18,710,000 pot smokers 24.6 people with unclassified dry itching skin Only 140 million drinkers? How about trends? Migraines are up, acute digestive conditions are down, and cases of ingrown nails are holding steady. All this and more is revealed in the recently released, 28.5-pound, $825, five-volume Historical Statistics of the United States, Millennial Edition. Joel Garreau explains. Some bonus bits:
Barbershops, beauty salons and health clubs went from making $500 million in 1929 to more than 50 times that — $28.5 billion — in 1999. But what does that tell us about comely appearance? Sad is the drop in the number of “tailors and tailoresses,” going from 172,000 in 1920 to 27,800 in 1990, no matter how cheaply you can get your pants at Wal-Mart. … In 1980, IBM predicted that the total market for personal computers in the following 10 years would be something like that year’s 246,000. Not 250,000, but a nicely precise, confidence-inspiring 246,000. The actual outcome was almost exactly 100 times greater. If the leaders of IBM had been more optimistic, would they have ever dreamed of letting their operating system be supplied by some snot-nosed kid named Gates?
Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.