This is an old story (it dates back to July last year) but it just got under my radar and I think it’s quite unbelievable $-$ or may be it isn’t after all…

In a survey of just over 1000 individuals developed by professional company Ipsos Mori, respondents were asked to give their opinion on a series of “urban myths” (as it turns out).

For example, the perception of the surveyed sample on benefit fraud is way out of line (“the public think that £24 of every £100 of benefits is fraudulently claimed. Official estimates are that just 70 pence in every £100 is fraudulent - so the public conception is out by a factor of 34”, as the Independent article puts it).

Other topics on which the public seems to have a very biased opinion are immigration (with 31% of the population believed to have recently migrated into the UK, while the official figure is actually around 13%) and teen pregnancy (perceived to be 25 times as prevalent than it actually is!). That’ll make for a nice example in my course on Social Statistics…

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