24% of Polish people want to kill us in our beds! *UPDATED*

Going through the whole process of coming up with the 'How the Daily Mail lies about immigration' series has made me heartily sick of the thought of trawling through another shoddy Mail immigration article, but since this one seems to have popped up twice [actually, it's popped up three times. See update at the bottom], I'll have a quick look at it.

The two articles about the identical thing are '1 in 4 Eastern bloc migrants wants to stay here for good' and 'More immigrants "aim to stay in UK"'. Since I can't be arsed to go through them closely, I'll keep this brief.

Both articles are based on figures found in this part of a three part report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The report doesn't pretend to count immigrant numbers, but only gives an overview of how migrants' attitudes change the longer they stay in the UK. Anyway, the paper's main focus seems to be on this (taken from the second article):
It revealed that 18 out of 307 people (6%) planned to live in Britain permanently when they first entered the country 18 months earlier. When asked if they still intended to stay in Britain, 76 people (24%) said they intended to stay permanently.
That it did. But there's another important figure that gets conveniently left out of both Mail articles:
A similar picture emerges if retrospective interviews are included (raising the number of observations to a total of 187). Of all those interviewed six to eight months after EU enlargement, 25 per cent said that they intended to settle, compared to 6 per cent who had thought so at the time of their last entry to the UK (before EU enlargement). As explained above, these data are biased in the sense that they include only migrants who were still in the UK six to eight months after EU enlargement. Nevertheless, the data do make it clear that some migrants change their intentions over time, deciding to plan for settlement rather than for a temporary stay as initially intended.
So, six to eight months later, the percentage is roughly the same - with 25 per cent intending to stay, but the sample has mysteriously shrunk from 307 to 187. What's to blame for this shrinkage? Come on, what do you reckon? Here's what the report says:
It is certainly possible that one important reason why we did not manage to reinterview some migrants was that they had left the UK. Thus we might well have missed a proportion of those among our Wave 1 respondents who cut their stay short, and conversely were more likely to sample those who prolonged their stay.
So, the actual number of people who intended to stay then dropped from 76 to 47. The reson this represents the same percentage is that the overall sample group dropped by 120. One important reason for that is that those people may well have left the country already. That's why the report gives this warning:
The primary purpose of our analysis of the survey data below is to point out that there is often a discrepancy between the time migrants think they will spend in the UK when they arrive and the time they actually spend working and living in the UK in practice. The discrepancy may in theory be either to spend a longer or shorter periodin the UK. [Emphasis mine].

So, the paper has taken a report that makes some nuanced and tentative points and made it fit the paper's stance on immigration. Not really a surprise, but still.

Just for fun - and yes I do find this fun, sue me - let's do a similar calculation that James Slack does in his article (thw '1 in 4 Eastern bloc migrants...' one) where he calculates that the figures mean 160,000 Eastern Europeans intend to stay here. 120 is 39% of 307. So that means up to 39% of migrants leave after 6 - 8 months. 39% of 640,000 is 249,600 - which would leave 390,400. 25% of those say they intend to stay, which stands at 97,600. So we have an upper limit of 97,600 people spread over three years who intend to stay in the UK, because we don't know how many more leave after 6 - 8 months, or how many of those would have intended to stay. We don't have 160,000.

But of course, the stats don't work like that. That's why the report itself warns:
The nature of the data and relatively small sample size make it diffi cult to make robust statements about the impact of EU enlargement [...]
Didn't stop the Mail though, eh?

*UPDATE* There's actually a third version of this article on the site, publlished on the same day as the '1 in 4 Eastern bloc migrants . . .' one, and written by the same journalist. The classic lying headline is 'One third of all Eastern Europeans want to stay in Britain premanently'. Firstly, it's not a third. Secondly, it's not all Eastern Europeans - it's not even all Eastern Europeans who have come to work in the UK. It's almost identical to the '1 in 4 Eastern bloc . . .' one, but is a bit more shrill, inserting phrases like '[the 'vast bulk']
have changed their mind and will spend the rest of their days here.' The rest of their days eh? The rest of the article is pretty standard stuff and follows the format we know and love about Mail scaremongering exaggeration. Wonder which one made the print version?

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