the map to see the top origin countries for immigrants living in the respective country; click again on the same country to see the destination countries for its emigrants. Scroll down to read the stats and find out more.

For example:

uk migrants

Notice how the countries where most immigrants come from are not quite the same as the ones most hated by, say, readers of the Daily Express. Apart from Poland, all European countries of migration in the top 15 are Western Europe countries who have joined the EU well before the 80’s. Unsurprinsigly, also, we see quite a lot of Commonwealth countries and/or former British colonies.

Another interesting thing, as outlined by this article, is that The United Kingdom is home to the most diverse immigrant community in the world; which definitely puts the “great” in Great Britain. On the other hand, emigrants from France live in more countries than emigrants from any other nation (the top countries for French emigration being Spain, the US and Belgium, with the UK an honourable 6th). The country with the highest proportion of foreign-born inhabitants are the United Arab Emirates (84% of its population). The next three highest – Qatar (74%), Kuwait (60%) and Bahrain (55%) – also are in the Persian Gulf area.

Also, the same article points out, “countries with the fewest resources send lower shares of migrants”; it may be the casethat poverty pushes people out of their homelands in search of jobs, but at the same time those living in the most extreme poverty are the least likely to afford the initial resources to finance a trip; and the least likely to have information about work abroad opportunities. Therefore, “The Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Niger – countries with some of the lowest U.N. Human Development Index ratings and GDP per capita – all have less than 3% of their population living outside their borders.”

Monday Graph: The Scottish Independence Referendum and the collapse of the Conservative vote in Scotland



Well here we are, just 3 days lef to the Scottish Independence Referendum. Just until last month, it looked like the “Yes” vote was hardly approaching 40%, let alone stand any chance. Then September came and suddenly the possibility looks much more real; with that one Sunday Times Poll showing the Yes Campaign taking the lead with 51%; followed by two Survation and one ICM/Guardian polls indicating the No Campaign is back ahead- but only by an ever-so-slightly margin. (You can track Independence Referendum poll results here)

So, in other words…

How did we get here? A thought-provoking article on the Economist’s ‘Graphic Detail’ blog suggests that “An energetic campaign by the nationalists over the past months is one explanation. But the underlying causes go back much further. They lie in long-term shifts in the Scottish electoral landscape.”

Let’s look at the graphs published by the Economist:

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What can official employment statistics tell us? UK Statistics Authority Chair rebukes David Cameron


So, David Cameron claimed in a Daily Telegraph  article that “while most new jobs used to go to foreign workers, in the past year more than three quarters have gone to British workers”, presumably due to the Coalition’s immigration policy.

Except no, not really. All that the figures from the Office for National Statistics (that Cameron is basing his claims on) are telling us is that UK nationals  made up 76% of the increase in the number of people in work last year. Sir Andrew Dilnot, chair of the UK Statistics Authority, offered a detailed rebuttal of the PM’s use of data; which I believe anyone using official stats to make use of data to make a public policy point would benefit from reading.

So, let’s see:

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