Ed Balls MP
Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls claimed at the weekend that Britons nowadays are “more likely to be divorced than to change your bank account.” He was making a point about the need for banking reforms and the need for customers to shop around.
But that got us thinking – is this claim true? Are British people more likely to get a divorce than they are to change their bank accounts?
Ed Balls claim was based on the prior claim that people change their bank accounts on average “every 26 years,” which makes divorce more likely – the the Office for National Statistics has said that the average failed marriage lasts 11.4 years before ending in divorce.
However, what makes comparing the two statistics a little dodgy is the fact that it does not take into account the relative likelihoods of people wishing to end their marriages – or dump their bank managers – in the first place.
All Mr Balls has actually done here is compare the length of time it takes couples who will divorce to get divorced with the length of time people will take to change their bank account – again, if they are going to in the first place. This is far from meaningful, since it assumes that everyone is either going to get divorced or change their bank accounts.