Statistics

The New York Times asked yesterday whether Americans with a car in the driveway, a flat-screen television and a computer with an Internet connection can be described as “poor”.

In the United States, material goods – televisions, computers and cars – are at their most affordable in ten years, all having steadily dropped in price since 2005.

However, the cost of items that have traditionally helped pull Americans out of poverty – education, childcare and healthcare – have become far more expensive. Families’ everyday expenses also remain under strain from a steady increase in the cost of food and little change in the price of housing.

What would the same analysis of the cost of living look like in the UK?

We created a UK version of the chart in the New York Times’ story, using real prices calculated from the British consumer price index. The story was pretty similar:

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Under a remote mountainside in Guinea, one of west Africa’s poorest but most mineral-rich nations, lies one of the world’s biggest undeveloped deposits of iron ore.

Developing the Simandou deposit and building the railway and port required to export the ore are expected to cost an estimated $20bn – three times Guinea’s gross domestic product. Read more

Elections for the European Parliament will take place between May 22 and May 25, against a backdrop of a slow economic recovery and fears of a rise in populist parties such as Britain’s anti-EU UK Independence party led by Nigel Farage and France’s far-right National Front, led by Marine Le Pen.

This interactive graphic shows the results of the previous election in 2009. Read more

As the European elections approach at the end of May, Alex Barker, the FT’s EU correspondent, reports from Brussels on the growing power of the European Parliament in shaping the future of the EU.

In an article written last Wednesday for Church Times, an Anglican newspaper, David Cameron claimed that Britain was a “Christian country”. In response fifty-five assorted public figures including academics, scientists and comedians wrote a letter to the Telegraph newspaper on Easter Sunday saying that it was no such thing and in fact: “repeated surveys, polls and studies show that most of us as individuals are not Christian in our beliefs or our religious identities.”

That depends on how the question is asked. The results of the 2011 census supports Cameron, with narrow majorities in England and Wales, and Scotland and an overwhelming majority in Northern Ireland identifying as Christian. Yet the 2012 British Social Attitudes Survey (BSAS) places Christians in the minority comprising only 46 per cent of the population. Read more

In September, the Scottish people will vote in a referendum that could see the country break away from the rest of the UK.

Using polling data collated by the UK Polling Report and What Scotland Thinks, we have analysed all polls conducted in the past year that used the referendum question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

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The recovery in the world’s leading economies is strengthening, according to the Tracking Indices for the Global Economic Recovery, the Brookings Institution-Financial Times index of the global economy.

Explore the index with this interactive graphic. You can read more analysis from Eswar Prasad, Karim Foda, and Arnav Sahu on the Money Supply blog.

by Andrew Jack

From trade embargoes to arms blockades, sanctions have long been an extension of conflict by non-military means. Since the start of the twenty-first century, there has been growing use of “targeted” sanctions that draw on intelligence to pinpoint individuals for travel bans or asset freezes. The United Nations, the European Union and the US have announced a wide series of measures, while other organisations including the African Union and individual countries have also issued them with varying degrees of success.

There is fierce debate about the effectiveness of sanctions, with at least two organisations seeking to assess their mixed impact. Our interactive graphic draws on the global analysis by the Peterson Institute for International Economics and the Targeted Sanctions Consortium, based in Switzerland. Read more

Russia is just the latest of more than 40 countries subject to sanctions since 2000, with 35 restrictions still in placeincluding a growing range of targeted measures.

Business users breathed a sigh of relief on Thursday after the UK’s statistics authorities announced they have decided against scrapping the 200-year-old census. They plan instead to replace paper forms mailed to households with an online questionnaire. Read more

Martin Stabe

Banks have paid more than $100bn in legal settlements with US regulators since the financial crisis, data compiled by FT reporters shows.

Update, November 12, 2014: Our dataset now includes the settlements with the the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission relating to the global probe into allegations of widespread forex rate-rigging. The new data bring the total fines and settlements in 2014 to $56.7bn, making it the most expensive year on record. Read more

More millionaires migrated to the UK between 2003 and 2013 than to any other country worldwide, and London topped the rankings for millionaire residents in a single city.

A net flow of 114,100 dollar millionaires flocked to the UK over the decade in question, taking the country’s total to 815,000, or 13 people per 1,000 residents.

More than 60 per cent of millionaires moving to the UK since 2003 were from Europe, according to the report compiled by specialists in wealthy individuals, New World Wealth. The figures exclude the value of primary residences.

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The March 19 Budget will be delivered against a background of broad economic positivity, but that tone may not sit well with everyone. Since George Osborne’s speech this time last year, fortunes have been mixed: the labour market has been slow to pick up in the East Midlands, the north has been hit by job closures and production of transport equipment has fallen.

Valentina Romei

Elena is a 26 year old Italian woman with a degree in child psychology who has been working in London as a nursery teacher for nearly a year. She moved to the UK after months spent looking in vain for a job in Tuscany, a region where the unemployment rate, at 7.9%, is well below the Italian average of 11.3%.

But Elena is not counted among more than 16,000 Italians that moved to the UK, according to official statistics updated for the FT by the Italian Ministry of Interior. These numbers are based on the registry of Italians living abroad (AIRE). Elena has a vague knowledge of this register but decided not to sign up for fear of losing important rights and services (including healthcare) in her home country. Read more

Members of the professional middle class in England and Wales have seen a rapid decline in their options when looking for a place to buy a house. The number of electoral wards where the average property price is above the affordability threshold has risen from just 101 (1.1 per cent) in 1995 to 489 (5.7 per cent) in 2012.

Kate Allen

Aberdeen’s economy is booming. The gateway to Britain’s offshore oil and gas reserves, it has long helped to buoy up Scotland’s economy. And now with a wider economic recovery kicking in, it’s acting like Viagra on the area’s house prices.

Property values in Aberdeen and the surrounding area grew faster than anywhere else in the UK in 2013, according to new data produced by estate agents Savills exclusively for the FT.

Aberdeen has even outpaced last year’s hotspot, Elmbridge in Surrey. Read more

“I haven’t achieved impact. I’ve got fame but no impact. My son tells me I have the [worst] fame-impact ratio in the world.”

It’s a little odd to hear Hans Rosling complain about a lack of influence. Can a man who is invited to speak to world leaders, bosses of some of the biggest companies on the planet and organisations such as the IMF – and who, in 2012, was included in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world – really feel insignificant? Read more

Martin Stabe

Surprisingly strong Christmas period retail sales data out today showed that UK shoppers spent 7.1 per cent more than in December 2012. Read more

London is getting younger. In contrast, the UK as a whole is getting older.

At least since Michael Goldfarb’s incendiary op-ed in the New York Times, there has been discussion about a “great exodus” from London. This chart shows that there is nothing new in recent history about net internal emigration from the capital. …

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