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Last Updated: Monday, 27 November 2006, 17:08 GMT
Flying away
More or Less
Monday, 27 November, 2006
BBC Radio 4, 1630 GMT
This week on More or Less we presented a "bundle" (that is a rarely-used technical term) of statistical puzzles.

First there are the passengers who seem to leave in much greater quantities than they arrive at Cherry Capital Airport in the US, year after year.

Where do they all come from?

Where do they go?

We invited More or Less listeners to suggest an answer why that part of America is not steadily emptying.

Hearing problems

Second, the mystery of the 300,000 patient pathways to a hearing test.

Audiology - we now know - has a big backlog, the biggest for any diagnostic test from the NHS, with a large proportion of those on the list waiting for three or six months or more.

But is the 300,000 pathways the answer?

NHS Audiologists are nervous that most of them will be in the independent sector and say it will undermine acoustic NHS services. The government says it is a proportionate and determined response to clearing the problem.

Workers' wealth

And there is the curious case of the workers who could make Europe very much richer.

GDP growth, says a contributor to the programme this week, could be 21% higher in Italy, for example, if women entered the labour market in the same proportion as in countries like Sweden or Denmark. That is a massive potential increase.

Even in the UK, there is arguably a potential boost to GDP of about 8% - again, a very large one-off increase in national wealth.

Are labour market inequalities to blame?

Could gains of this size really be made?


And finally, amidst many frightening statistics, one or two that are good news on HIV/Aids.

Could global figures have peaked?

Are more of those counted with the illness in some way good news because they are still alive to be counted for much longer than was usually the case in the past?

And why, though there are still many millions contracting HIV each year (about 4 million according to latest estimates), the absolute numbers are slightly lower than was thought to be the case five years ago as a result of a change in the way we count them.

Presenter: Andrew Dilnot
Producer: Michael Blastland

BBC Radio 4's More or Less was broadcast on Monday, 27 November, 2006 at 1630 GMT.

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