Thanks to the U.S. Census Bureau's Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010 (which is apparently a report that we didn't know existed until today), we have just learned 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. And mind you, this data doesn't even include information from 2009, which is expected to increase even further.
Just stop about think about that--US texting has more than doubled in just a year. Mind blowing, is it not? We're guessing that cell use in general has gone up, because we've read similar reports stating that Americans can't seem to curb their usage of mobile data, and obviously the mobile revolution is upon us. So, have you been texting more lately than before? After you ponder that one, have a look at a few other wild and wonky facts from the report:
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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)