What does One in Ten mean?

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UB40: One in Ten Meaning


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Song Released: 1981

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One in Ten Lyrics

I am the one in ten
A number on a list
I am the one in ten
Even though I don`t exist
Nobody Knows me
Even though I`m always there
A statistic, a reminder
Of a world that doesn`t care

My arms enfold the dole...

  1. anonymous
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    Oct 13th report

    UB40 took their name for a card used for unemployed people in the UK at the time; Unemployment Benefit Form 40 aka UB40.

    The song is about the number of adults unemployed in the UK at the time - one in ten. Often overlooked for the kind of additional support you can get today, back then I would imagine being unemployed was much harder, making that person feel meaningless, invisible (to society) and just another number to the Government.

    It's definitely not about being gay. Even today, no more than 3% of the UK adult population indentifies as gay. Back in the early 80s, I would imagine that figure being a lot closer to 1%, certainly not 10% (1 in 10).

  2. anonymous
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    Nov 18th 2021 report

    Other than the 'numbers on a list' line, the balance of the song could be referring to gay people. Kinsey Report referred to 10 percent of general population - well that's the common interpretation.
    Even if I'm wrong it's a interpretation that I read into the song when I was young.

  3. anonymous
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    Oct 12th 2014 report

    It is about unemployment. When the song was recorded one in ten people were out of work.
    Also a UB40 was a card given out to people who were registered as unemployed.

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