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Texting more than doubled from 2007 to 2008, daily newspapers declined


iphone-census-textHow r u? The way we communicate is rapidly evolving, as evidenced by the fact that the number of text messages sent on cell phones has more than doubled from 48 billion in December 2007 to 110 billion in December 2008, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010.

The Statistical Abstract, aka “Uncle Sam’s Almanac,” perennially the federal government’s best-selling reference book, has been published since 1878 — before automobiles, airplanes and motion pictures had even been invented. Contained in the 129th edition are more than 1,400 tables of social, political and economic facts which collectively describe the state of our nation and the world. Included are 53 new tables, covering topics such as worldwide space launch events this decade, the use of complementary and alternative medicine, the type of work flexibility provided to employees, employment status of veterans and road fatalities by country.

The statistics come not only from the U.S Census Bureau but also from other governmental agencies and private organizations. The data are generally for the most recent year or period available by summer 2009. Most of the data are national-level, but some tables present state- and even city- and metropolitan-level data as well.

Highlights include:

Don’t read all about it …

–The number of daily newspapers declined from 1,480 in 2000 to 1,408 in 2008. Likewise, the average number of daily newspapers sold dropped from 55.8 million copies in 2000 to 48.6 million in 2008. (Table 1098)

Surfing … at the library

–In 2007, the nation’s 16,604 libraries collectively had an average of 12.5 public-use computers connected to the Internet per library. In Florida libraries there were an average of 24.4 computers and in Maryland libraries there were an average of 19.4 public-use computers connected to the Internet and were well above the U.S. average. At the other extreme, Vermont and Maine libraries each had averages of 4.7 and 4.9 Internet-connected computers per public library. (Tables 1115 and 1116) (See map)

Can you hear me now?

–In 2007, the average consumer spent $1,110 on telephone services. Residential telephone and pay phone services made up 43 percent of total expenditures, with cell phone service comprising 55 percent and phone cards and pager services making up the remaining  2 percent. (Table 1111)

–In 2008, there were more than 270 million cell phone subscribers; they paid an average monthly bill of $50 with the average call lasting 2.5 minutes. (Table 1112)

Going away to college

–In 2006, Rhode Island (25.8 percent), Vermont (28.0 percent), New Hampshire (37.6 percent), Delaware (37.7 percent) and Massachusetts (49.9 percent) had the lowest percentages of college freshmen enrolled in-state. Utah (89.9 percent), Louisiana (89.4 percent), North Carolina (87.8 percent), West Virginia (87.6 percent), and Indiana and Oklahoma (both with 86.9 percent) had the highest percentages. (Table 277) (See map)

Armed and dangerous

–In 2007, 6 percent of all students reported carrying a weapon on school property at least once during the previous month: 10.2 percent of males and 2.6 percent of females.  (Table 242)

–Violent crime per 100,000 population decreased from a rate of 597 in 1980 to 467 in 2007. Property crime per 100,000 population decreased from a rate of 5,353 in 1980 to 3,264 in 2007. (Table 295)

The economic downturn

–In 2008, 8,263 mass layoff events were reported — up from 5,363 in 2007. This situation occurs when an employer has at least 50 unemployment insurance claims lasting at least 31 days filed against them. (Table 620)

–The value of private construction put in place decreased from $850.1 billion in 2007 to $766.6 billion in 2008. (Table 929)

–In 2008, retail sales decreased for the first time in this decade: from a high of  $3,995 trillion in 2007 to $3,960 trillion. (Table 1017)

–Sales of consumer electronics are expected to drop nearly 8 percent in 2009, from a total of $178 billion in 2008 to a projected $165 billion. (Table 999)

You gotta play to win … and you gotta eat

–Despite the economic downturn, we’re gambling and eating out more …

–Lottery sales increased from $52.4 billion in 2007 to $53.4 billion in 2008, with $30.4 billion in sales for instant scratch-off tickets. (Table 438)

–Revenues from food and drinking places rose from $438 billion in 2007 to $453 billion in 2008. (Table 1017)


— In 2008, 37 percent of employers allowed all or most employees to periodically change starting and quitting times. Eight percent of employees were permitted to compress the workweek by working longer hours on fewer days, 8 percent to share jobs, 57 percent to return to work gradually after childbirth or adoption and 47 percent to take an extended career break for caregiving and other personal or other family reasons. (Table 593)

Into orbit –Of the 69 worldwide orbital space launches in 2008, 41 were noncommercial and 28 commercial. The U.S. conducted 15 total launches, Russia 26, China 11 and Europe six. (Table 797)

Healthy living

–There were more than 20,000 farms in 2007 engaged in organic production on more than 2.5 million acres. Sales of organically produced commodities totaled $1.7 billion, of which more than $1.1 billion were organic crops and $600 million organic livestock and poultry and poultry products. (Table 807).

–In 2007, the complementary and alternative medicine therapies most commonly used by U.S. adults in the past 12 months were nonvitamin, nonmineral and natural products (17.7 percent), deep breathing exercises (12.7 percent), meditation (9.4 percent), chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation (8.6 percent), massage (8.3 percent) and yoga (6.1 percent). (Table 161)

Deadly roads –In 2007, Russia suffered 235 road fatalities per 1 million inhabitants, more than any other country. Poland was next (147), followed closely by Estonia (146) and Slovenia (145). The U.S., by comparison, experienced 136 road fatalities per 1 million inhabitants.  (Table 1308)

Alternative energy sources

–The average price of crude oil rose from $67.94 per barrel in 2007 to $94.73 in 2008. (Table 714)  With these recent increases, many homeowners have switched from oil to natural gas to heat their homes. The states with the largest natural gas reserves in 2006 were Texas (61.836 billion cubic feet), Wyoming (23.549), New Mexico (17.934), Oklahoma (17.464) and Colorado (17.149). (Table 872)

–With the use of renewable energy on the rise, fuel ethanol consumption has soared from 2 million barrels in 1981 to almost 229 million barrels in 2008.  Biodiesel has experienced the same trend, rising from 243,000 barrels in 2001 to almost 8 million in 2008. (Table 899)

The cost of “juice”

–Residential electric energy prices in 2007 ranged from 20.72 cents per kilowatt-hour in Hawaii to 4.92 cents in Idaho. Alaska and four states in the Northeast also had prices above 16 cents per kilowatt-hour. (Table 916) (See map)

The most (and least) expensive places to live

–Harare, Zimbabwe, has the highest cost of living for private U.S. employees living abroad of any city in the world: 143 percent higher than in Washington, D.C. Geneva, Switzerland, is a close second, with living costs 135 percent higher than in the nation’s capital. On the other end of the spectrum, La Paz, Bolivia, and Tegucigalpa, Honduras, have some of the lowest living costs (16 percent less than D.C.). (Table 1322)

The 2010 Statistical Abstract may be obtained by calling the U.S. Government Printing Office at 202-512-1800 (ISBN No. 003-024-09075-9, $37 for the soft cover edition; and No. 003-024-09074-1, $41 for the hard cover edition

Copies are also available by calling the National Technical Information Service at 800-363-2068 or 703-605-6060 (PB2009-965301, $39 for the hard cover edition….).

A CD-ROM version of the book will be available later.

Every edition of the Statistical Abstract, dating from 1878, is available in PDF or zip files on the Census Bureau’s Web site at…. C U L8TR!

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