Only 11 Percent of Kids' Books Are About Characters of Color

How nearly half the country's children are underrepresented in literature, and another 31 facts about our world today.
ptc75-copy.jpg

Photo from Shutterstock.

Total cost of Social Security in 2013: $823 billion

Total income of Social Security in 2013: $855 billion

Current accumulated surplus reserve of Social Security: $2.8 trillion (1)


Percentage of first-year college students who identified as having no religious preference, 1980–84: 8

Percentage of first-year college students who identified as having no religious preference, 2010–14: 25 (2)

Number of congressmembers identifying as having no religious preference: 1 (3)


Economic activity of commercial space transportation companies, 1999: $61,313,711

Economic activity of commercial space transportation companies, 2009: $208,329,012 (4)


Debt in Greece as a percentage of GDP: 174.0

Debt per capita in Greece: $38,444

Debt in the United States as a percentage of GDP: 107.3

Debt per capita in the United States: $58,604 (5)


Typical gigabytes of hard drive storage in a modern personal computer: 500

Total gigabytes of hard drive storage in the U.S. control computers aboard the International Space Station: 1.5 (6)


Percentage of children’s books written about characters of color, 1999: 6

Percentage of children’s books written about characters of color, 2014: 11 (7)

Estimated percentage of U.S. children who are of color, 2014: 48.2 (8)


Number of Chickasaw language speakers in the 1960s: 3,000+

Number of Chickasaw language speakers in 2014: 65 (9)


Cumulative capacity of world wind power in 2010: 200 gigawatts

Cumulative capacity of world wind power in 2014: 370 gigawatts

Projected percentage of Europe’s electricity that will be generated from wind power by 2020: At least 12 (10)

Percentage of Denmark’s electricity needs generated by wind turbines on a particularly windy day in July 2015: 140 (11)


Average holding period for a stock in 1945: 4 years

Average holding period for a stock in 2000: 2 months

Average holding period for a stock in 2011: 22 seconds (12)


Number of U.S. viewers of 2015 Women’s World Cup (most for any soccer match in American history): 26.7 million (13)

Prize money awarded by FIFA to U.S. women’s team after 2015 World Cup victory: $2 million (14)

Prize money awarded by FIFA to U.S. men’s team after 2014 World Cup elimination: $8 million (15)

Number of World Cups won by U.S. women’s team: 3

Number of World Cups won by U.S. men’s team: 0


1. Altman, N.J. (2015) Social Security Works!, New York, N.Y.: The New Press. 2. Twenge et al., Generational and Time Period Differences in American Adolescents’ Religious Orientation, 1966-2014, May 2015. 3. Pew Research Center, Jan. 2015. 4. Federal Aviation Administration, The Economic Impact of Commercial Space Transportation on the U.S. Economy in 2009, Sept. 2010. 5. Bloomberg Business, Feb. 2014. 6. NASA, July 2015. 7. Cooperative Children’s Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Feb. 2015. 8. Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2015. 9. International Business Times, May 2014. 10. European Commission Joint Research Centre, 2014 JRC Wind Status Report, June 2015. 11. The Guardian, July 2015. 12. Patterson, S. (2013) Dark Pools: The Rise of the Machine Traders and the Rigging of the U.S. Stock Market, New York, N.Y.: Crown Business. 13. ESPN, July 2015. 14. BBC, Dec. 2014. 15. Reuters, Dec. 2013.