12 December 2012

Maths for dummies

It's the census everybody!!! Cue the BBC getting very excited!!!

Very interesting figures - I do love a population pyramid:

Population by age and sex, England and Wales, 2011

Don't you just love the kink in 1946?

But the really interesting graph is this one:

Graph showing the population of England and Wales born outside the UK since 1971
 That's a huge increase in migrants - over 13% of the population of England and Wales were not born there - and the jump in the last 10 years is obvious

This isn't about race (although white British people are down to 80%), but immigration, these are people who are currently here who were not born here (excluding the Irish), not second or third generation immigrants of a different colour, a figure which is going to rise naturally - these are people who are coming here - effectively it means a hell of a lot of people are being let in at a very fast rate

You can see the figure is pretty static from 1970 to 1990 - rising from about 6% to 7.5% in thirty years, this indicates a fairly steady trickle of immigration, of course if you came here in 1970 you'd probably still be alive in 1990 and you'll still be counted

But In the last twenty years it has effectively doubled, and it's pretty safe to assume that the Labour years are pretty clearly the main factor even in the 90s

Maybe, as the BBC's Home Affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani (isn't that Mark Easton's job?) says it's 'globalisation', which may to some extent be true, but it's also evidence of a lax border control policy or deliberate opening of the floodgates - they've let in what now amounts to 5% of the population in the past ten years, or over quarter of a million people per year

Make of it what you will, it just recalls to mind those 'crazy' stories that Labour deliberately brought in migrants to increase their vote

But anyway, I just found that a pretty remarkable graph - globalisation..maybe, but if that trend continues in ten years we could be looking at every fifth person not being born here - is that a good idea for any (major) country?

My main point was actually supposed to be about this piece by Mark Easton - apparently

there has been a sudden and unexplained rise in the fertility rate over the past few years. Although the increase in the number of women of childbearing age is mainly due to migration over the past decade, they still represent only a small proportion of the total and cannot explain the significant rise in total fertility rate.

Unexplained? Really, I had to dig deeper into this, so I read his previous article from June


Absolutely massive spike after 2001 - coinciding with a massive spike in immigration

Coincidence? Apparently so

Like many people I suspect, my immediate thought was that higher fertility rates might be a consequence of higher immigrations levels. Apparently not.

He's thought the obvious, so is not being politically correct, do go on...

 Immigration has had an impact on the birth rate (the number of babies): foreign mothers now account for a quarter of all births. 
Let's establish this as a fact, it's a fairly well known figure - 25% of all births are to foreign born mothers, and yet didn't I just put up a graph that showed foreign born people are about 13% and only half of that were in the past decade?

 Immigration has not had any significant impact on the fertility rate (babies per mother): the big increase in immigration between 2001 and 2008 was from Eastern Europe, notably Poland, but women from the accession countries do not generally have more babies than British-born mothers. In fact, the fertility rate in Poland is significantly lower than the UK - 1.2 in 2003 and now just under 1.4. 

In Poland? This is where I started to smell the BS - the rate in Poland, not where they are, but where they've left - this is a massive assumption that it's predominantly a cultural issue, as with Asian and African immigrants having larger families

Surely you should be checking the rate of Polish immigrants who are here, surely at least check?? (and I'm completely ignoring that Eastern Europe is about half the immigration figures, the rest are stereotypical 'large family' places like India and Pakistan which isn't mentioned anywhere)

So I did some digging, and found some more obvious trains of thought in the Telegraph, after having skipped 300 results from the Daily Mail...

This again verifies the one in four figure, so we'll keep that stat

New figures show that the number of immigrants having babies has doubled since 2001, largely driven by an influx of Polish, Pakistani and Indian mothers.
Hang on, Polish? But the Polish hate babies more than we do, just look at Poland!!

This has now increased by at least eleven-fold to 23,000 last year, making Poland the top nationality for creating second-generation immigrants to the UK.
Women from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Somalia, Germany, South Africa, Lithuania and China have the next highest number of babies. 
 Even though India provides the highest number of immigrants, the Poles are breeding more? Odd

non-UK born residing in the UK
The proportion of foreign-born women of child-bearing age living in the UK has increased from 14 per cent to 18 per cent since 2007, giving them a substantial impact on the overall number of births.  
So 18% of the fertile are making 25% of the babies

So that means the remaining 82% 'natives' are only making 75% of the babies - what does that tell you about the fertility rate? (that's the maths for dummies)

Birth to UK mothers have also risen, with British-born women have an average of 1.89 children.
However, they are not keeping pace with the births of children to foreign women in the UK, who are giving birth to an average of 2.28 children. 
 So it has indeed risen, but not as much as was being quoted - higher fertility rates in immigrants accounts for about 25% of the increase in fertility

So Mark is technically right, immigration does not entirely account for the increase in births per woman, the group isn't large enough to have that much of an impact but there is clear evidence available that shows foreign-born women are having significantly more babies and that has put some upward pressure on the figure

Why didn't he include this data? It would only make his case stronger - while it accounts for some, it doesn't account for all of it - then you go on and blame Tony Blair for most of it, he's confirmed people's anecdotal evidence and preconceptions and he's found an interesting statistical investigation

Instead the widely-held belief is dismissed and he relies on non-relevant data from another country, which enrages people who either want their views confirmed or who hate flimsy use of figures, forcing them to go and find readily available data and allow them to call him and the BBC biased

If anything I find it lazy, he looks like he's being fed data from a third party who may have an agenda and gone 'this is interesting', the use of Poland's native fertility rate is obviously weak and should at least have been verified as being remotely relevant to the UK's Polish community, instead he just accepts the premise that more Eastern European immigration would in fact lower fertility rates, meaning the British are breeding even more - a simple check of the real figures tells you that's complete nonsense

There's not a figure in sight to back up these claims in the article, barring the use of the actual fertility rates the analysis is cooked up on assumptions and irrelevant facts, which is something you would normally be accusing the 'it's the immigrants!' brigade of doing

What winds me up even more is they are mostly right, Labour welfare policies did pay people to breed - they just seem to have dismissed a portion of the story for the sake of political correctness or being pro-immigration - it could've been interesting, instead, it's not only omitted that a key feature of this trend even exists, but denied it even happened

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