Who Are We These Days?


I love statistics. I love them because they are numbers. I love them because they involve facts. I love those awkward little charts and graphs with the lines that go up or down like they’re just trying to get somewhere. I love statistics because they start conversations – and sometimes end them. And 43% of those I polled seem to love them as much as I do.

The other day I was having a conversation with a friend about what average looks like these days. As a mom of two, I don’t travel as much as I used to, so I was curious how my perspective had been skewed by my four walls. So I started to do the research.  I’d like to share with you some of the most recent American statistics related to today’s families.


There are over 300 million people in the United States, making us the third most populous country in the world (after China & India). Men account for 49.3% of the population and women for the remaining 50.7%. Our median age in the US is 36.5 years old. Our median household income is about $51,000 per year, but for families it is about $62,000 per year. About 76% of us (employed) drive alone to work each day. Only about 10% of us carpooled, and only about 4% of us work at home. But that 4% doesn’t seem accurate to me when you consider all the stay-at-home-moms! Anyway, the average travel time to the office was about 25 minutes. In Southern California that 25 minutes would mean the office was about six miles away. No, five and a quarter.


Families in the United States accounted for about 67% of households. The average family size is 3.19 people. This does not include pets. About 37% of households own dogs (at an average of more than one dog per household) and about 32% own cats (at an average of more than two felines per household). I wonder if the people eligible for the show “Animal Hoarders” affect these numbers. Speaking of which, we spend an average of 2.7 hours a day watching television. Anyone have a stat to share about how much of that time is spent during commercial? Our average credit card debt per household (with debt) is close to $16,000. But our US grand total revolving debt (98% made up by credit cards) – $793.1 billion! And yet, almost 10% of the population of families in the US live below the poverty level.


Kids represent about 24% of the population in the US. There are about 74 million of these little humans running around that are under 17. And the average cost of raising a child in a middle-income family is about $12,000 per year. Of the kid population, about 6% are in preschool, about 5% are in kindergarten, 40% are in elementary school, about 22% are in high school and almost 27%% are in college or graduate school. In the US, it is recommended that each child get at least 35 vaccinations before age 6 (assuming combo shots, such as DTap), not including annual flu shots. That’s a lot of Spiderman or Hello Kitty Band Aids!


The number of American women (age 15 to 50 – what a range!) who have given birth in the last year is about 4 million. Of this 4 million, about 33% of them were not married (some stats say 41%). The mean age of having our first kids is 25 years old. The percentage of all deliveries by Cesarean was about 32%. The top ten boy names in 2010 were Jacob, Ethan, Michael, Jayden, William, Alexander, Noah, Daniel, Aiden and Anthony. The top ten girl names in 2010 were Isabella, Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Ava, Emily, Abigail, Madison, Chloe and Mia.


I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing the numbers. You can scroll and click on any statistic to be taken to its source. Perhaps your next coffee-convo or dinner fodder is a little richer as a result of knowing where you fall on the charts.


posted Sept ’11

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