Will Hutton makes some interesting points about class, and why it still matters, in a recent Observer piece.  But he’s also made a rather startling mistakes in his maths.  He states that

The good luck of being born into the right family is profound. Two American researchers, Betty Hart and Todd Risley, show how children from professional families hear on average 2,153 words per hour compared with 616 words per hour for kids in welfare families, so that by the age of three, there is a 30 million word gap between the vocabularies of children of families on welfare and those of professional families.

A 30 million word gap in vocabulary?  Surely just reading it back would tell you that there is something wrong in that statement.  It looks as though Will has mistaken occurrence for uniqueness.  Continue reading