Why I love the Census

I’m bemused this decade by the variety of ads the US Census Bureau is running to encourage everybody to return their census forms this spring. They seem to be hitting every possible demographic. (I’m solidly in the group the Christopher Guest repertory company is aiming at.)

But the Census ads also remind me of the Bureau’s fascinating annual publication, The Statistical Abstract of the United States, which I wrote about last year on my Viral Learning blog:

For the past few years, I’ve had fun downloading and browsing through the Statistical Abstract of the United States, published annually by the Census Bureau. This week I finally got around to downloading the 2009 edition (published in October), which is 30 sections and 6 appendices full of all sorts of goodies, like:

—There were 240,800 blepharoplasties performed in 2007 (mine, to repair a ptosis, isn’t included there, since it was in 2008, so I supposed it’ll be included in next year’s abstract.

—The likelihood of a 3- to 5-year-old to visit a library is greater when the mother holds a baccalaureate (52%) or graduate (60%) degree (though nothing about the father’s education, unfortunately).

—More 18- to 24-year-olds play sports (49.4%) than garden (20.7%), but—not too surprisingly—more 55- to 64-year-olds garden (56.6%) than play sports (16%).

You never know what weird and interesting little tidbits you’ll find.

And it’s all meant to help us figure out who we are, which seems more than worthwhile.


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