Back in January, I covered the Mail's 'It's official: England is the most crowded country in Europe' by showing how the article actually said England was set to become Europe's most crowded country - by assuming that populaion density in Holland wouldn't grow at all after 2005. You can see the post at 'Let's start 2008 with a good immigration scare story!'
Now, eight months later, we have 'It's official - England is the MOST crowded country in Europe, thanks to immigration' Why, it's almost as if the Mail recycles stories.
It's not quite recycled, though. This new one takes actual population density figures for 2008 rather than just estimates for what it might be. So that's alright then. The headline must be true. Case closed.
But wait a minute! What about the figures for Holland? They're from 2008 right?
The paper is comparing England's 2008 figure with three year old Dutch ones. Its excuse is that because Dutch opulation density fell by 2 between 2002 and 2005 (although I have no idea what the source is for this, since the UN puts Holland's density as growing by 10 between 2000 and 2005), it must still be dropping.
Back in January, I looked at the UN's World Population Prospects site to do some calculations. Checking how Dutch population density would change between 2005 and 2010 shows it rising to 397 - not remaining steady or falling.
It's not possible to check figures for England on the UN site, but checking the UK shows a rise from 248 to 253 between 2005 and 2010. The Mail article actually quotes 253 as being the current population density of the UK.
Now, the written answer from statistician Karen Dunne (that the Mail says it bases its figures on) isn't yet available on the Parliament website, but I'm going to go out on a limb and make a prediction for when it is available.
I predict that when we get to see the actual figures, we'll see that they're based on th UN prediction for 2010, which would mean that England is still behind Holland and the story is a load of made up nonsense.
In the meantime - all those figures in the article's funky graphic? Based on 2005 figures, giving the impression of a higher difference between those countries and England than there actually is.
But hey - when have we ever been able to trust anything the Mail says about immigration?