The Spectator

Barometer | 6 October 2016

Also in our Barometer column: landslide referendums, Americans who don’t pay federal income tax, and the dangers of boxing

Text settings

Tenement Scots

John Cleese referred to the editor of this magazine as a ‘tenement Scot’. Do more Scots live in tenements?

— The term tenement became associated in Scotland with 14-storey blocks built in Edinburgh in the 18th and 19th centuries. One collapsed in 1861, killing 35 residents and leading to an Improvement Act which largely did away with the old blocks.

— Today, 38% of homes in Scotland are flats or maisonettes, markedly higher than the 21% in England and Wales. But only 14,900 (0.6%) are ‘buildings in multiple occupancy’, with shared facilities like the original tenements.

More than a landslide

Hungarians voted by 98% to 2% to reject the EU’s plan to resettle a share of refugees in the country. Some referendums where the result wasn’t so close:

99.83% of Eritreans voted in 1993 for independence from Ethiopia.

99.8% of Falkland Islanders voted in 2013 to stay a British territory (3 voted against).

99.79% of voters in the Bosnian state of Srpska last week voted to approve a national day on 9 January — in defiance of the country’s courts, which had tried to ban the celebration.

99.59% of residents in the New Jersey town of Lakewood voted in January not to introduce a free school bus service.

98.83% of voters in South Sudan voted in 2011 to back independence.

Untaxed Americans

How unusual is Donald Trump in paying no federal income tax?

Last year, 171.3m Americans were liable for federal tax returns.

143.4m filed federal tax returns.

93.8m paid federal income taxes, while 77.5m (45%) did not. However, many of them will have paid state taxes.

Source: Tax Policy Center

Risks of the ring

A boxer, Mike Towell, died after a bout in Glasgow. How dangerous is boxing?

— According to a review of studies by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, between 15% and 40% of retired professional boxers exhibit some symptoms of chronic brain injury.

— There were 488 boxing deaths in the US between 1960 and 2011, with 66% caused by brain injury.

— But boxing was not in the top 20 causes of sport-related head injuries presented in US hospitals in 2009. The list was topped by cycling (85,389 injuries), followed by American football and baseball.