Fun Facts from the 2007 Census Report - InformationWeek

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12/15/2006
01:51 PM
Penny Crosman
Penny Crosman
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Fun Facts from the 2007 Census Report

The latest U.S. Census report came out today, giving data analysts and market analysts plenty of government-generated statistics and predictions about how Americans will behave in 2007 (the report is actually based on 2005 data, but how much could we have changed in the past year?). Generally speaking, we're continuing to watch a lot of TV, use the Web for many things and get fat. And millions of Americans are blogging.

The latest U.S. Census report came out today, giving data analysts and market analysts plenty of government-generated statistics and predictions about how Americans will behave in 2007 (the report is actually based on 2005 data, but how much could we have changed in the past year?). Here are a few highlights:We're a land of couch potatoes. Adults and teens will spend nearly five months (3,518 hours) next year watching television, surfing the Internet, reading daily newspapers and listening to personal music devices. Broken down, that's 65 days in front of the TV, 41 days listening to radio and a little over a week on the Internet in 2007 (and this is only what people admitted to on their Census forms). Good news for TV and radio advertisers, Sony, Apple, La-Z-Boy, reality TV stars, and cellulite.

We're online news junkies, shopaholics and blogaholics. Among adults, 97 million Internet users sought news online in 2005, 92 million purchased a product and 91 million made a travel reservation over the web. About 16 million used a social or professional networking site and 13 million created a blog. So many bloggers may represent a hitherto-untapped marketing opportunity (potential ad copy: "Can't think of a good blog topic? Try vitaminwater blog, it's got that small amount of Vodka you need to get those ideas flowing").

There are a lot of millionaires in Vermont. There were 3.5 million U.S. millionaires in 2001, more than a half million of them (572,000) in California and about 3,000 in Vermont. (Not sure why these are 2001 numbers, perhaps they don't ask people about this every year. It is rude to ask people how much money they make.)

A little Census humor: "Pet owners walked an average of 1.6 dogs in 36 percent of U.S. households in 2001, while people were tolerated by an average of 2.1 cats in 32 percent of homes." Especially that .1 cat, I bet he's finicky.

There's much more Census data to work with. If you want to get serious about it, Pentaho announced yesterday it has built AJAX-based integration (mashup) between its open source business intelligence tools and the Google Maps API. (Similar location intelligence software is also available from MapInfo, GeoVue, and others.) By entering Census data into a tool like this, you could layer demographic data over a map of the U.S. and come up with interesting new product ideas, delivery or customer service improvements or what have you.

Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2007: The National Data Book can be purchased for $35 at the U.S. Government Bookstore.

I hope these facts have been fun and/or informative. If not, I apologize. Write to me at [email protected] with your complaints and I'll send your money back. (Or a clever and professional response like, "Oh yeah? You try writing a web column every week, smarty pants." Although, if these Census statistics are correct, it's more than likely that you already do.)The latest U.S. Census report came out today, giving data analysts and market analysts plenty of government-generated statistics and predictions about how Americans will behave in 2007 (the report is actually based on 2005 data, but how much could we have changed in the past year?). Generally speaking, we're continuing to watch a lot of TV, use the Web for many things and get fat. And millions of Americans are blogging.

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