More or Less: Behind the Stats-logo

More or Less: Behind the Stats

BBC

Tim Harford investigates numbers in the news. Numbers are used in every area of public debate. But are they always reliable? Tim and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us.

Tim Harford investigates numbers in the news. Numbers are used in every area of public debate. But are they always reliable? Tim and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us.
More Information

Location:

London, United Kingdom

Networks:

BBC

Description:

Tim Harford investigates numbers in the news. Numbers are used in every area of public debate. But are they always reliable? Tim and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us.

Language:

English


Episodes

WS More More or Less: Are We Breathing Unsafe Air?

4/13/2018
More
The World Health Organisation say that 95% of people who live in cities breathe unsafe air. But what do they mean by ‘unsafe’? And how do they calculate the levels or air pollution for every city in the world? Plus Mt Etna in Italy has reportedly moved by 14mm, but who is calculating this? And how do they know the answer with such accuracy? (Photo: People wear masks as smoke billows from a coal fired power plant, Shanxi, China. Credit: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Duration:00:09:38

WS More or Less: Why London’s Murder Rate is Being Compared to New York’s

4/8/2018
More
London’s murder rate is on the rise – and for the first time ever it has just overtaken New York’s, according to a number of media outlets. But is it true? And is it appropriate for journalists to compare between the two cities? South Africa’s missing children statistics A viral Facebook post has suggested that one child is kidnapped every thirty seconds in South Africa. We examine the evidence which shows that a child is reported missing every nine hours to the police, and this includes...

Duration:00:08:58

WS More or Less: How Deadly Was 1920s Melbourne?

3/29/2018
More
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is one of Australia’s most popular television series and has been broadcast in 172 territories worldwide. Set in 1920’s Melbourne the series’ protagonist, Miss Phryne Fisher, seems to have a lot of dead bodies on her metaphorical plate. So how does the series compare with the real life murder rate at that time? Join the More Or Less team as we step back in time for some statistical sleuthing.

Duration:00:08:58

Were ‘extra’ votes counted in Russia’s presidential election?

3/23/2018
More
Last week Vladimir Putin won a second consecutive and fourth overall term as the Russian President. Official polling results from the election show he received over 76 percent of the vote, with a total turnout of 67 percent, but there were also widespread allegations of irregularities including inflated turnout figures. More or Less takes a closer look at the election data from Russia to see if these complaints have merit.

Duration:00:09:37

Factchecking Trump on Trade

3/16/2018
More
Whenever Donald Trump talks about trade he brings up one statistic again and again, the US trade balance. This is the relationship between the goods and services the US imports from other countries and what it exports – if America buys more from a country than that country buys from America there’s a deficit, and Trump claims America has a trade deficit with almost every country in the world. Is he right? We unpick whether President Trump is quoting the correct numbers on trade, hear how...

Duration:00:09:31

WS More or Less: Sir Roger Bannister

3/9/2018
More
After Sir Roger Bannister ran a mile in under four minutes, did positive thinking propel dozens to do the same?

Duration:00:09:19

WS More or Less: Women, the Oscars and the Bechdel Test

3/5/2018
More
Are Hollywood films ignoring women? As this is the 90th year of the Academy Awards - we find out how many ‘Best Picture’ winners pass the Bechdel Test. This is a light-hearted way of challenging whether a film meets a low standard of female representation. They have to fulfil three criteria: are there at least two named female characters in the cast? Do those two women speak to each other? And do they have a conversation about something other than a man? In collaboration with the BBC’s 100...

Duration:00:13:14

WS More or Less: The Winter Olympics

2/25/2018
More
What’s the most successful nation? (0’40”) We look at population, GDP per capita and ski areas of the countries with the most medals. How do you judge a country’s ‘best’ performance? (3.45”) What are the chances of dead heat in a race? (6’35”) The two-man bobsleigh event ended in a dead heat with both Canada and Germany achieving a time of three minutes 16.86 seconds. Is this the coldest winter games? (8’41”)

Duration:00:11:01

WS More or Less: Debunking guide – on a postcard

2/18/2018
More
How to question dubious statistics in just a few short steps.

Duration:00:10:04

UN rape claims, Stalin and Mr Darcy

2/16/2018
More
How many people have UN staff raped? – (0’40’’) It was reported in a number of the newspapers this week that UN staff are responsible for 60,000 rapes in a decade. The wealth of Mr Darcy – (5’10”) The male love interest of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is supposed to be fabulously wealthy. Is he? How many people did Stalin kill? – (10’00”) Why there are so many different figures reported. Avoid splitting the bill – (18’25”) Credit card roulette is Dan Ariely’s preferred way of ending a meal with...

