You probably saw those stats on Americans' annual total media usage from the new U.S. Census Bureau's Statistical Abstract of the United States in the radio industry trade publications just before Christmas.
Those tantalizing fast facts are just the start of fascinating tidbits about how we live our media-entwined lives today. More examples of information contained in the new Statistical Abstract:
* As 2007 begins, adults and teens will spend a combined nearly five months (3,518 hours) of their time multi-tasking in the next year watching television, listening to radio, surfing the Internet, reading daily newspapers and listening to personal music devices.
* Consumer spending for media is forecasted to be $936.75 per person.
* Among adults, 97 million Internet users sought news online in 2005, 92 million purchased a product and 91 million made a travel reservation. About 16 million used a social or professional networking site and 13 million created a blog
* U.S. consumers are projected to spend $55.5 billion to purchase 3.17 billion books in 2007
* Nearly half (47 percent) of college freshmen enrolled in 2005 had earned an average grade of A in high school, compared to 20 percent in 1970.
* 79 percent of freshmen in 1970 had an important personal objective of "developing a meaningful philosophy of life." By 2005, 75 percent of freshmen said their primary objective was "being very well off financially."
* There were 3.5 million U.S. millionaires in 2001, more than a half million of them in California and about 3,000 in Vermont.
* 50.3 percent of U.S. households (nearly 57 million) owned stocks and mutual funds in 2005, representing 91 million individual investors. Equity owners had a median age of 51, a median household income of $65,000 and $125,000 in median household financial assets.
* There were 278 million debit cards in U.S. hands in 2004, with 22.2 billion transactions amounting to more than $1 trillion.
* In 2004, people made more than 1.1 billion trips (ambulatory care visits) to physicians' offices, hospital outpatient departments and emergency rooms.
* And, among U.S. Government employees, active-duty strength for the U.S. armed forces in 2005 included:
- 493,000 in the Army
- 354,000 in the Air Force
- 363,000 in the Navy
- 180,000 Marines
* The U.S. Postal Service
- Employed 803,000 persons in 2005, down from 901,000 in 2000
- Handled 211.7 billion pieces of mail in 2005, nearly double the 106.3 billion carried in 1980
* Americans drank 23.2 gallons of bottled water per capita in 2004. Consumption was only 2.7 gallons of bottled water in 1980, while the retail price of a gallon of milk jumped from $2.79 in 2000 to $3.24 in 2005, and a pound of creamy peanut butter dropped from $1.96 to $1.70
* And, in 2005, homeowners spent $159.5 billion on home improvements and repairs, with $133.7 billion going to contractors
* Finally, U.S. airports screened 738.6 million passengers in 2005, confiscating 9.4 million lighters, which could have been put to good use in China, which produced nearly 1.8 trillion cigarettes in 2004, finds the report.
There is also state and local data available as well. For more info, contact Mike Bergman in the Census Bureau's Public Information Office ((301 763-3030).
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