Our state in statistics

IAN COLLINS As a magpie collector of facts and figures, I keep a record of strange and striking statistics. Here's the latest selection.


As a magpie collector of facts and figures, I keep a record of strange and striking statistics. Here's the latest selection:

t A quarter of West Germans want the Berlin Wall back.

t Seven million Americans are in prison or on parole.

t One in three British men has a criminal conviction.

t Nine per cent of current NHS hospital patients are infected with the MRSA virus.

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t The average British child now spends 6.5 hours a day using electronic media.

t British household debt has trebled since 1990.

t We now owe £58bn on credit cards - which, give or take the odd billion, is the gap between what people are saving and should be saving to maintain their standard of living in retirement.

t Two-thirds of British men aged 25-34 expect to retire before the age of 65.

t More than three-quarters of British women expect to retire before the age of 60.

t Average number of years a British man will live beyond the state retirement age today: 20.4.

t Average number of years a British woman will live beyond the state retirement age today: 25.1.

t A World Bank study now finds the UK's 8,300 pages of primary tax legislation second only to a Himalayan-scale paper mountain in India. The US has 5,100 pages, Germany 1,700, France 1,300 and Switzerland 300.

t Britain has the 5th largest economy in the world (behind the US, Japan, Germany and China) but finishes only 17th in a table measuring quality of life.

t House prices rocketed 196pc in Britain between 1997 and 2006 - but soared by 253pc in Ireland and 351pc in South Africa.

t Britain comes top of very few global statistical tables - but it leads the world in attracting investment from foreign countries and London has the highest office rents of any city on the planet.

t British music lovers spend more per head on music than anyone else in the world - about £18 a person a year. (Are we more musical? No. Enjoyment of this art form just costs more here than elsewhere.)

t One in three rail suicides in Britain occurs on a single stretch of track from Paddington to Slough via Southall. Last year 80 people killed themselves on this line. Most were Asian women isolated in arranged marriages.

t London Mayor Ken Livingstone has been to court 11 times in the past six years and threatened legal action on another 17 occasions. Losing every action bar one, his litigious tendency has so far cost the taxpayer £130m.

t In the list of hospital beds for every 1,000 people Britain fails to make the top 40 - being beaten by the likes of Belarus, Cuba, Slovakia and New Zealand. Japan is top.

t Britain now has more mobile phones than people - 110 for every 100 of the population.

t There are 98 TVs for every 100 households in the UK.

t Britain has the world's 15th most crowded roads, with 79 vehicles per kilometre of tar or concrete.

t People in 21 countries - including Singapore, Guadeloupe and the United Arab Emirates - live longer than the average 79 years in Britain.

t The long-term rainfall of London is now lower than that of Rome, Atlanta or Nairobi.

t The South-East of England has a smaller supply of water per head of population than Sudan.

t Some 46,000 pieces of plastic rubbish are floating in the average square mile of ocean.

t Four in every ten street robberies in Britain are committed by children aged between 10 and 16 in school time.

t The world consumes 85m barrels of oil each day.

t Around 50,000 Indians die each year from snake bites.

t In Britain we produce more than 434m tonnes of rubbish every year. That's enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall every hour.

t The UK gets through five billion cans and tins each year and throws away 9.1 billion plastic bottles (adding 455,000 tonnes to landfill sites).

t The average Briton uses over 200kg of paper and cardboard at home per year. Recycling one tonne of paper saves 1,500 litres of water and enough electricity to power a large house for a year.

t At 11.46am, on October 18 2006, according to the US Census Bureau, the population of the United States of America reached 300m. At that point the number of motor vehicle registrations hit 237.2m.

t Americans gambled away $80 billion last year.

t On average a British person is killed every three days by a partner or former partner.

t There are 400 billion stars in the Milky Way.