The Twelve Stats of Christmas

Ten lords a leaping, three wise men, two turtle doves. Christmas really is all about stats.  This week Pete Benton, Director of Data Collection at ONS, treated BBC Radio 2’s Steve Wright and his afternoon audience to a festive feast of seasonal statistics:

Love them or you hate them, their place in Christmas tradition is undeniable – Brussels sprouts.  According to some highly informal ONS research commissioned by Pete….

  • Supermarkets sell approximately 750million individual Brussels sprouts at Christmas time, but if you estimate how many are eaten, it’s only about half of that.
  • 25% of the whole year’s sprout sales are in the two weeks before Christmas.
  • An area covering 3240 football pitches are used to grow Brussels sprouts in the UK – and if you lined all those sprouts up, they would stretch from London to Sydney.

The occupation with the largest proportion of Christmas Day workers though was clergy, with 51% working. In total though, on Christmas Day 2016, 1.082 million people worked – that’s 3.4% of all in employment, and on Boxing Day 2016, 1.574 million people worked – 4.9% of all in employment.

Christmas marks the birth of a special baby and ONS data show that 1,391 babies were born in England & Wales on Christmas Day 2016.  When it comes to seasonal baby names, in 2017 – we had 166 called ‘Angel’, 4 called ‘Gift’, 37 ‘Star’s and 5 ‘Merry’s.  Holly was especially popular in December, 209 baby girls were named Holly in December 2017, compared to an average of 72 each month from January to November. For boys, last year there were 967 Gabriel’s, 398 babies named Nicholas and 120 named Noel.

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