Tag Archives: statistics

Back to School Stats


Did you know:

  • the average number of children participating each month in the National School Lunch Program in 2009 was 31.3 million
  • the number of classroom computers in the nation’s schools in 2005-2006 was 14.2 million (or one computer for every four students)?  
  • the per-pupil expenditure on public elementary and secondary education nationally in 2009 was $10,499, and in New York $18,126 per-pupil, the most among all states?
  • the average tuition, room and board at the nation’s four-year private colleges and universities for one academic year (2008-09) was $40,633, more than double the cost in 1990?

Find these and other interesting statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Facts for Features & Special Editions!

Bureau of Labor Statistics – Labor Force Statistics

BLSLooking for statistics on the labor force, including current and historical unemployment rates?  Check out the Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, including tables on employment status, characteristics of the employed/not employed, and minimum wage earnings.

Black Friday

In honor of the arrival of Black Friday, here’s a few interesting facts about the wonderful world of holiday shopping:

  • U.S. department stores hauled in $27.4 billion in December 2009, representing a 45 percent increase from the previous month. No other 2009 month-to-month increase in department store sales was greater.
  • Fourteen percent of all department store sales last year came during the month of December.
  • U.S. department store inventories increased by 21 percent from August 31, 2009 to November 30, 2009. Thanks to holiday shoppers, inventories plummeted by 23 percent in December.

These statistics and more can be found at the U.S. Census Bureau’s Service Sector Statistics website, and more newsworthy facts and numbers about the holiday season can be found over the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features and Special Editions website. Happy holidays!

It’s Turkey Time

Did you know that Minnesota expects to raise about 47 million turkeys in 2010? That’s tops in the nation, followed by North Carolina (31.0 million), Arkansas (28.0 million), Missouri (17.5 million), Indiana (16.0 million) and Virginia (15.5 million). Those six states together will probably account for two-thirds of all the U.S. turkeys produced in 2010.

Fun facts like this one from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service and many others are available at the U.S. Census Bureau’s Facts for Features and Special Editions website right now, and come back for seconds later in the week for some more seasonal statistics on Black Friday.

Statistical Abstract of the United States

statabThe Statistical Abstract has been published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census since 1878 and is an excellent first stop for many statistical needs, since it covers a wide variety of topics and compiles data from government as well as non-governmental sources (including trade associations).  The Statistical Abstract has PDFs and Excel spreadsheets for download, making it easy to generate charts and graphs.  Also, earlier editions of the Statistical Abstract can be found by clicking on the tab for Earlier Editions. (Note that these are still in PDF format.)

Need just some quick facts on-the-go?  Try the U.S. Census Bureau’s QuickFacts for easy access to people, geography, and business data.

World Bank Data Products Now Freely Available

wbGreat news for current students, graduating students, alumni, and faculty!  The World Bank has recently made their data products freely available without subscription through their new open data site (http://data.worldbank.org), with more than 2,000 financial, business, health, economic, and human development statistics.  Most of these products were previously only available through subscription.

What kinds of data can you find here?  Over 300 indicators covering over 200 countries – some of the data going back 50 years:

  • annual fresh water withdrawals
  • electric power consumption
  • fertility rates
  • GDP
  • health expenditures
  • internet users
  • life expectancy
  • literacy rates
  • long-term unemployment
  • marine protected areas
  • methane emissions
  • military expenditures

…and much more!

The data come from a variety of sources including international agencies, private and NGO partners, and the World Bank’s 186 member countries. For more information about World Bank’s open data initiative, see this video of World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick.

American FactFinder

affNeed a place to start when looking for Census data?  American FactFinder (http://factfinder.census.gov) is an online data source for population, housing, economy and geography from the following data programs: 

  • Decennial Census
  • American Community Survey
  • Current Population Estimates
  • Economic Census
  • Annual Economic Surveys

American FactFinder is your source for population, housing, economic and geographic data for the United States!  Can’t find what you need?  Contact the librarian:  journalism@libraries.cul.columbia.edu.