The article below, written by the consumer affairs editor, Harry Wallop, is a typical trawl of the latest ONS Social Trends publication in order to present some statistics showing that the ‘British family is a museum piece’.
It is a useful illustration of how statistics which may be correct in themselves can be used to create a misleading impression. There are also some mistakes, such as the suggestion that ‘the number of married couples, hit the lowest level, in real terms, since 1895’ a claim evidenced by the number of marriages. Here the author manages to confuse (presumably) the rate of marriage, the number of marriages and the number of married couples. All three are different things, and none of them tell us what the author presumably wants to get at, which is how likely is it for couples who live together to be married….