U/S: A Statistical Portrait of the American People by Andrew--Ed. Hacker

U/S: A Statistical Portrait of the American People

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Anyone with a hankering for statistics or with an argument to settle--on questions as far-ranging as what occupations have the most (or fewest) blacks, or in what state do drivers drive the fastest--will have a field day with political scientist Hacker's compilation. (The answers? Blacks comprise 53.4 percent of all household servants, but only 1.8 percent of earth drillers, or 2.1 percent of real estate agents. In New Mexico, 67.4 percent of vehicles were found to exceed the 55 mile per hour speed limit.) Hacker has gathered his figures from 179 assorted government publications (some even more current than the 1980 census), which are listed at the back of the book, and numbered; the number is then given with the information, so you can see the source in each instance. The first chapter provides a demographic breakdown of the 226,504,825 Americans counted in the 1980 census. Here you can discover that California leads the nation in residents of Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Samoan, Guamanian, Filipino, and Vietnamese ancestry, as well as in overall percentage of residents born outside the US (14.8 percent). Other sections bring together statistics on health, births, and deaths; marriage and divorce; crime and punishment; education; and so on. You can learn that 2.7 percent of Americans, and the same percentage of American families, lived on farms in 1980. While the total population was 83.2 percent white, the farm population was 94.4 percent white. The farm population is older; 35.5 years of age as a median vs. 30.0. And farm women who marry tend to stay that way: only 2.1 percent of farm women are divorced or separated, against 9.6 percent in the population as a whole. Figures, of course, don't speak for themselves, When we hear that Pennsylvania was among the states that had the highest percentage of elections in which workers voted not to join unions in 1980, we don't know what to make of that: insofar as Pennsylvania is heavily unionized, did these union votes occur among hard-to-organize workers? There's no easy way to know from the figures alone. But the figures are there to spur interest, they're easy to find, and Hacker tells where to look for more. A very useful compilation, and great fun, too.

Pub Date: Jan. 27th, 1982
Publisher: Viking