Less than 1 Percent of Sweden’s Garbage Ends Up at the Dump

How the country heats its homes, and another 23 facts about our world today.
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Number of bike trips in the United States in 2001: 3,314,000,000

Number of bike trips in the United States in 2009: 4,081,000,000 (1)

Increase in biking as a share of personal trips for white Americans, 2001–2009: 20%

Increase in biking as a share of personal trips for Asian Americans, 2001–2009: 60% (2)


 Year the Clean Air Act was amended to expand government regulation of toxic air pollutants: 1990

Annual decrease in U.S. toxic air emissions since 1990: 3 million tons (3)


Percentage of people from high-income families (top 25 percent) who earned a bachelor’s degree by age 24 in 1970: 40

Percentage of people from those families who earned a bachelor’s degree by age 24 in 2013: 77

Percentage of people from low-income families (bottom 25 percent) who earned a bachelor’s degree by age 24 in 1970: 6

Percentage of people from those families who earned a bachelor’s degree by age 24 in 2013: 9 (4)


 Population immunity level needed to prevent sustained spread of measles: 92–94% (5)

United States measles vaccination rate in 2013: 91%

Number of countries with a higher measles vaccination rate than the United States in 2013: 113 (6)


 Median net worth of United States black households in 2013: $11,000

Median net worth of U.S. Latino households in 2013: $13,700

Median net worth of U.S. white households in 2013: $141,900 (7)


Number of Swedish homes currently heated by burning trash in incinerators: 950,000

Percentage of garbage in Sweden that now ends up in the dump: Less than 1

Tons of trash Sweden imported from other countries to meet heating demands in 2014: 800,000 (8)


Percentage of wealth the average American believes to be owned by the top 20% of U.S. households: 59

Percentage of wealth actually owned by the top 20% of U.S. households: 84

Percentage of wealth the average American believes to be owned by the bottom 20% of U.S. households: 9

Percentage of wealth actually owned by the bottom 20% of U.S. households: 0.1 (9)

Percentage of Americans who cite income inequality as a major problem in the U.S.: 5 (10)


1. Pucher et al, Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, July 2011. 2. People for Bikes and the Alliance for Biking and Walking, Mar. 2015. 3. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Aug. 2014. 4. Pell Institute, 2015. 5. The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 2015. 6. World Health Organization, 2013. 7. Pew Research Center, Dec. 2014. 8. Al-Jazeera America, Mar. 2015. 9. Norton and Ariely, Perspectives on Psychological Science, Feb. 2011. 10. Associated Press and National Opinion Research Center, Dec. 2013.