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News & Politics
Science & Medicine

More or Less: Behind the Stats

Updated 8 days ago

News & Politics
Science & Medicine
Read more

Tim Harford and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us. From BBC Radio 4

Read more

Tim Harford and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us. From BBC Radio 4

iTunes Ratings

354 Ratings
Average Ratings
289
39
10
7
9

Excellent topics, well researched!

By HangzhouHarry - Aug 03 2018
Read more
Another great on from the BBC! A treasure!

Great show

By robertchen1992 - Jan 29 2018
Read more
I wish more shows covered these topics, I can't get enough!

iTunes Ratings

354 Ratings
Average Ratings
289
39
10
7
9

Excellent topics, well researched!

By HangzhouHarry - Aug 03 2018
Read more
Another great on from the BBC! A treasure!

Great show

By robertchen1992 - Jan 29 2018
Read more
I wish more shows covered these topics, I can't get enough!
Cover image of More or Less: Behind the Stats

More or Less: Behind the Stats

Updated 8 days ago

Read more

Tim Harford and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us. From BBC Radio 4

Rank #1: Immigrant Crime Rate in the US

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Do immigrants commit more crime than native-born Americans in the United States?
Aug 09 2019
8 mins
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Rank #2: WS More or Less: Should we really be drinking eight glasses of water a day?

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How much water should you be drinking? There’s some age-old advice that suggests you should be drinking eight ounces (230 ml) eight times a day. Some people even advise you should be drinking this on top of what you normally drink. There is lots of advice out there but how do you know when you’ve had enough or if you’re drinking too much. With help from Professor Stanley Goldfarb from the University of Pennsylvania, Wesley Stephenson finds out.
(Image: Hand holding a glass of water. Credit: Charlotte Ball/PA Wire)
Jan 06 2017
9 mins
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Rank #3: Carbs, Sugar and the Truth

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Does a baked potato contain the equivalent of 19 cubes of sugar?
Aug 03 2018
8 mins
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Rank #4: The spread of fact-checking in Africa

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With misinformation so easy to spread, how can it be stopped or challenged?
Aug 02 2019
8 mins
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Rank #5: How many words do you need to speak a language?

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Ein Bier bitte? Loyal listener David made a new year's resolution to learn German. Three years later, that's about as far as he's got. Keen to have something to aim for, he asked More or Less how many words you really need to know in order to speak a language. Reporter Beth Sagar-Fenton finds out with help from Professor Stuart Webb, and puts Tim through his paces to find out how big his own English vocabulary is. (Image: The World surrounded by Flags. Credit: Shutterstock) Presenter: Tim Harford Reporter: Beth Sagar-Fenton Producer: Charlotte McDonald, Lizzy McNeill
Jun 22 2018
8 mins
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Rank #6: WS More or Less: Does Sweden Really Have a Six Hour Day?

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There have been reports that those radical Swedes have decided to reduce the working day to just six hours because, it has been claimed, productivity does not suffer. Before you all rush to the Swedish job pages this is not quite the case – but there have been trials in Sweden to test whether you can shorten people’s working hours without having an effect on output. Tim Harford talks to our Swedish correspondent Keith Moore about what the trials have found. He also speaks to professor John Pencavel, Emeritus Professor of Economics, at Stanford University, and finds that reducing working hours may not be as radical idea as it first appears. (Photo: A business man carries a black briefcase)
Jan 03 2017
9 mins
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Rank #7: Teen Suicide; Brexit Business Moves; Wood-Burner Pollution

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Tim Harford finds untrue a recent report that there is a 'suicidal generation' of teens.
Feb 08 2019
28 mins
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Rank #8: Getting Creative with Statistics

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How big are your testicles and what does that mean?
Jul 27 2018
8 mins
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Rank #9: US election, stray cats and puzzles

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Who voted in the US elections? Plus are there nine million stray cats in the UK?
Nov 11 2016
24 mins
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Rank #10: WS MoreOrLess: Foreign Aid: More Harm Than Good?

