Americans Fat, Lonely, Frequently Injured by Bikes


The New York Times has a neat article today on the most recent census, and what it says about Americans. Judge for yourself.

Americans:

– Drank more than 23 gallons of bottled water per person in 2004.

– Consumed more than twice as much high fructose corn syrup per person as in 1980.

– Remain the fattest inhabitants of the planet.

– Spend about eight-and-a-half hours a day watching television, using computers, listening to the radio, going to the movies, or reading. In short, not interacting with other people. The average American spends more than 64 days a year watching television.

– Occasionally have sex with members of the same sex. Six percent of men and 11.2 percent of women say they have had same sex contacts.

– Are more frequently injured by wheelchairs than by lawnmowers.

– Are most frequently injured by bicycles and beds.

– Enjoy this here series of tubes. 16 million Americans used a social or professional networking site and 13 million created a blog.

– Lost their jobs. From 2000 to 2005, the number of manufacturing jobs declined nearly 18 percent. Employment in textile mills fell by 42 percent.

– Aren’t very likable. In 1970, 79 percent said their goal was developing a meaningful philosophy of life. By 2005, 75 percent said their primary objective was to be financially very well off.

– Are seeing some form of gender equality. In 1970, 33,000 men and 2,000 women earned professional degrees; in 2004, the numbers were 42,000 men and 41,000 women.

As for the fact that Americans spend more and more of their leisure time doing solitary activites, that’s right in Harvard Professor Bob Putnam’s wheelhouse. He wrote the very good “Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community.” Wouldn’t you know it, the Times got a quote.

“The large master trend here is that over the last hundred years, technology has privatized our leisure time,” said [Putnam]…. “The distinctive effect of technology has been to enable us to get entertainment and information while remaining entirely alone.”

Except, of course, if you are one of those 16 million Americans who spends your lonely internet time on social networking sites. In that case, you are blowing Bob Putnam’s mind.

OUR NEW CORRUPTION PROJECT

The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate