Harper’s Index,
Get Access to Print and Digital for $23.99.
Subscribe for Full Access

Percentage change in the S&P 500 since its pre-crisis peak : +8

In the price of financial stocks : –44

Portion of wages paid in Manhattan that come from the financial-services industry : 1/3

Percentage by which New York City’s homeless-shelter population has increased under Mayor Michael Bloomberg : 65

Portion of the city’s shelter population who are children : 2/5

Percentage of black U.S. children under the age of five who live in poverty : 43

Portion of U.S. foster children who will experience homelessness by age twenty-six : 1/3

Percentage of Americans who think children are better off when their mothers stay at home rather than working : 51

When their fathers stay at home rather than working : 8

Median age of a U.S. woman giving birth for the first time : 25.7

Getting married for the first time : 26.5

Estimated amount spent globally on fertility drugs and devices this year : $4,054,984,000

Percentage of first-time fertility treatments that fail : 75

Portion of U.S. births from unintended pregnancies that are paid for by Medicaid : 2/3

Percentage change in the portion of uninsured young adults in Massachusetts since the state’s health-care reform : –67

Portion of U.S. college graduates who say their job does not require a college degree : 2/5

Percentage of 2012 U.S. law-school graduates not currently in full-time jobs requiring membership in the bar : 43

Portion of hyperlinks included in Supreme Court decisions that no longer work : 1/2

Minimum percentage of all federal background checks handled by the Office of Personnel Management : 90

Percentage of OPM employees who are private contractors : 76

Percentage of Pentagon background checks sampled by the GAO that were processed with insufficient information : 87

Percentage increase in “employee misconduct” at the TSA between 2010 and 2012 : 26

Cartons of cigarettes the ATF lost during a botched sting operation last year : 2,100,000

Estimated chances that a recent crack cocaine or methamphetamine user is not physically addicted to the drug : 4 in 5

Minimum number of retired California public servants receiving pensions of more than $100,000 a year : 21,874

Percentage of rentable property in San Diego County that registered-sex-offender parolees are prohibited from living on : 97

Portion of men in China who say they have raped a woman : 1/5

Percentage of those men who said they did it because they were bored or wanted to have fun : 57

Percentage of flights out of Beijing’s Capital International Airport that have left on time this year : 27

Portion of Tajikistan’s GDP that is composed of migrant remittances : 1/2

Kilowatt-hours of energy used each year by the average Ethiopian citizen : 52

By the average U.S. refrigerator : 454

Amount the Canadian Armed Forces spends each year on weight-loss surgery for obese soldiers : $220,000

Replacement cost of the munitions used by the U.S. military in the first nine days of its intervention in Libya : $259,200,000

Percentage change from 2002 to 2012 in the amount the United States spent on “security assistance” to other countries : +227

Percentage of U.S. Jews who believe God gave Israel to the Jewish people : 40

Percentage of white U.S. evangelicals who do : 82

Portion of U.S. Jews with Christmas trees in their homes : 1/3

Estimated profit an Illinois zoo has earned since 2008 by selling tree ornaments made of reindeer droppings : $50,000

December Index Sources

1,2 S&P Dow Jones Indices (N.Y.C.)
3 New York State Department of Labor (Albany)
4,5 Coalition for the Homeless (N.Y.C.)
6 Children’s Defense Fund (Washington)
7 Amy Dworsky, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
8,9 Pew Research Center (Washington)
10,11 National Marriage Project, University of Virginia (Charlottesville)
12 Transparency Market Research (Pune, India)
13 International Committee Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Palo Alto, Calif.)
14 Guttmacher Institute (N.Y.C.)
15 The Urban Institute (Washington)
16 Gallup, Inc. (Washington)
17 National Association for Law Placement (Washington)
18 Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard Law School (Cambridge, Mass.)
19 U.S. Office of Personnel Management
20–22 U.S. Government Accountability Office
23 U.S. Department of Justice
24 Carl Hart, Columbia University (N.Y.C.)
25 Harper’s research
26 California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (Santa Barbara)
27,28 Partners for Prevention (Bangkok)
29 FlightStats (Portland, Ore.)
30,31 World Bank (Washington)
32 Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (Washington)
33 Canadian Forces Health Services (Ottawa)
34 Congressional Research Service (Washington)
35 Stimson Center (Washington)
36–38 Pew Research Center (Washington)
39 Miller Park Zoological Society (Bloomington, Ill.)