I have a weakness for Almanacs. There's all sorts of information I never would have thought of looking for. Check out Infoplease. Or from the CIA, The World Factbook.
Lately I've been interested in population. I'm stuck in the 60's when I learned in high school that the US population was about 195,000,000. Not true anymore. Now it's about 297,000,000. And somewhere in the 80's I got the impression that the US was approaching ZPG, zero population growth. Not so. The World Factbook puts population growth at .92% per year. That's about 2,700,000 per year - about two-thirds from the birth/death rate ratio and one-third from immigration. So, last year the population was around 295,000,000 and next year it will be around 300,000,000.
One reason I'm interested in population is that when someone tells me that 37,000,000 people in the United States are below the "poverty level" it's good to know that that means about 12 of every 100 people. I don't know, that seems like a lot to me. Then, notice that one of those 12 people who is single is making less than $9,570 per year. If 8 of those 12 people are in the same family they're making altogether $32,390 per year.
2005 HHS Poverty Guidelines
Persons in Family Unit
1 $ 9,570
I'm pretty sure most of my readers are making more than $32,390 a year and are not supporting much more than themselves or maybe one other family member. Picture it for a minute: a spouse and six kids and $623 a week. For that matter picture living alone with $184 a week.
Depending where you go today, possibly one or two of the next ten people you walk past are "living in poverty." On that happy note...