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Published:March 26th, 2009 09:50 EST
Nearly Half of our Lives Spent with TV, Radio, Internet, Newspapers

Nearly Half of our Lives Spent with TV, Radio, Internet, Newspapers

By SOP newswire

Adults and teens will spend nearly five months (3,518 hours) next year watching television, surfing the Internet, reading daily newspapers and listening to personal music devices. That`s only one of thousands of nuggets of information on Americana and the world in the U.S. Census Bureau`s Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2007, released today.

The Statistical Abstract is a collaborative effort that showcases our government statistics and the work of the international community, private industry and nonprofit agency researchers, " said Census Bureau Director Louis Kincannon.

According to projections from a communications industry forecast (Table 1110), people will spend 65 days in front of the TV, 41 days listening to radio and a little over a week on the Internet in 2007. Adults will spend about a week reading a daily newspaper and teens and adults will spend another week listening to recorded music. Consumer spending for media is forecasted to be $936.75 per person.

The Statistical Abstract includes topics as diverse as condo and mobile home sales to new tables on alternative work schedules and the North American cruise industry. Overall, the book features more than 1,400 tables and charts on social, political and economic facts about the United States, and the latest available international statistics.

Some examples of information contained in the new Statistical Abstract:

Online and Buy-the-Book

  • 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. (Table 1139)


  • U.S. consumers are projected to spend $55.5 billion to purchase 3.17 billion books in 2007. (Tables 1118, 1119)

Straight-A`s and Who Wants To Be a Millionaire

  • Nearly half (47 percent) of college freshmen enrolled in 2005 had earned an average grade of A in high school, compared to 2-in-10 (20 percent) in 1970. The majority (79 percent) of freshmen in 1970 had an important personal objective of developing a meaningful philosophy of life. " By 2005, the majority of freshmen (75 percent) said their primary objective was being very well off financially. " (Table 274)


  • There were 3.5 million U.S. millionaires in 2001, more than a half million of them (572,000) in California and about 3,000 in Vermont. (Table 700)

Taking Stock and the Cards We`re Dealt

  • More than half (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. (Tables 1194, 1195)


  • There were 278 million debit cards in U.S. hands in 2004, with 22.2 billion transactions amounting to more than $1 trillion. (Table 1168)


  • More than half of families with credit cards (56 percent) almost always " pay off the balance, 20 percent sometimes " pay off the balance and another 24 percent hardly ever " pay off the balance. (Table 1170).

Taxing Situations; Taxiing Situations

  • The average tax refund in 2003 was $2,154, up from $1,802 in 2000. Average taxes due at the time of filing were $3,499 in 2003, down from $4,406 in 2000. (Table 473)


  • The greater Cincinnati airport led major U.S. airports in on-time arrivals in the last three months of 2005 with an 84.3 percent on-time rate. Salt Lake City International had the best on-time departure rate at 86.3 percent. (Table 1055)

Waiting Rooms; Welcoming Arms

  • In 2004, people made more than 1.1 billion trips (ambulatory care visits) to physicians` offices, hospital outpatient departments and emergency rooms. (Table 157)


  • More than 65 million people did volunteer work in 2005, devoting a median of 50 hours a year to religious, educational and other activities. Older Americans (age 65 and over) did the most work " 96 hours. (Table 572)

Fewer in Uniform

  • 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 and 180,000 Marines. The nearly 1.4 million men and women in uniform compares to 3 million-plus members in 1970. (Table 500)


  • The U.S. Postal Service employed 803,000 persons in 2005, down from 901,000 in 2000. They handled 211.7 billion pieces of mail in 2005, nearly double the 106.3 billion carried in 1980. (Table 1105)

Stepping Into a Small World

  • Consumers stepped into 2.1 billion pairs of imported shoes in 2004. More than 98 percent of footwear purchased in the United States was imported. (Table 993)


  • There were 62 clams, 24 snails and 19 crustaceans on the U.S. endangered species list in 2006. In other countries, only two clams, one snail and no crustaceans were in danger of becoming extinct. (Table 372)

A Cornucopia: How Sweet It Is

  • U.S. growers harvested 11 billion bushels of corn on 75.1 million acres of farmland in 2005 (Table 832). About 1.9 billion bushels were exported and 1.6 billion bushels were used for ethanol. (Table 831)


  • Per capita consumption of corn sweeteners, including high-fructose syrup, totaled 78.1 pounds in the United States in 2004, up from 35.3 pounds in 1980 but on a downward trend from 81.8 pounds consumed in 2000. (Table 202)

Hydrated, and Increasingly Organic

  • Americans drank 23.2 gallons of bottled water per capita in 2004. Consumption was only 2.7 gallons of bottled water in 1980. (Table 201)


  • The retail price of a gallon of milk jumped from $2.79 in 2000 to $3.24 in 2005, while a pound of creamy peanut butter dropped from $1.96 to $1.70. (Table 712)


  • There were 8,035 certified organic growers in the United States in 2003, tending 2.2 million acres of certified land. That`s up from 6,592 growers working 1.8 million acres in 2000. (Table 809)

Projects, Peeves and Just Plain Pets

  • In 2005, homeowners spent $159.5 billion on home improvements and repairs, with $133.7 billion going to contractors. (Table 968)


  • In 2005, residents of 3.7 million of the nation`s 109 million occupied housing units were bothered by odors in their neighborhood, and people in 1.4 million homes said it smelled so bad they wanted to move. (Table 963)


  • Pet owners walked an average of 1.6 dogs in 36 percent of U.S. households in 2001, while people were tolerated by an average of 2.1 cats in 32 percent of homes. (Table 1227)

The Lighter Side

  • U.S. airports screened 738.6 million passengers in 2005, confiscating 9.4 million lighters. (Table 523)


  • " the lighters would have been put to good use in China, which produced nearly 1.8 trillion cigarettes in 2004. (Table 1342).

      The Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2007 may be obtained by calling the U.S. Government Printing Office at 202-512-1800 (ISBN: 0160763029, $39 for the hardbound edition; and ISBN: 0160763010, $35.00 for the softbound edition) or order online at <>.

      It also may be obtained by calling the National Technical Information Service at 800-553-6847 (PB2007-965301, $39 for the hardbound edition; and PB2007-965801, $35 for the softbound edition) or order online at <>.

Source:  U.S. Census Bureau