The looming 70%

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For this Valentine’s Day edition it is only right to remind us all of that one statistic that seems to loom over the fate of all relationships in Durham. Perhaps you were told it in an induction lecture for a module, or a welcome talk from your college principal. Either way, someone may have told you that around 70% of Durham students will end up marrying each other. If you’re shocked and appalled by this idea, or perhaps thrilled to have the numbers on your side for once, I would ask you to restrain your emotions for one moment, as it is still not one hundred percent clear whether this statistic is entirely true. Thankfully for all the readers, I have done the digging and gone on an investigative trail to answer that very question. Upon first glance it seems all Palatinate articles quote the statistic from an article published by The Independent in 2015. Lucky for us, Miss Emma Yeo, the author of this famed article is a member of Durham University faculty. After speaking with Yeo and tracking down her sources I was led to a Huffpost from 2014 that seemed to be of no use as it tracks to our very own Durham21 Magazine, that sadly no longer exists, and thus error 404 was the only message received there. At this point, before I devolve the rest of the tale, it’s only right to share with you some thoughts that this famed statistic brings about. A south college student reports having been told this interesting fact during his first year induction talk at college. Although he mentioned that he was indifferent at the time, he has now claimed, “I don’t believe it”. What’s more, a second year Law student claims “I can believe it, but it feels weird to think about now whilst we’re still here”. 

around 70% of Durham students will end up marrying each other


Back to the story, and our research led us to a Guardian article published in 2008, claiming that “roughly 70% of Durham University’s students marry other Durham University students…”. In brief contact with the author of this Guardian article and from our own research, it was discovered that the statistic had been quoted from a university guide released by Universities UK earlier in the year, as they celebrated their 90th anniversary from their inception in 1918. Whilst this booklet has been near impossible to trace it left me to conclude that this statistic must have originated around then. Afterall, Universities UK are a renowned organisation, known for their research into higher education. Alas, if only the investigation was that easy. Upon speaking to Editor-in-Chief, Joe Harston, it was revealed that the Vice Principal of South College had met his wife at Durham, so there is more truth to the tale than we might think. What’s more, Editor-in-Chief seems to think the rumour may have originated from within Palatinate. Whilst I’m not any closer to uncovering the truth, you may be surprised by the numbers of people who claim to know a couple that met at Durham and are now married. Perhaps you are thinking of two teachers you once knew at school, or a couple currently walking the streets of Durham destined for matrimony. Either way it’s a funny little statistic and certainly a talking point. Let us know if you manage to uncover anything more than we have on this funny tidbit.

Image: freepik and Carly Tait

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