The 2009 edition of the Statistical Abstract of the United States arrived at my library yesterday. Since I still have not managed to take my camera out of my purse -- and what is the point of telling you about skirt trouble without pictures of the stupid thing -- I will subject you to some fun statistics.
Per Capita Consumption of Beverages. The obvious statistic here is bottled water: in 1980 Americans drank 2.7 gallons of bottled water; in 2006, 27.6. The big jump in consumption happened around 1995. Alcohol consumption has dropped a bit, from 28.3 gallons in 1980 to 25.3 in 2006; wine consumption went up from 2.1 gallons to 2.3 (in 1983, "wine" includes "wine coolers", a disgusting invention, but that inclusion doesn't explain anything, since consumption was down in the 1990s). Beer and distilled spirit consumption went down, beer by 2.7 gallons to 21.6 and distilled spirits by .6 gallon (1.4 gallons per person in 2006). We have consumed a steady half gallon of vegetable juice per person per year since 2000 (no data before that), someone has been drinking my share since I'd rather have a wine cooler.
Per Capita Consumption of Meat and Eggs: The amount of red meat (beef, lamb, veal and pork) went down from 126.4 pounds per capita in 1980 to 109.9 pounds in 2006. The amount of poultry (chicken and turkey, boneless, trimmed weight) went up significantly, from 40.8 pounds in 1980 to 74.7 pounds in 2006. Neither is surprising, but it is interesting to me that red meat consumption didn't go down as much as poultry consumption went up -- we aren't replacing red meat with chicken. Fish and shellfish consumption went up by 4 pounds. The one that really blow me away though, is egg consumption: the number of shell eggs consumed per year dropped from 236 in 1980 to 177, but processed egg consumption grew from 35 to 73. People eat more Egg Beaters? Yuck.
And there you are, just a small snippet of the interesting information to be found in the Statistical Abstract. Until I worked here, I had no idea a table of numbers could suck me in so completely.