Wednesday, February 14, 2007

STATISTICS...................'MY AR*E!

How accurate are statistics?

Today we have the following news report
UK is accused of failing children

The UK has been accused of failing its children, as it comes bottom of a league table for child well-being across 21 industrialised countries.The Unicef report looked at 40 indicators including poverty, peer and family relationships and health.The Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Finland head the list.Children's charities have condemned the findings. The government says it has made progress on child well-being through several initiatives.

Unicef - the United Nations' children's organisation - says the report, titled Child Poverty in Perspective: An Overview of Child Well-being in Rich Countries, is the first study of childhood across the world's industrialised nations.A spokesman for the UK government said its initiatives in areas such as poverty, pregnancy rates, teenage smoking, drinking and risky sexual behaviour had helped improve children's welfare.

Welfare Reform Minister Jim Murphy said the Unicef study was an "historic" report, which used some data which was now out of date."It looks at some information and analysis from perhaps six, seven, eight years ago," he told the BBC's Newsnight. "Some of the information really is out of date in that sense

I have looked at he data used and feel that not all geographical, sociological and economic
situations in each country are fully appreciated with their regard to the data obtained.

In a list of countries by crude birth rate, based on The World Factbook, as at August 2006 it shows that the UK is above the following countries in Birth rate (births/1,000 population)

Romania, Finland, Belgium, Sweden, Spain, Poland,Hungary,Switzerland,Germany, Italy,Canada, Malta, Poland, Czech Republic

Have they mentioned how this can effect their results?

I want to say straightaway that my evidence is purely anecdotal and I am not a sociologist, anthropologist , psychologist or any other -ologist but recently I read a news article about a decline in birthrates in Spain and a similar trend in other European Countries.When on holiday in Spain recently I read about a falling birthrate which was seeing the decrease of the larger Spanish families to families that only had one child. The article talked about how the government had become worried as to decline in population but the women of child bearing age felt there was no way they could afford to have more than one child. Because of this, from my own observation, Spanish children are adored and treasured and there is nothing wrong with that.

This is a list of by countries total fertility rate (TFR

Czech Republic

So does this evidence show that countries with a lower Total Fertility Rate fare better in the Unicef Report?
I think on average it does BUT did you notice that I did not list the countries that did not fit in with my theories?
So the less children you have then the better quality of life you have?
Well I think we were all aware that 'only children' gain many advantages from being an only child but possible sociological and emotional issues are not included in the UNICEF study. Of course you can't mention everything but please mention the possibility of other evidence skewing the results.
Larger families on limited incomes , whilst financially 'poor' according to statistics , do not necessarily live a less happy or fulfilling life. Yes I see this in a personal sense but I feel more upset that yet again statistics are being manipulated to show what the researcher wants to show(I showed how that could be done). I have 2 daughters who have graduated from University, one who is currently studying in University and one who will begin her studies in October and another who wants to study art. They grew up having less than their peers(being in Welsh Medium Schools and on scholarships to private schools was always going to ensure that) but they have said that they never felt that financially they missed out on anything they wanted(apart from expensive trainers I guess).

Colette Marshall, UK director of Save the Children, said it was "shameful" to see the UK at the bottom of the table."This report shows clearly that despite the UK's wealth, we are failing to give children the best possible start in life," she said."The UK government is not investing enough in the well-being of children, especially to combat poverty and deprivation."

Shadow Chancellor George Osborne accused Chancellor Gordon Brown of having "failed this generation of children"."After 10 years of his welfare and education policies, our children today have the lowest well-being in the developed world," said Mr Osborne.He also said government could encourage parents to have greater involvement with their children through "a framework of more flexible working".But he added: "I don't actually think government has the answer to all these problems."This is not all about politicians in Westminster passing laws, it's about social responsibility, it's about parents taking greater responsibility for their children, it's about trusting teachers in classrooms, it's about us as neighbours in a society playing our part as well."

I feel that much government money is being wasted on things that are less relevant(but that gripe can best be left for another day!) our children's generation are those who will wipe your shitty ass Mr Brown when you are old and in your dotage and ending your days in a nursing home, SO PLAY NICE!

David Cameron has a child with cerebral palsy and epilepsy and I really feel that his personal awareness of children with disability has influenced his views on the difficulties of having a child with physical and learning difficulties.
I wonder if Gordon Brown whose son Fraser who was recently diagnosed with signs of cystic fibrosis
will also come to this awareness..............we can only wait and see!

1 comment:

Steve said...

I quite agree. This is just another example of cynical statistic manipulation. The daft thing is I think most people in the UK are now sophisticated enough to see it for what it is. Most politicians don't give a damn for improving the lives of their constitutents - they just want ammo or mud to sling at their opponents in the newspapers as these kind of media based spats are the lifeblood of their political existence.

Any statistic can be skewed to say whatever you like. They're just number patterns. It's not a case of them not containing any truth - it's just that in some respects they contain every truth.




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