The most important statistics of the year have been revealed – and figures on in-work poverty and global life expectancy have taken the top spots.
Publishing its Statistics of the Year, the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) highlights how statistics can “help us understand the key issues of the day”.
The winner of UK statistic of the year was the proportion of those in relative poverty who live in a working household, which revealed that more than half of the UK suffers from in-work poverty.
Produced by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and based on Department for Work and Pensions figures, the statistic shows a major shift from poverty related to unemployment to an issue which also affects working households.
Employment rates have risen since the 1990s, but the figure suggests new challenges have emerged.
Kelly Beaver of Ipsos MORI and a member of the judging panel said: “While it could be seen as positive that more people are in work, this figure shows that employment doesn’t necessarily mean an escape from poverty.
“Far from it, in fact.”
The international statistic of the year was won by Our World in Data, which estimated that the global average for life expectancy at birth in 2019 will be 72.6 years.
This marks a record high – and a contrast to the focus on stalling or declining life expectancy in countries such as the UK and US.
Statistics from Our World in Data showed that life expectancy has risen from 47.5 years in 1950 to 72.6 years today.
On average, this equates to life expectancy rising 20.3 weeks per year since 1950.
A number of statistics from the UK and around the world were also highly commended by the RSS.
In May, Science Alert measured that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 415.26 parts per million.
The measurement, which was recorded at the Mauna Lao Observatory in Hawaii, is the highest level ever.
The threat of climate change sparked demonstrations across the world this year, as millions took part in global climate strikes.
Environmental statistician and member of the judging panel, Professor Roland Geyer, called Science Alert’s statistic “terrifying”.
Women car passengers are roughly 73% more likely to be seriously injured in frontal car crashes than men, University of Virginia researchers found.
The statistic was highlighted by Caroline Criado Perez in her book Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men.
She argued that crash test dummies are based on the average male anatomy, meaning that women are at a greater risk of serious injury.
Statistician Professor Liberty Vittert said the figure highlighted an “astounding degree of bias”.
Public Health England found the average sugar content of soft drinks dropped by 28.8% after a sugar tax was introduced in the UK.
The figure compares sugar content from 2015, measured in sales weighted average grams per 100ml.
In other food and drinks categories, such as breakfast cereals, much less progress has been made.
The global mortality rates of children under five fell by 59% since 1990, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) figures.
The rate fell from an estimated 93 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 39 deaths per 1,000 in 2018.
RSS’ judging panel says child mortality is a leading indicator of overall development.
Electric and hybrid models now account for more than 10% of new vehicle registrations in the UK, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) found.
It is the first time the 10% threshold has been passed.
The statistics also showed sharp year-on-year falls in diesel registrations.