1. Why "American
2. Why use "American
an Average Day in America"
4. "Life, Death and the
5. "Habits, Tics, Rituals
and Other routines"
6. "Sex: With ourselves,
spouses, friends, strangers"
Mind: Its Thoughts, Moods, and Memories"
8. "The Money We Make and
Yesterday, I wrote about Prozac, psychiatry and the DSM-5. Today I am
writing about "American Averages", which is with two capitalized
A´s because it is the title of a book.
First some facts.
Averages" is a book from 1980 by Mike Feinsilber and William B.
Mead, with the subtitle "Amazing facts of Everyday Life". I
bought it in 1983, and so it can be said to be 30 years old. It
consists of some 395 pages of reported facts, on the following general
no fuss, no fun. Three dairy cows out of 4 born in the United
States these days are the product of artificial insemination.
These are all or part of
11 similar entries on pages 264 and 265 of the book, from chapter 9,
called "Work life".
Who does the work around here? In the US, women do
41 per cent of it.
As you might expect, women are 99 per cent of the secretaries,
per cent of the registerd nurses, 97 per cent of receptionists, 95 per
cent of the telephone operators, 87 per cent of the cashiers, and 61
per cent of the social workers.
But you may be surprised to learn that women also are 45 per
cent of the editors and reporterts, 36 per cent of the biologists, 11
per cent of the medical doctors (but only 3 per cent of the dentists),
35 per cent of the restaurant managers, 42 per cent of the bar tenders,
10 per cent of the security guards, and 17 per cent of the farmhands.
I like it and have read all of it, in 1983, indeed mostly to get a fair
image of the average American, which I also think it did give me.
2. Why use "American Averages"?
Basically, because (1) I have no other comparable book,
and (2) there does not seem to be another comparable book. Especially
the second fact sounds a bit odd, but I have made a search and can't
find anything much like it.
In any case: I think it is high time for me to give some feedback and
facts -but I cannot take on board more than a few entries, gathered
from vastly more facts.
"On an Average Day in America"
What did the 256,068,000
Americans of 1980 do? And Note that there are now 315 million (give or
take a few), so basically add 1/5th - and mind this is about one single
average day in the US of A:
And so on, without a doubt:
There is nearly 2 pages more of the same. (And note that this makes
over 365,000 arrests on marijuana charges a year, circa 1980, which is
over 1 per 1000.)
500 million cups of coffee
10,205 people give blood.
1,253 people are arrested on
1 of every 6 Americans sits
down with a good book.
205 animals are buried in
3 million people go to the
180 women are raped, 53
people are murdered, 1,108 people are robbed, and 2,618 cars are stolen.
Amateurs take 19,178,000
9,077 babies are born,
including 360 twins or triplets.
"Life, Death and the Average Body"
Now we get to the real facts.
How long will
you live? At the turn of the century, 1 American in 25 reached age
65. Today, 1 in 5 does. And by the year 2000, 1 American in 5 will be
65 or older.
Actually, I don't know the
statistic for males, but I suppose it is appreciably less. Also, there
seems to have been a major increase in longevity.
Delicate machinery. Three
of every 10 important diseases suffered by women are in the
every 100 conceptions, 55 abort spontaneously.
Note the ulcers! At the time
this was written, maybe as much as 25 million American males with
ulcers were told, in 1980 alone, by the American Psychiatric
Association, that they suffered from a psychiatric disease, while
they did not: See peptic
Ulcers. On average,
1 man in 10 gets ulcers.
and there. On average, an American's risk of being murdered is
several times that of a person in Australia,
The "(etc.)" is mine, and
abbreviates a considerably longer list. The reason is that the US has
far freer gun laws - that I, for one, am not against. (See my
11 to "On "The Logic of Moral Discourse"".)
Austria, Belgium, Canada, (etc.)
accident prone. A man is almost 3 times as likely as a woman to be
killed in a car wreck, and more than 5 times as likely to drown or be
accidentally shot to death.
This is somewhat interesting:
It's not just that women get older than men.
In fact, most
kinds of accident you can think of kills more males than females.
doctor is. For every 10,000 Americans, there were 14 doctors in
1960 and 18 in 1976. By 1990 there will be 24.
