Americans drank more than 23 gallons of bottled water per person in 2004 -- more than 10 times as much as in 1980.
Americans consumed more than twice as much high-fructose corn syrup per person as in 1980 and remained the fattest inhabitants of the planet, although Mexicans, Australians, Greeks, New Zealanders and Britons are not too far behind.
At the same time, we spent more of our lives than ever -- about 8 1/2 hours a day -- watching television, using computers, listening to the radio, going to the movies or reading.
This eclectic portrait of the American people is drawn from the 1,376 tables that comprise the Census Bureau's 2007 Statistical Abstract of the United States, the annual feast for number crunchers that is being served up by the federal government today.
For the first time, the abstract quantifies same-sex sexual contacts (6 percent of men and 11.2 percent of women say they've had them) and learning disabilities (American Indians are most likely to have been told they have them).
The abstract reveals that the floor space in new private one-family homes has expanded to 2,227 square feet in 2005 from 1,905 square feet in 1990.
Americans are getting fatter, but now drink more bottled water per person than beer.
Taller, too. More than 24 percent of Americans in their 70s are shorter than 5-foot-6. Only 10 percent of people in their 20s are.
More people are injured by wheelchairs than by lawnmowers, the abstract reports. Bicycles are involved in more accidents than any other consumer product, but beds are a close second.
Most of the statistical tables, which come from a variety of government and other sources, are presented raw, without caveats; and because the abstract is so concrete, the statistics can suggest false precision. The table of consumer products involved in injuries does not explain, for example, that one reason nearly as many injuries involve beds as bicycles is that more people use beds.
With medical costs rising, more people say they pray for their own health than invest in alternative medicine or therapy combined, the abstract reports.
Adolescents and adults now spend, on average, almost 65 days a year watching television, 41 days listening to the radio and a little over a week using the Internet. Among adults, 97 million Internet users sought news online last year, 92 million purchased a product, 91 million made a travel reservation, 16 million used a social or professional networking site and 13 million created a blog.
"The demand for information and entertainment seems almost insatiable," said James Rutherfurd, executive vice president of Veronis Suhler Stevenson, the media investment firm whose research the Census Bureau cited.
Rutherfurd said time spent with such media increased to 3,543 hours last year from 3,340 hours in 2000, and is projected to rise to 3,620 hours in 2010. The time spent within each category varied, with less on broadcast television (down to 679 hours in 2005 from 793 hours in 2000) and on reading in general, and more using the Internet (up to 183 hours from 104 hours) and on cable and satellite television.
How does all that listening and watching influence the amount of time Americans spend alone? The census doesn't measure that, but since 2000 the number of hobby and athletic non-profit associations has risen while the number of labor unions, fraternities and fan clubs has declined.
More Americans were born in 2004 than in any years except 1960 and 1990.
Meanwhile, the divorce rate, 3.7 people per 1,000 people, was the lowest since 1970.
Among the states, Nevada still claims the highest divorce rate, which slipped to 6.4 per 1,000 in 2004 from 11.4 per 1,000, just ahead of Arkansas and California.
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