The Page That Counts :: Summer 2009

Approximate number of languages spoken in the world: 6,000

Number of these that are indigenous languages: 5,000

Number of languages that go extinct every year: 26 [1]



Percentage of Americans who spent time volunteering last year: 26.4

Median hours they donated: 52 [2]

Percent increase in adult volunteerism since 1989: 32

Percent increase in teen volunteerism since 1989: 200 [3]

Percent lower mortality rate found in older Californians who volunteered, compared to those who did not: 44 [4]



cigarette butts, photo by Ben Schumin, wikimedia

Number of cigarettes consumed in the United States in 1997: 480.5 billion

Number of cigarettes consumed in the United States in 2007: 360.5 billion [5]

Percentage of worldwide litter made up by cigarette butts: 28 [6]

Hours it takes two cigarette butts to kill 100% of the microorganisms in one liter of fresh water: 48 [7]



Percentage of games the Detroit Lions lost in the 2008 season: 100 [8]

Percentage of population African lions lost in the past two decades: 30 [9]

Percentage of habitat eastern U.S. mountain lions lost since European colonization: 95 [10]



Average hours per week married American mothers spent on child care in 1965: 10

In 2003: 14

Average hours per week married American fathers spent on child care in 1965: 2.5

In 2003: 7 [11]



TV, wikimedia commons

Average hours per day American youth spend watching television: 3.9

Engaging in physical activity: 1.4

Reading: 0.7 [12]



Percentage of automobile passengers in America who wore their seatbelts in 1988: 45

In 2008: 83 [13]



Chimpanzee picking nose, detail of a photo by Hae-Jun Kwon,

Percentage of time wild chimpanzees spend feeding: 32

Playing: 6

Picking their noses: 14 [14]


More Page That Counts

Spring 2009

Percentage of teenagers who say their social life would end or suffer without text messaging: 47
Percentage of teenagers who can text blindfolded: 42


Detail from Chris Jordan's photograph of Oil Drums from Intolerable Beauty: Portraits of American Mass Consumption
Winter 2009

Decrease in miles Americans drove in May 2008 compared to May 2007: 9.6 billion



  1. An Indigenous Language Dies ‘Once Every Two Weeks', Survival International, February 20, 2008.

  2. Volunteering in the United States, 2008, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 23, 2009.

  3. Volunteer Growth in America: A Review of Trends Since 1974, Corporation for National and Community Service, December 2006.

  4. Volunteerism and Mortality among the Community-dwelling Elderly, Doug Oman, Carl E. Thoresen, and Kay Mcmahon, Journal of Health Psychology, Vol. 4, No. 3, 301-316, July 1999

  5. America Reaches Major Anti-Smoking Milestone, American Legacy Foundation, November 19, 2008.

  6. A Rising Tide of Ocean Debris and What We Can Do About It, International Coastal Cleanup Report, The Ocean Conservancy, 2009.

  7. Cigarette Butts as Litter: Toxic as Well as Ugly?, Kathleen M. Register, Underwater Naturalist: Bulletin of the American Littoral Society, August 2000.

  8. 2008 Regular Season Standings, National Football League, 2009.

  9. Panthera Leo: Assessment Information, IUCN Red List of Endangered Species, 2008.

  10. Florida Panther Recovery Plan: 3rd Revision, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, November 1, 2008.

  11. Changing Rhythms of Family Life, Susanne M. Bianchi, Time Use and Gender Seminar, Department of Sociology and Maryland Population Research Center, University of Maryland, June 14, 2006.

  12. Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-Olds, The Kaiser Family Foundation, March 2005.

  13. Traffic Safety Facts, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Data for 2008 from Seat Belt Use in 2008: Use Rates in the States and Territories, April 2009

    Data for 1988 from Belt Use Regression Model- 2003 Update, May 2003.

  14. Nose-Picking in the Pongidae and Its Implication for Human Evolution, Dr. Thomas L. Harrison, American Journal of Nasal Anatomy #17, 1987.

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