The latest Statistical Abstract of the United States was recently released, detailing some of the more fascinating habits of the US population. A few might actually have some relevance to NZ …

  • Americans ate 108.3 pounds (about 49 kgs) of red meat — good news for NZ exporters. But down 5.4 pounds from 2000. Ooops!
  • But drinking more wine — 2.5 gallons per person, and that’s up from 2.0 gallons in 2000. Probably that inferior white variety from the South Island. But that’s a piddly amount anyway — most Kiwis drink that much at one concert.
  • A record 41% of all births were to unmarried women. Sounds Kiwi.
  • There are 4.8 million acres of organic farmland … an acre-plus for each New Zealander. That’s up 170% since 2000. And we want to sell them organic?!
  • 5% of all land in the continental US is developed. Don’t know how that compares to NZ.
  • 7.3 million American adults were in jail, on probation, or on parole. Only a dozen states in the US have bigger populations!
  • One bookstore for every 29,000 Americans, or 10,600 bookstores in total. Expect that number to go down — Amazon.com just had its first US$10 BILLION financial quarter (granted, that’s all products, but books drive the train), and now sells three times as many Kindle e-books as hard-cover books, and 115 e-books for every 100 paperbacks.
  • Twice as many young adults bowl as ride bicycles. At least no competition for the Bay velodrome from America!
  • Finally, think ‘sheep’ and you can relate to this: five states have more pigs than people! Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina and South Dakota — avoid those states on your next US trip. About 67 million pigs in the US for you trivia fans.

Tom Belford

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