What is the Statistical Abstract?
Perennially the federal government's best-selling reference book, the latest and 130th edition of the Statistical Abstract includes 1,407 tables of social, political and economic facts that collectively describe the state of our nation and the world. Along with the expected demographic and economic data, the Statistical Abstract encompasses such diverse topics as insufficient rest or sleep, nursing home occupancy, homeschooling, earthquakes, U.S. Border Patrol apprehensions, organic farmland, honey bee colonies, crashes involving distracted drivers and cities with the highest transit savings.
The statistics come not only from the Census Bureau but also from other governmental agencies and private organizations. The data generally represent the most recent year or period available by summer 2010. Most are national-level data, but some tables present data on state, city and even metropolitan levels.
How Things Have Changed
When the first Statistical Abstract was published in 1878, the nation had only 38 states, most Americans traveled using a horse and buggy, Miami and Las Vegas did not yet exist, and Franklin D. Roosevelt had not yet been born. To say the least, things have changed.
Here are a few highlights from the 2011 Statistical Abstract of the United States:
- Death: The overall annual death rate decreased from 9.5 per 1000 people in 1970 to 8.0 in 2007. (Table)
- Taxes: In general, the effective federal income tax rates for all income groups fell from 2000 to 2009. For example The tax rate for individuals with an annual adjusted gross income of $40,000 fell from 12.5% in 2000 to 8.9% in 2009. (Table)
- Voting: In the 2008 presidential election, 58% of the voting-age population nationwide reported casting a ballot. In Minnesota and Maine -- the rate topped 70%. (Table)
- Going to Work: Nationally, 76% of workers 16 and older drove alone to work in 2008, with 11% carpooling and 5% using public transportation. In New York, however, the distribution was far different: 54% drove alone, with 27% utilizing public transportation and 8% carpooling. (Table)
- Going to Jail: The total number of adults either in U.S. jails or on probation or parole reached an all-time high of 7.3 million in 2008. (Table)
- Going Shopping: The number of shopping centers in the U.S. increased from 77,019 in 1990 to 104,919 in 2009. (Table)
- Getting Married: The marriage rate in the U.S. has decreased from 9.8 per 1,000 people in 1990 to only 5.4 per 1,000 people in 2008. (Table)
- And Divorced: The rate of divorces in the U.S. fell slightly from 4.7 per 1,000 people in 1990 to 4.1 per 1,000 people in 2000. (Table)
- Police Killed and Assaulted: The number of law enforcement officers killed in the U.S. fell from a recent high of 139 in 2004 to 109 in 2008. The number of officers assaulted fell from 72,091 in 1990 to 58,792 in 2008. (Table)
- TSA at Work: In 2007, TSA airport screeners confiscated 1.1 million knives, 1,416 guns and 11,908 box cutters. In 2009, they confiscated 116,200 incendiary devices, including ammunition and gun powder, flammables/irritants and explosives. (Table)
- Organic Farming: In 2008, the U.S. had 4.8 million acres devoted to organic farming, a 170% increase since 2000. (Table)
Printed copies of the 2011 Statistical Abstract may be ordered from the U.S. Government Printing Office at 202-512-1800. (ISBN No. 978-0-16-086681-4, $39 for the soft cover edition; and No. 978-0-16-086682-1, $43 for the hard cover edition.)