Harper’s Index — From the November 2012 issue

Harper’s Index

Percentage change since 2010 in the per-pound cost of a Thanksgiving turkey : +22

Portion of the total U.S. corn crop that goes to make ethanol : 2/5

Estimated number of chickens killed after a drunk man accidentally shut off power at a Maryland poultry farm in August : 70,000

Average number of square miles by which Arctic sea ice decreased each day this summer : 36,400

Date on which it reached its lowest size on record : 9/16/2012

Estimated number of gallons of raw sewage spilled off the coast of Tijuana following an August pipeline break : 5,000,000

Amount three New York men owe in restitution for stealing rock lobsters off the coast of South Africa : $54,900,000

Amount the U.S. Department of Education spent on loan collection and guarantees last year : $1,400,000,000

Factor by which employee claims of wage and hour violations have increased in the past decade : 3.5

Portion of U.S. workers age 50 or above who plan to delay retirement because of the financial crisis : 1/2

Projected worldwide surplus of low-skill workers by 2020 : 93,000,000

Projected worldwide deficit of high- and medium-skill workers by that time : 85,000,000

Portion of the French who are pessimistic about the future : 7/10

Estimated amount Ireland spent on paperless balloting machines : $70,000,000

Amount for which it sold the machines as scrap in June, after abandoning paperless balloting : $92,218

Portion of Germans who think they’d be better off without the euro : 1/2

Rank of China among global beer producers by volume : 1

Rank of the United States : 2

Value of Chinese acquisitions of U.S. assets and businesses in the past year : $7,700,000,000

Portion of people residing outside the United States who say they like American pop culture : 2/3

Who say it’s a “good” thing that American ideas and customs are spreading : 1/4

Percentage of Americans in 1992 who believed gun laws should be stricter : 78

Percentage who believe so today : 43

Number of states that restrict men who father children through rape from obtaining parental rights : 20

Percentage change since 1988 in U.S. teen-pregnancy rates : –36

In abstinence rates among white teens : +31

Among black teens : +56

Percentage of Americans with HIV who are over the age of 45 : 50

Factor by which U.S. cases of West Nile virus have increased since the virus was first detected here in 1999 : 51

Factor by which U.S. Muslims are more likely than Muslims abroad to think there are multiple interpretations of Islam : 2

Percentage of Democrats who have an “unfavorable” opinion of Muslims : 29

Percentage of Republicans who do : 57

Rank of “I don’t know” among the most common answers Republicans give when asked why black voters support Democrats : 1

Rank of “government dependents” want “something for nothing” : 2

Percentage of Ohio Republicans who say Obama is more responsible than Romney for the death of Osama bin Laden : 38

Who say Romney is more responsible than Obama : 15

Who say they aren’t sure which man is more responsible : 47

Number of “known cracks and breaks” in the dome of the U.S. Capitol building : 1,300

Portion of Americans who don’t walk for at least ten continuous minutes at any point in an average week : 2/5


November Index Sources
1  American Food Bureau Federation (Washington)
2  U.S. Department of Agriculture
3  Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office (Salisbury, Md.)
4,5  National Snow and Ice Data Center (Boulder, Colo.)
6  International Water and Boundary Commission (San Ysidro, Calif.)
7  Pew Environmental Group (Washington)
8  U.S. Department of Education
9  Seyfarth Shaw LLP (Boston)
10  Towers Watson (N.Y.C.)
11,12  McKinsey Global Institute (San Francisco)
13  Institut Français d’Opinion Publique (Paris)
14,15  Irish Citizens for Trustworthy Evoting (Dublin)
16  TNS Emnid (Bielefeld, Germany)
17,18  Kirin Institute of Food & Lifestyle (Tokyo)
19  Dealogic (N.Y.C.)
20,21  Pew Global Attitudes Project (Washington)
22,23  Gallup (Washington)
24  Shauna Prewitt (Chicago)
25–27  National Center for Health Statistics (Hyattsville, Md.)
28,29  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta)
30  Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (Washington)
31,32  Arab American Institute (Washington)
33,34  Social Science Research Solutions (Media, Pa.)
35–37  Public Policy Polling (Raleigh, N.C.)
38  Architect of the Capitol (Washington)
39  National Center for Health Statistics (Hyattsville, Md.).

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  • Paolo Pagliacolo

    Percentage of Americans with HIV who are over the age of 45 : 50????? What! How is that possible when less than 2 million americans total have hiv? Where did you get this stat from? please clarify

    • Sol O.

      I think you are confused – of the less than 2 million (assuming that number is correct) Americans who have HIV, 50% of them are over the age of 45 – hope that helps.

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