“Divorce rate for over-60s surges”
So screamed the Daily Mail headline on 19 November 2011.
“Britain is seeing a boom in ‘silver separations’”, read the first line.
I wonder if they do with other headlines what they do with drug and disease headlines?
The article soon gave some numbers – 11,500 over-60s were granted a divorce in 2009. It takes a 30 second google search to get a recent enough figure for the number of over-60s in the UK. An article from August 2008 says: “The Office for National Statistics revealed that 13,262,256 people were 60 or over in mid-2007 – up from 12,928,071 the previous year.” So, the 2009 numbers are almost certainly higher still, but let’s go with the 2008 known number.
11,500/13,262,256 is 0.086% – not even one tenth of one percent. Not even 1 in over a thousand over-60s got a divorce in 2009. This was up 4% on the previous year said the Daily Mail article – not quite a surge really is it? That means that there were 0.083% of over-60s divorcing in 2008 and then 0.086% in 2009.
Hardly “Hold the front page” now eh?!