2018’s most shocking statistics

A roundup of 2018’s statistics doesn’t sound like the most scintillating premise for a yearly review, but these offerings from the Royal Statistical Society prove otherwise.

The Society has just published its annual list of the year’s most mind-boggling stats, and you won’t need an economics degree to appreciate their magnitude.

This year, environmental issues featured prominently, with the top spot taken by the shocking statistic that 90.5% of plastic waste has never been recycled.

If that has left you reeling (and rightly so), UK-dwellers can take some comfort in the fact that they’re doing their small bit for the environment: 27.8% was the peak percentage of all electricity produced in the UK due to solar power, which happened on 30 June this year. In other words, for a brief window in summer, solar power was the UK’s top electricity source, surpassing gas and nuclear energy.

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After a brief foray into the heartening (see above), the rest of the stats veered off into the gloomy. The percentage of female directors in FTSE 250 companies, for example, sat at a woeful 6.4%. Still not breaking out of the single figures, then.

A statistic which did reach double figures, however, was the percentage of Russian men who did not live to see 65, which was a stark 40%. Sixty-five is the proposed state pension age for men in the country, making the findings all the more harrowing.

In the UK, austerity prevailed, with findings that the number of Jaffa cakes in McVities’ Christmas tubes had shrunk by 16.7%. Whatever happened to Christmas spirit? Despite brands’ penny pinching, it seems the high street is not dead; a whopping 82% of GB retail shopping is still done in-store rather than online. Although it must be said, Amazon Prime is still a godsend when it comes to last-minute gifts.

Meanwhile, Snapchat made the cut too, thanks to that infamous episode in pop culture history when Kylie Jenner’s seemingly innocuous tweet (“Sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad”) wiped $1.3 billion (£1 billion) off the company’s value.

Talk about not knowing your own strength.

Jenner made feeble amends after detonating the Twitter bomb: “still love u tho snap … my first love”.

One statistic was heartening, though. The last decade has seen a 9.5 percentage point reduction in worldwide “absolute poverty”, more than halving the proportion of those living in the condition since 2008.

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