You may have seen many commentators, the BBC included, reporting this week that divorces were up in 2016 by 5.8% - "the biggest year-on-year rise since 1985"!

There is no real news here at all.  Divorces in 2015 were at their lowest since 1971 and were an unexpected 9% drop on 2014 - the 2016 figure was just a reversion to the mean. The reality is that divorce numbers have been dropping pretty steadily from a high of 165,000 in 1993 to 107,000 in 2016.

Also, the claim that "the number of divorces last year in England and Wales was the highest since 2009" is simply wrong. The data shows the number of divorces was as follows:

2016 - 106,959

2015 - 101,055

2014 - 111,169

2013 - 114.720

2012 - 118,140

2011 - 117, 558

2010 - 119,589

2009 - 113,949

So 2016 had the highest number of divorces since, er, 2014. Oh.

It seems that divorce, as with so many things in life, is plagued not only by lies and damned lies but by statistics too.