Duration:00:28:21

WS More or Less: Has Russian Drinking Fallen by 80% in five years?

2/11/2018
More
Alcohol consumption has fallen sharply according to Russia’s health ministry

Duration:00:06:33

The Dow, Tampons, Parkrun part II

2/9/2018
More
Why the biggest ever fall in the Dow wasn't, and how much do women spend on tampons?

Duration:00:28:06

WS More or Less: Is China On Track to End Poverty by 2020?

2/5/2018
More
A key pledge of the Chinese President Xi Jinping is that China will have eradicated poverty by 2020. It’s an extraordinary claim, but the country does have a good track record in improving the wealth of its citizens; the World Bank says China has contributed more than any other country to global poverty reduction. So how does China measure poverty? And is it possible for them to make sure, over the next few years, that no one falls below their poverty line? Photo: A woman tends to her...

Duration:00:13:02

Transgender Numbers, Parkrun and Snooker

2/2/2018
More
How many transgender people are there in the UK? The UK produces official statistics about all sorts of things – from economic indicators to demographic data. But it turns out there are no official figures for the number of transgender people in the UK. We explore what we do know, and what is harder to measure. Do 4% of the population drink nearly a third of the alcohol? According to recent headlines, just 4% of the population drink nearly a third of the alcohol sold in England. But can so...

Duration:00:31:14

Is the US Census Under Threat?

1/29/2018
More
The survey question that could affect the accuracy of its results. The United States are due to run their next nationwide census in 2020, but already critics are warning that underfunding and proposed question about citizenship could affect the accuracy of its results. We look at the real life consequences if groups choose not to complete the 2020 census, and ask whether the recent politically charged debate is unusual in its two hundred year history. Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Kate...

Duration:00:09:03

A Girl's First Time, Shark's Stomachs, Prime numbers

1/26/2018
More
First sexual experience - checking the facts A short film for the Draw A Line campaign has made the claim that one in three girls first sexual experience is rape. This seems shockingly high, but what is the evidence? Is it just for the UK or a global figure? We go back to the reports that were used to source the claim, and find the research has been misinterpreted. How long can a shark go for without eating? A recent episode of Blue Planet II stated that after a large meal a Sixgill shark...

Duration:00:23:46

WS More or Less: Real Lives Behind the Numbers

1/22/2018
More
If you ask an economist to explain what is happening in a country’s economy. They rely on economic data points to describe what is happening – they might talk about the unemployment rate, average wages, and the numbers of people in poverty. They pull together the information available for thousands or millions of people to work out trends. But are we getting the whole picture? We speak to Rachel Schneider, co-author of the book, ‘The Financial Diaries’. It’s based on a large study in the...

Duration:00:08:58

Gender Pay Gaps and How to Learn a Language

1/19/2018
More
Gender Pay Gap This week the Office for National Statistics has published analysis trying to find out why it is that on average women are paid less than men in specific industries and occupations. We examine their findings, as well as taking a look at the current discussion about equal pay at the BBC. Alcohol reaction times We take a look at a study that suggests that people's reaction speeds are affected over time by regular drinking. It recommends that official guidelines for the amount...

Duration:00:27:47

WS More or Less: How Louis Bachelier Scooped Economists by Half a Century

1/15/2018
More
A forgotten French mathematician is the focus of our programme. He anticipated both Einstein's theories and the application of maths to the stock market. Born in the 1870s, his work was unusual at the time. With the help of Alison Etheridge, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, we explain how his ideas were rediscovered decades after his death. (Photo: A pocket watch)

Duration:00:09:09

Missed appointments, graduate pay, plus cocaine on bank notes

1/12/2018
More
Did missed appointments cost the NHS £1 billion last year? New figures published recently suggest that the financial cost to the NHS for missed appointments was £1 billion last year. But our listeners are curious. How has this figure been worked out? And don’t missed appointments actually ease the pressure on an overcrowded system? Graduate pay – is it always higher than non-graduates’ pay? It is often claimed that if you go to university and get a degree, you will earn more than those who...

Duration:00:28:13

Try Premium for 30 days

Live games for all NFL, MLB, NBA, & NHL teams
Commercial-Free Music
No Display Ads