Safety in Numbers: The Best Day of the Year?

Brexit. Terrorism. Donald Trump. The papers are full of doom and gloom these days. Fortunately, Safety in Numbers has some good news for you…

In the 11 years since its conception, Blue Monday – the “most depressing day of the year” – has made its way into the collective British psyche as a bastion of misery: the perfect storm of bad weather, lack of money and post-Christmas blues joining forces to create a self-fulfilling prophecy on the third Monday of every January.

The story receives its fair share of criticism for its pseudoscientific calculations and perceived self-promotional undertones for the brand behind it, which begs the question: at what point does “new research” in the press pass from being in the interest of the public into the dangerous realm of being in the interest of the brands that commission it?

With all media activity there is a Venn diagram where the intersect between what a company wants to talk about and what consumers want to hear can be very thin. Research can be the perfect bridge between these two worlds – if carried out in good faith – so it is important to always question what the core message at the heart of any PR research is before it’s carried out. In this instance, a holiday company attempted to quantify “bad” and highlight a single day when all things bad converge – with the goal presumably of encouraging people to escape the doom and gloom by going on holiday.

With Blue Monday now a mainstay in British minds, many have forgotten its origins and sketchy methodology. This begs the further question: was their only crime attempting to make their research appear scientific?

There’s no doubt that pseudoscience can be fun, if it doesn’t try to dress itself up as anything else. So in light of this, and without any agenda or pretence of scientific calculations, Safety in Numbers will now attempt to brighten your day by revealing when the Best Day of the Year™ is…

When people think of the Worst Day of the Year™, they usually imagine:

  • Bad weather
  • Poor finances
  • Lack of something to look forward to


This would naturally lead one to assume that the Best Day of the Year™ is the polar opposite, meaning sun, a cash injection and something fun to look forward to. Using Safety In Numbers’ 100% unapproved pseudoscientific methodology, we are therefore delighted to announce that the Best Day of the Year™ has been identified – and it’s on Friday!

Research has revealed that money does indeed make the world go round. Therefore, the one day of the month that is most likely to unite Britain in revelry is payday. Typically, this falls any time over the last week of the month – with 31st July falling on a Sunday this year, meaning that for many pay day will be brought forward to Friday. This means that between now and the end of the week almost every paid employee in the UK will be celebrating their escape from the red – possibly outside with an alcoholic beverage.

Those with children may need a particularly strong one, with state schools having broken up a week earlier, meaning that those too young to drink will still be celebrating their physical freedom from another year of formal education. Already it feels like everyone has cause for celebrate on Friday.

Looking at the weather1, it’s unsurprising to see after the glorious sunshine enjoyed across much of the UK last week that July is the hottest month of the year, averaging maximum temperatures of 18.8°C and around five hours and 20 minutes of sunshine every day. Furthermore, with only 11.6 rainy days throughout the entire month there is a 63% chance of avoiding showers, so if good weather can be used as a barometer for happiness, July is your best bet for a happy month.

When the weather does invariably fail us (probably during Wimbledon or at any family picnic or barbecue), there is nothing like the prospect of a summer holiday to raise morale. The summer months are by far the most popular time of year to go abroad, with The ONS’ International Passenger Survey2 revealing that Brits took a collective 15.8 million overseas holidays between July and September 2015 – more than a third (37.5%) of the annual total of 42.1 million.

Looking at where people go, it’s no surprise to see that there were some 11,500 low cost and charter flights from the UK to Spain3 in July 2015. This is followed by Germany (5,689 flights) and France (5,236 flights), meaning that millions of Britons spend July either looking forward to or enjoying an overseas trip.

Even Death appears to take a holiday in late July, with the last week in July 2015 registering the fourth lowest number of recorded deaths in the calendar year – comfortably in the bottom decile and 15% lower than the weekly average4. At the other end of the life cycle, analysis of ONS figures on births5 also reveals that July is one of the most popular months to be born in, with an estimated 60,740 births every year. This means that every July nearly five and a half million people celebrate their birthdays, making it a good party month.

Of course, there is no scientific way to calculate the ‘best’ and ‘worst’ days of the year – not least because the odds of 64 million people all having a good day at the same time are practically zero – but with so much bad news out there what is the harm in using pseudoscience to make Friday the Best Day of the Year™?

Written by Chris Jarvis, Head of Research


Notes to Editors

1 Average climate figures taken from combined Met Office averages for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. All averages for the period 1971-2000 except for England, which covers 1981-2010. “Rainy days” constitute a day with more than 1mm.

2 Office for National Statistics’ Travelpac data covering Q1-Q4 2015, total number of holiday trips made abroad by British citizens.

3 Data published by Eurocontrol on scheduled and low cost flights from the UK to Europe in July 2015.

4 ONS Weekly provisional figures on deaths registered in England and Wales, 2015, published 26th July 2016

5 ONS figures on number of births between 1938 and 1991 in England and Wales, extrapolated to cover the total UK population of 64.1 million.

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