You can do anything with stats.
You can make things look rosier than ever, and you can make them seem worse than ever.
Numbers don’t lie, but it’s how we twist and tie those numbers around that paints a certain picture.
Today we’ll use those numbers to paint a picture of America, well…an America not doing so good.
Let me show you what I’m talking about.
Each night in 2017, America had 554,000 homeless people.
Sounds bad, but America’s homeless population has actually dropped 13% since 2010, or 83,000 people.
California has the highest number of homeless, with 134,278 people last year. That makes up 25% of the nation’s homeless population.
California also has the largest income gap in the nation. The state has 76,000 millionaires and billionaires, primarily located in Silicon Valley.
The cities with the largest number of homeless people in 2017 were as follows:
- New York: 76,501
- LA: 55,188
- Seattle: 11,643
- San Diego: 9,160
- D.C.: 7,473
In 2015, a total of 13.1 million American households were “food insecure,” meaning the people – and primarily the kids – didn’t have enough to eat.
That comes to 1 in 6 children that are hungry each day.
Most hungry kids are in Mississippi, where 20.8% of households don’t have enough to eat.
The least hungry kids are in North Dakota, where 8.5% of households don’t have enough to eat.
It’s not because our country doesn’t have the food. In 2014, America exported $149 billion worth of food, the most of any nation in the world.
The second largest food exporter is the Netherlands, which sent out $92 billion worth of food in 2014. Germany is third, with $86 billion, followed by Brazil with $78 billion.
In 2016, over 40 million Americans lived in poverty. That’s 13% of the country.
That same year, 13 million kids lived in poverty.
We’re doing better – in 1959 the nation’s poverty rate was 22.4%. The lowest rate ever recorded was in 1973, with 11.1%.
Women aren’t doing better. In 1975 they earned 57 cents for every dollar a man got. Today they get 81 cents for every dollar a man gets.
Women are the most educated in the country, with 61% having Associate’s degrees, 57% Bachelor’s degrees, 60% Master’s degrees, and 52% Doctoral degrees.
But they still get paid less than men, even though they’re more educated.
More infants die in America than in any other country. In 2014 it was 5.8 kids per 1,000 births.
The second highest country is Canada, with 4.8 per 1,000 and next is the UK, with 3.9 per 1,000.
Mississippi had the highest rate of infant mortality from 2013 to 2015, with 9.08 deaths per 1,000 births. The lowest rate was in Massachusetts, with 4.28 deaths per 1,000.
The main causes of this are birth defects, being born too early/low birth weight, SIDS, maternal pregnancy complications, and injuries like suffocation.
Besides children, most Americans can expect to live shorter and sicker lives than their counterparts overseas.
In 1980, the US and the rest of the world had comparable life expectancies. Since then, however, we’ve gained 5 years of living while the rest of the world has gained 7 years.
America currently ranks 12th for life expectancy, with an average age of 78.8 years.
Japan has the longest life expectancy, with 83.9 years. The next highest countries are:
- Switzerland: 83 years
- Australia: 82.5 years
- France: 82.4 years
- Sweden: 82.3 years
- Canada: 81.7 years
Access to healthcare is a big problem. In the US in 2017, 44% of lower income people reported financial barriers to care, while 26% of higher income people did.
In the UK last year, 7% of lower income people reported financial barriers to care; 4% of higher income people.
America has the most expensive healthcare in the world, yet we rank 11th in the world in care process, access, administrative efficiency, equity, and health care outcomes.
Americans spent $9,364 per person on healthcare, while in the UK they spend $4,094 per person.
75% of all Americans die from 10 causes. Three of those causes account for 50% of all our nation’s deaths.
- Heart Disease kills the most, with 614,348 deaths in 2014.
- Next is cancer, with 591,699 deaths. Lung cancer makes up the most for both men and women, with 85,000 and 72,000, respectively.
- Third is chronic lower respiratory disease, with 147,101 deaths.
- Fourth is accidents, with 136,053 deaths.
When we look at causes of death worldwide, this is what we see:
- #1 is heart disease and stroke, with 15 million worldwide deaths in 2015
- #2 is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with 3.2 million deaths
- #3 is lung cancer with 1.7 million deaths
- #4 is diabetes with 1.6 million deaths
- #5 is dementia with 1.5 million deaths
- #6 is tuberculosis with 1.4 million deaths
- #7 is road injuries with 1.3 million deaths
- #8 is AIDS with 1.1 million deaths
Here are the richest members of Congress:
- #1 Greg Gianforte (R-MT) with $315 million
- #2 Darrell Issa (R-CA) with $254 million
- #3 Michael McCaul (R-TX) with $107 million
- #4 John Delaney (D-MD) with $91 million
- #5 Mark Warner (D-VA) with $90 million
In November 2017, 70% of Americans felt the government was failing to fight corruption.
- 44% felt that the White House’s corruption was pervasive.
- 38% felt members of Congress were the most corrupt.
- 33% of black people felt the police were highly corrupt.
- 23% felt local governments were corrupt.
- 16% felt judges were corrupt.
- 74% of Americans felt they can fight corruption and actually make a difference.
Around the world, it’s a different picture.
90% of Denmark believes corruption is pervasive, the same in New Zealand. 89% of Finland thinks so, and 88% of Sweden.
Those countries have a higher distrust of politicians and support more populist candidates. As a result, they have higher degrees of press freedom, more access to information about public expenditures, and stronger standards of integrity for public officials.
Random, but Troubling, Stats
In 2012, each American threw out 4.4 pounds of trash each day. That comes to 1.4 billion pounds a day.
That same year, the US had 4.4% of the world’s population but consumed 18% of its energy.
76% of Americans consider themselves religious, while 24% are unaffiliated with any religion. Christians make up the most, with 69% of Americans calling themselves that. The next highest is Judaism, with 2%.
45% of religious Americans go to church regularly.
Americans are fat, with 71% of men overweight or obese and 62% of women. Around the world, 38% of men fit that category, while 37% of women do.
From the 1750s to the 1950s, Americans were the tallest people in the world, on average. Since then, however, American heights have leveled-off at 5’9” for men and 5’4” for women. Now western European nations, like Denmark, are the tallest, owing to their better access to healthcare.