Posted by 5cc
August 28th, 2010
For a few years now, the Mail has been telling us that England is the most crowded country in Europe. Thursday’s edition included the latest version of this, in ‘This very crowded isle: England is most over-populated country in EU‘. But is it?
This story is based on figures provided by the House of Commons Library, taken from the Office for National Statistics (here and here) and Eurostat (here). (They’re also mentioned in an answer to a parliamentary question in July, supplied by the ONS). They show that England’s population density in 2010 was projected to be 401 people per square kilometre by the ONS.
The Mail reports this as being 402.1 per square km, just under 4 people higher than the Netherlands, which it reports as being 398.5 people per square km.
The parliamentary answer says:
Eurostat publishes estimates of population densities for all EU countries up to 2007 (see table tps00003 under main demographic indicators at [this link]
Table tps00003 – the table that the Office for National Statistics suggests we use to find out the population density of European countries – shows that in 2007, the Netherlands’ density was 485.3 people per square km. The Mail said that in 2010 it was 398.5.
Official stats from the Dutch equivalent of the ONS show that the Netherlands’ projected population density for 2010 is 491 people per square km. Over 90 people higher than the Daily Mail reports.
According to the ONS figures, England won’t reach that level until some time between 2031 and 2056. So how has the Mail been suggesting for years that England is the most overcrowded country in Europe?
Nearly a fifth of the Netherlands is covered by water. The Dutch government takes account of that by measuring population density by land area only. Eurostat includes this measurement in its own figures, and the ONS advises we use Eurostat figures to measure population density. But for some reason, the Mail ignores this.
This needn’t be deliberate. It could be that the Mail or whoever provided the paper with these figures never actually noticed the Eurostat numbers, and made their own calculations that didn’t take account of water in the Netherlands.
Whatever the reason for the omission, it’s clear that England is only the most overcrowded country in Europe if you ignore official Dutch figures, ignore the figures the ONS suggest and decide that Dutch people can live underwater.
Categories: Immigration |