303 episodes

Tim Harford and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us. From BBC Radio 4

More or Less: Behind the Stats BBC Radio 4

    • News
    • 4.7 • 655 Ratings

Tim Harford and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us. From BBC Radio 4

    Did the WHO get some of its excess death estimates wrong?

    Did the WHO get some of its excess death estimates wrong?

    The World Health Organisation recently released some new estimates of the global death toll of the pandemic. But the figures for a few countries have caused controversy. Tim Harford speaks to Professor Jon Wakefield, who worked on the analysis - and Indian data journalist Rukmini S about the debate that’s erupted in India over the figures.



    (man puzzled at blackboard. Credit: Getty images)

    • 8 min
    Have the oceans become 30% more acidic?

    Have the oceans become 30% more acidic?

    Although the climate-changing effects of Carbon Dioxide emissions are well known, they are changing our oceans too, making them more acidic. But how much?

    Tim Harford explores the statistical quirks of ocean acidification, from pH to the mysteries of logarithmic scales. With Dr Helen Findlay from the Plymouth Marine Laboratory in the UK.

    • 8 min
    Sweden’s polarising pandemic response

    Sweden’s polarising pandemic response

    When much of Europe went into lockdown at the start of pandemic, Sweden’s lighter touch strategy got lots of attention. Fans of the approach say it was a huge success that showed lockdowns were pointless. Opponents say it has been a disaster. But what do the numbers say?

    In this episode of More Or Less, Tim Harford and journalist Keith Moore carve a nuanced path through one of the pandemic’s most polarising approaches.

    • 8 min
    Understanding India through Data

    Understanding India through Data

    How do you go about understanding a country with a population as diverse as it is vast?

    Data journalist Rukmini S is the author of Whole Numbers and Half Truths: What Data Can and Cannot Tell Us About Modern India.

    Tim Harford spoke to her about the power and pitfalls of using statistics to make sense of modern India, from basic questions like average income to the huge challenges of keeping track of Covid.

    • 8 min
    Subitising and simplifying: how to better explain numbers

    Subitising and simplifying: how to better explain numbers

    Have you ever looked at a numerical claim and thought ‘what on earth does that mean?’ Complex numbers are often badly communicated, making it difficult for the public to appreciate what they signify - but dial things down too much and you’re at risk of oversimplifying important issues. It’s a tightrope walk authors Chip Heath and Karla Starr have explored in their new book ‘Making Numbers Count’. Tim Harford talks to them about how we can improve the way we communicate numbers to the general public.

    Producer: Lizzy McNeill

    (Image: Child in front of numbers, Credit: Getty Images)

    • 8 min
    Did tea-drinking cut deaths in the Industrial Revolution?

    Did tea-drinking cut deaths in the Industrial Revolution?

    Could an explosion in tea-drinking explain a decline in deaths in England during the industrial revolution? Professor Francisca Antman, an economist at the University of Colorado Boulder believes it might.

    Tim Harford discovers that dusting down the data from tea shipments and local burial records gives us surprising insight into how boiling water for tea accidentally improved public health.

    Presenter: Tim Harford
    Producer: Nathan Gower
    Sound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot

    • 8 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
655 Ratings

655 Ratings

mkcheshire ,

great show

My only complaint is the ANNOYINGLY LOUD SOUND after ADs.

nicmart ,

Sometimes good, sometimes awful

It has often been good, but then the guest about the “gender pay gap” was a reporter from leftist NPR. I unfollowed the podcast. It isn’t that I object to disparate opinions, I object to activism masquerading as expertise. Surely the host of the show knows that there are experts on this topic.

Nella2012 ,

I share this podcast all the time!

I am so glad i stumbled upon this podcast. The explanations and statistical analysis done by the contributors is fascinating.
I would like to have access to some of the research articles, etc mentioned in each episode for further reading and education.

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