In a recent Special Report issue, America by the Numbers, some very revealing things came to light. The portion of the report which most interested me was the chart on the happiest people by job. 67% of all ministers say they are very happy on and with their jobs. The next happiest are firefighters, followed by Reservation and ticket agents and then architects. But back to clergy. They are clear examples that money does not make you happy. Of the some 37,820 clergy in America, the median salary is $39,680.
Most of these live in urban areas, but then so do most Americans-- out of 303 million people, 242 million Americans live in a city or a suburb, and 141 million work outside the home (in two parent families 64% have both parents working outside the home). Equally amazing of these 141 million who work outside the home 107 million of them drive to work alone-- incredibly wasteful. On an average morning some 70 million leave for work between 6:30 and 8:30 in the morning. The cities with the worst traffic (and so the longest commute time) are L.A. and San Diego in the west, and D.C. in the East (Boston and N.Y. are well behind-- in D.C. it takes an hour to get to work on average. In N.Y. and Boston, 46 minutes. On average Americans waste 38 hours a year and 26 gallons of gas per person sitting in traffic.
One of the most surprising statistics are about children and school. Every morning 55 million kids go to school. And 86% of them go to public schools. Only 7.7 million kids go to private schools, and there are 28,384 of them in the U.S. Some 6 million kids are not enrolled-- by which is meant they are either too young or they are home schooled, or they dropped out.
The analysis of married couples is especially interesting. 31.4 million couples have no children at home, whilst 24.2 million have children under 18 at home.
Where's the money? Well, average income has grown some 26.5% since 1980, but this really is not actually an increase for most. For 99% of tax payers the income has been nearly flat. In 2005 the top .o1% consisted of 14,588 tax payers making more than $9.6 million a year. Yet this .01% control some 5% of the nation's total wealth. The merely rich, which amounts to 1% of all tax payers make about 1.1 million a year.
How do we spend our free time and money? The statistics don't lie. We spend a lot more of it on entertainment than on charitable works. Every single day of the year Americans buy an average of 7,500 Samsung LCD TVs (and we average watching about 2 hours and 35 minutes of TV a day). In fact, we have more TVs in homes than people (2.73 per households compared to 2.6 persons per household). We buy about 4 million movie tickets a day. There are some 1 million 650 thousand DVD rentals from Netflix a day. We buy some 1,683,835 songs a day online. Today 71% of Americans have an internet connection. On average we spend one hour seven minutes online at home and 2 hours 36 minutes at work.
I wish I could say we are more fit now than when I was a child, but the truth is just the opposite. We spent $4.9 billion on fitness equipment last year, and another 17.4 billion on fitness clubs (there are 29,357 in the U.S), but guess what? On an average day, 83% of all Americans do not exercising at all. 20% of all Gold's gym members have not darken the doors of the place in the last four months, on average.
As for our eating habits-- be prepared to wince. In the U.S. we have 612,020 fast food cooks and only 392,850 farmers! Americans spend some $390 billion in restaurants in a year, but only 364 billion in grocery stores. 66% of us are overweight or obese, including 17% of our children. Every single day on average we buy: 1) 443,500 large fries at Burger King; 2) 93,000 jars of Ragu tomato sauce; 3) 58.8 million eggs; 4) 201,720 jars of Hellman's mayonaise; 5) 160,968 bottles of Absolut vodka; 6) 978,030 bags of Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popping Corn. None of which is good for us. I could go on.
What all this means for doctors and ministers is that we shall not soon be out of work-- there are too many unhealthy people-- physically, emotionally, spiritually out there in the U.S., and the number is growing.