Gender differences amongst sex workers online

Two weeks ago the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) announced that the UK economy had grown by 0.9% in the second quarter of 2014. This growth was partly due to the decision to include prostitution in gross domestic product (GDP) for the first time ever.

The ONS estimate that Britain’s 60,879 prostitutes contribute £5.314bn (0.4% GDP) to the UK economy.  But, this figure completely ignores male prostitution.  In a previous post we used data from AdultWork, a popular sex worker website, to determine that 42% of UK prostitutes are male, which (all other factors being equal) represents an additional £3.542bn of UK GDP!

Our initial analysis was very simple, but nonetheless raised a lot of interest from you all, along with some great questions about the gender differences between male and female sex workers.  We decided to look a little deeper into the gender differences amongst sex workers online and this is what we found.

Continue reading Gender differences amongst sex workers online

How much does prostitution contribute to the UK economy?

How many prostitutes are there in the UK?  According to the Office of National Statistics the answer is 60,879.  In figures due to be released next week this number is being used to add £5.314bn to the official size of the UK economy.  But the ONS only attempted to measure the number of female prostitutes.  If male prostitutes are included in the count then the contribution that prostitution makes to the UK economy rises to £8.856bn.

From the 30th of September the UK’s national accounts will attempt to measure illegal transactions to which all parties consent, including the sale of illegal drugs and prostitution.  Illegal transactions are difficult to measure because the participants, while willing, are anxious that their business goes unnoticed.  As a result there are very few obvious ways to directly measure illegal transactions and the ONS have been forced to rely on 10-year-old survey data in order to try and estimate the level of prostitution activity in the UK.

But there is a better way of measuring the number of prostitutes than using survey data.  While many of the activities associated with prostitution are illegal in the UK, paying for sex is actually legal and as a result, prostitution services are widely marketed on the web.  We can use Import.io to directly count the number of prostitutes who are marketing on the web and attempt a better estimate of the number of prostitutes in the UK.  

Continue reading How much does prostitution contribute to the UK economy?

Using data to create a personality test that will tell you how to vote in the Scottish referendum

Should-Scotland-be-independent

The Scottish referendum is happening today.

The date was set two years ago but it feels like the British public (English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish alike) only just sat up to take notice in the past 10 days.

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The political debate has all of a sudden erupted into noise and confusion and it made me wonder how people should vote.  

Continue reading Using data to create a personality test that will tell you how to vote in the Scottish referendum