Former Examiner writer Mark Twain famously wrote this in the 1906 North American Review: “Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.'” Of course today, with the miracle of Google, every schoolboy knows that Disraeli was not the author of that witticism; it was Sir Charles Dilke [1843-1911], writing in The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post, Monday, October 19, 1891. Aren’t you glad you know that now?
If so, you will be pleased to learn that the United Nations General Assembly designated Oct. 20, 2010, as the first-ever World Statistics Day to highlight the role of official statistics and the many achievements of national statistical systems. Statistical organizations throughout the world will celebrate World Statistics Day at the national and regional level. The census, the U.S. Census Bureau and 13 other principal federal statistical agencies together have been collecting statistics about the nation’s people, economy and society since 1790.
To help us celebrate this wonderful occasion in appropriate style, the clever folks over at the U.S. Census Bureau have provided us with some rather interesting stats for our edification and perusal. Enjoy:
310 million. Estimated current U.S. population. We reached 300 million in 2006, 200 million in 1967 and 100 million in 1915. When our nation achieved independence in 1776, we had a population of only 2.5 million.
155.6 million. The number of women in the U.S. in 2009. Overall, the U.S. had more women than men (151.4 million). In a few states, however, men outnumbered women, such as Alaska where there were 362,000 men and 336,000 women.
36.9 million. The number of U.S. residents who claimed Irish ancestry in 2009, which was eight times the population of Ireland itself (4.5 million).
70,490. The estimated number of centenarians (100 years old or more) in the U.S. in 2009. Projections indicate that in 2050, the number will be more than 600,000.
74.5 million. The number of children under 18 in the U.S. in 2009.
84 percent. Percent of children who ate dinner with a parent five or more times per week in 2006.
70 percent. The percent of children under 18 who lived with both parents in 2009.
59 percent. The percent of children ages 6 to 11 who were highly engaged in school in 2006. The index for measuring a child’s engagement in school is based on whether a child is interested in schoolwork, whether a child works hard in school and whether the child likes school.
56 percent. Percent of children who are subject to family television rules, such as limiting what programs they may watch, what times they may watch and how many hours they may watch television.
42 percent. Percent of children ages 6 to 17 who participated in sports in 2006.
33 percent. Percent of children ages 6 to 17 who participated in extracurricular clubs in 2006.
5.3 million. Estimated number of “stay-at-home” parents in 2009 in the United States: 5.1 million mothers and 158,000 fathers.
58 percent. The percent of female advanced degree holders among ages 25 to 29 in 2009.
85 percent. The percent of people 25 or older who held at least a high school degree in 2009.
28 percent. The percent of people 25 or older who held at least a bachelor’s degree in 2009.
28 percent. The percent of householders who rated their homes a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 in 2009.
25.1 minutes. The national mean travel time to work in 2009.
24.3 pounds. Per capita candy consumption in 2009.
14. Number of U.S. principal statistical agencies. They are the Bureau of Economic Analysis; Bureau of Justice Statistics; Bureau of Labor Statistics; Bureau of Transportation Statistics; U.S. Census Bureau; Economic Research Service; Energy Information Administration; National Agricultural Statistics Service; National Center for Education Statistics; National Center for Health Statistics; Office of Environmental Information; Social Security Administration Office of Research Evaluation and Statistics; National Science Foundation: Science Resources Statistics; and the Internal Revenue Service’s Statistics of Income Division.
29,208. Number of statisticians employed in the United States in 2009.
20 percent. Percent of statisticians employed by the federal government, with most of them concentrated in the Departments of Commerce, Agriculture, and Health and Human Services in 2008. Another 10 percent worked for state and local governments.
13 percent. Projected growth of employment of statisticians from 2008 to 2018.
$72,820. Median annual wage for statisticians in May 2009.
And remember, dear readers, a statistician is just a mathematician broken down by age and sex…
For more information about the U.S. Census Bureau, please visit http://www.census.gov/
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