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Tim Harford interviews Nobel Prize winning economist professor Angus Deaton about a lifetime measuring inequality
Oct 16 2015
8 mins
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Rank #11: WS MoreOrLess: Processed Meat and Cancer

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Are processed meats as cancer-causing as cigarettes, and has the Rugby world cup been the most brutal? Ruth Alexander investigates.
Oct 30 2015
9 mins
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Rank #12: WS MoreOrLess: Oil

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said a million barrels of the country’s oil were stolen per day. Is he right? Ruth Alexander asks Peter Cunliffe-Jones of Africa Check. And, does 13% of the world’s undiscovered oil lie in the Arctic? Producers: Keith Moore and Phoebe Keane.
Oct 23 2015
9 mins
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Rank #13: Hottest Easter, Insects, Scottish villages

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Was it a surprise that Easter Monday was so hot?

A heatwave struck the UK over Easter – and in fact Easter Monday was declared the hottest on record in the UK. But listeners asked - is it that surprising that it was the warmest when the date fell so late in April? We crunch the numbers supplied by the Met Office.

Insectageddon

Insects live all around us and if a recent scientific review is anything to go by, then they are on the path to extinction. The analysis found that more than 40% of insect species are decreasing and that a decline rate of 2.5% a year suggests they could disappear in 100 years. And as some headlines in February warned of the catastrophic collapse of nature, some More or Less listeners questioned the findings. Is insect life really in trouble?

Collecting income tax from the 1%

Recently Lord Sugar said in a Tweet “The fact is if you taxed everyone earning over £150k at a rate of 70% it would not raise enough to pay for 5% of the NHS.” Is that true? Helen Miller, Deputy Director and head of tax at the Institute for Fiscal Studies looks at how much such a policy might raise from the 1% of tax payers who earn over £150,000.

Where is Scotland’s highest village?

A battle is brewing in the Southern Scottish uplands between two rival villages. How can statistics help determine which village should take the crown? Wanlockhead and Leadhills both lay claim to the title of Scotland’s highest village but there can only be one winner. More or Less attempts to settle the age old dispute once and for all.

Image: A man and woman sitting on deckchairs on the beach
Credit: Getty Images
Apr 26 2019
27 mins
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Rank #14: Selfies, sugar daddies and dodgy surveys

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Adverstising dressed up as research has inspired us this week. Firstly recent reports that said that young women aged between 16 and 25 spend five and a half hours taking selfies on average. It doersn't take much thinking to realise that thhere something really wrong with this number. We pick apart the survey that suggested women are spending all that time taking pictures of themselves.
The second piece of questionable research comes from reports that a quarter of a million UK students are getting money from 'sugar daddies' they met online. The story came from a sugar daddy website. They claim around 225,000 students have registered with them and have met (mostly) men for what they call "mutually beneficial arrangements". We explain our doubts over the figures.
There were reports recently that there will more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. The report comes from The Ellen MacArthur Foundation. But, as we discover, there's something fishy about these figures.
Away from advertising, studies have shown that children born in the summer do not perform as well as children born earlier in the academic year. For this reason schools are being encouraged to be sympathetic to parents that want their summer-born children to start a year later. But what should parents do? Is this a good option? We speak to Claire Crawford, Assistant Professor of Economics at the University.
Gemma Tetlow from the Institute for Fiscal Studies explains how some areas of public spending having fallen to similar levels seen in 1948. She explains how spending has changed over time, and what might happen in the future.
And friend of the programme, Kevin McConway, explains some of the statistical words that non-statisticians do not understand.
Feb 12 2016
27 mins
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Rank #15: Numbers of the Year 2015

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Tim Harford looks back at some of the most interesting numbers behind the news in 2015, from the migrant crisis to social media messages.

Contributors include: Professor Jane Green, Helen Arney, Paul Lewis, Andrew Samson, Leonard Doyle , Peter Cunliffe-Jones, Farai Chideya, Claire Melamed and Professor John Allen Paulos.
Jan 01 2016
28 mins
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Rank #16: Should we have smaller families to save the planet?

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Having one fewer child could be the biggest thing you do to reduce your carbon footprint
Jul 23 2018
10 mins
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Rank #17: Is dementia the number one killer?

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Is dementia on the rise? Plus immigration, incomplete contacts and chocolate muffins
Nov 18 2016
24 mins
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Rank #18: Christmas Quiz

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Tim Harford poses a tough statistical challenge
Dec 23 2016
28 mins
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Rank #19: WS More or Less: Life, death and data

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Improving data to target help to the poorest people
Dec 26 2016
9 mins
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Rank #20: Pensioners aren't poor anymore

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High-rolling pensioners? predicting Norovirus, air pollution deaths and lost or found?
Nov 25 2016
24 mins
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