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Elections, Drugs and Bananas: The Wisdom of Statistical Abstract
Statistics are critical to research in many disciplines – and today, when researchers need reliable statistics, they turn to the Statistical Abstract of the United States and its international companion, Statistical Abstracts of the World. Both resources offer vital and fascinating snapshots of countries and their people.
Conceptualized by the U.S. federal government in the late 1800s and published by ProQuest since 2013, the Statistical Abstract of the United States is the best-known statistical reference publication in the U.S. You’ll find it at nearly every U.S. library as an answer key and a guide to statistical sources – in fact, the print version has even been recommended as a holiday gift by the Washington Post.
What Statistics are Available in the Statistical Abstract of the United States?
Here are a few relevant, timely, contextual – and, in some cases, surprising – statistics drawn from recent editions of the Statistical Abstract.
- Presidential elections: In 2016, nearly 137 million Americans voted for president, which represented 54.8% of the voting-age population. Compare that to 1960, the year John F. Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon, when 62.8% of the voting-age population voted for president.
- Drug overdoses: Death rates from drug overdoses in the U.S. were 21.7 per 100,000 people in 2017, up from 12.3 in 2010. Rates are highest among non-Hispanic white men at 35.8 per 100,000. In 2016, fentanyl surpassed heroin as the leading drug in overdose deaths with 18,335 from fentanyl compared to 15,961 from heroin.
- Healthcare spending: Spending on Medicaid benefits in the U.S. topped $7,654 per enrollee in 2017. North Dakota had the highest per enrollee spending at approximately $13,000. South Carolina had the lowest with $4,700 per enrollee.
- Firearms at airport checkpoints: There were 4,432 firearms found at U.S. airport security checkpoints in 2019 across 278 airports. Of those, 87% were loaded.
- Ride-hailing services: 19% of U.S. millennials used ride-hailing services in 2017 – compared with 10% of Generation X and 5% of Baby Boomers.
- Prices of goods: From 1990 to 2019, the price of a pound of bananas rose from 43 cents to 57 cents (a 32% increase), while a pound of beef increased from $1.63 to $3.86 (a 137% increase).
With more than 1,400 fully indexed, browsable and downloadable statistics tables, the Statistical Abstract of the United States includes a wealth of reliable and fascinating information for research, teaching and learning. Whether they’re looking to analyze the impact of social policies or verifying statistics from an unreliable source, students and faculty across disciplines can benefit from this valuable resource.
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If you’d like to learn more about the Statistical Abstract databases and various affordable subscription options for libraries, including a new subscribe-to-own model, contact your ProQuest representative.