Thursday, December 09, 2004

Isolated, fat, and on drugs

The Census Bureau today released the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2004-2005. It's a statistic geek's paradise weighing in at 1000 pages, with 1,400 tables and charts. Some of the highlights they call out:
Drugs and drug sundries accounted for the highest proportion (35 percent) of the nearly $320 billion in U.S. merchant wholesale electronic commerce sales in 2002.

In 2002, 58 percent of persons age 18 and older were above a healthy weight, and 23 percent were considered to be obese.

The number of foreign travelers to the United States dropped from a high of 50.9 million in 2000 to 41.9 million in 2002. Travelers from the United States showed a similar trend: 60.9 million Americans traveled abroad in 2000 and 56.4 million in 2002.

Between 1998 and 2002, the number of higher education enrollments in foreign languages increased by 17 percent, from 1.2 million to 1.4 million. The largest percentage increases were in American Sign Language (from 11,400 to 60,800 students or 433 percent) and Arabic (from 5,500 to 10,600 students or 93 percent).
Well, we may be increasingly isolated, obese, and on drugs, but at least we're learning how to communicate.

And the stat that depresses me the most on a personal level:
In 2002, 39,955 doctoral degrees were conferred.
It just makes it hard to feel special, you know?

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