Institute for Social Renewal

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The North East’s favourite number is ...7

With nearly 13% of the vote, 7 was easily the region’s favourite, with double the number of votes given to this compared with the number 4, which came second with 6.8% of the vote. The number 9 came third, with just over 5% of respondents choosing this.

Nearly 500 people across the North East took part in the poll, which was part of the Numbers Festival organised by Steve Humble, Newcastle University’s very own Dr Maths. 

Steve, from the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences, said: “A lot of people expressed an interest in number 7 for a variety of reasons and not just because it was considered lucky. For some, it was because 7 had a strong football heritage, with Rob Lee, Kenny Dagleish and Jimmy Smith all mentioned in responses, while for others 7 was their birthday or house number.

“The numbers 8 and 2 received lots of votes because people liked the shape of the number itself, while others said they preferred the shape of 3 and 4. For others, there was a more mathematical reason behind their favourite, with several people choosing 3.14 (pi) or 1.618 (phi).”

Every number between 1 and 32 was voted for, and over 80% of respondents chose a number equal to or below 31. The lowest number voted for was -1, while six-digit numbers were given because it was the date of a wedding or civil partnership. Lottery numbers were also popular, with 10 and even 12-digit numbers given for this reason.

There was a clear preference for odd numbers, with 58% of votes going to odd numbers and 42% of votes for even numbers. This trend was similar for men and women, which goes against certain beliefs about odd and even numbers such as in ancient Greece, and the Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang, which both considered odd numbers to be masculine and even numbers feminine.

During the week-long programme of events, more than 200 secondary school students took part in workshops on chance and significance and mathematical magic, and more than 300 pupils in years 10, 11 and 12 attended a careers event. There were also two events involving more than 600 primary school children, with Kjartan Poskitt, author of the Murderous Maths books.

Dr Maths added: “We had a fantastic response to our challenge to find the North East’s favourite number, and it’s great to see that so many people took part – from primary school children right through to pensioners. One primary school even had a 'post box' at school to collect all the children's favourite numbers.

“The huge variety of reasons that people gave for voting for their favourite number illustrates the influence that numbers have on our lives and how important they are in every aspect of life, not just in the classroom.”

Pictured L to R: Pictured with Kjartan Poskitt is Abid Chowdhury, Abbie Taylor, Marissa Burton, Year six students from Monkseaton Middle School, Whitley Bay. 

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published on: 13 July 2015