Posts Tagged ‘statistics’

2,570,000: it’s not just a number

13/10/2011, 09:27:34 AM

by Peter Watt

The trouble with statistics about people is that they dehumanise. The story of one human tragedy can move people by bringing to life the impact. But repeat that tragedy over and over and eventually it ceases to shock. Just think about how often in war it is the image or story of one tragic fatality that moves people, while statistics of the thousands who die passes us by.

I was thinking about this when I heard this week’s truly terrible unemployment figures. There are currently 2,570,000 people unemployed in the UK. This includes 991,000 16 – 24 year olds. This represents over 20% of young people who currently do not have a job.

The problem is that this figure has been creeping up slowly. However big it is, however shocking right now, it will inevitably numb the senses to the underlying tragedies that are unfolding across the country. It may have already done so. I remember when unemployment was creeping up to record highs in the 1980’s and the nightly news carried stories of the latest series of job losses around the country. Maps of the UK were used to illustrate the numbers of those set to join the lengthening dole queue. At first it was shocking, but it soon became background music. We just became immune to the scale of the numbers. (more…)

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