One doctor per 250 non-doctors
is a rather good statistic, though I do not think the compilers were
really weighing the risks that many of these more recent doctors are
not really well educated.
Upward bound. Every
generation of Americans is taller than its parents by about an inch.
And as to the length: I am tall, with 1 meter 95 centimeters, but
indeed this is an odd fact: An inch with every generation?!
5. "Habits, Tics, Rituals and Other
We get the sex in the next chapter.
At leisure, 1 of every 8 words spoken by the average adult is a cuss
word. At work, he or she tones it down to 1 in 29.
To show that the differences
between the sexes are not as large as many think they are...
The average college
student throws in a dirty word for every 11 clean ones. The average college woman has just as foul a
mouth as the average college man, except she says "shit" more than he
does, and he says "fuck" more than she does.
American. The avarage American reads at least 2 books per year,
and 10 per cent claim they read more than 50.
I am certainly a deviant, but
indeed I know (and don't have a TV, that allowed me to read many more
The drugs that
kill. The drug most likely to kill you, on average, is alcohol
taken with some other drug. (..) The second biggest killer is heroin
(..). As a killer, marijuana is twenty-sixth on the list of 26 drugs.
By comparison, aspirin is tied for tenth.
On the place of (..) there is
a fairly long list with names of medical drugs. It is fairly certain
(but I do not have the numbers to prove it), that these days, SSRIs
should be in such a list of names of medical drugs.
Finally, for the marijuana, note that it is last of the 26 drugs. In
fact, I do not myself know of any death through marijuana for over
40 years of its use in Amsterdam.
What the Bible
means. Thirty-eight per cent of adult Americans believe that the
Bible is the literal word of God, while 45 per cent consider it the
"inspired" word of God. Thirteen per cent would rather categorize it as
an ancient book written by men.
Being a total non-believer,
what I am most amazed at, also in comparison with Europe, is the
fanaticism of a considerable segment of the American population.
happened to the natural look? Nineteen out of 20 American women
wear makeup, and 7 out of 10 make up differently for dates than they do
Surely, quite a good question,
also seeing that this is new: My mother's generation wore little or no
On your own.
After the time taken up by work and other obligations, the avarage
American has about 35 hours per week - 20 percent of his time - to
himself. Housewifes have about 40 hours of free time, and women with
outside jobs 30.
This is again pretty insane -
and even more insane is what these 35 hours a week are being spend on:
Watching TV, mostly. Also, it is very worthwile to notice that these
statistics date from before "the sexual revolution", that
started with 1980: Even in the 1970ies, women's lives were freer than
With Ourselves, Spouses, Friends, Strangers"
We have arrived at what nearly everybody is most
oral sex, orgasm and what not. Among women, intercourse ranks as a
poor fourth as a source of orgasm.
I don't think this has much
changed. What did change, and what did change rather a lot, were the
frequencies, the positions, and the liberties:
Masturbation is the hands-down winner. Eighty-two per cent of
women masturbate, and of those, 95 per cent orgasm regularly.
Singles of the 1970s were at least twice as likely to vary the old
missionary position (..). Hunt found that 37 per cent of single women
sometimes used rear-entry vaginal intercourse, 6 times the rate in
Kinsey's day. One sixth of the young, sexually active singles surveyed
by Hunt had tried anal intercourse, an act on which Kinsey didn't even
publish any data.
Then we have this - and mind
you: This was 1980, at the latest:
Oral sex has really taken off.
Kinsey, less than Portnoy. The average man between 18 and 24 who
masturbates does it once a week - three times a year more than in
Kinsey's day. (..)
That may not seem very much,
but then there is this:
The average woman between 18 and 24 who masturbates does
it 37 times a year - 16 more times than in Kinsey's day.
revolution is real. Proportionally, about twice as many single men
in their late teens and early 20s are sexually active than were a
generation ago. They're having it a third as frequently too.
And surely, the one main
reason for all of this is female contraception, that started in the
1960ies (in Holland, at least).
That's nothing compared to feminine progress. A single woman in
her late teens or early 20s is 2 to 3 times as likely to be having sex
as her more demure predecessor. And she is having it at least three
times as often.
But there still is this fact, no doubt:
machine. According to research by Masters and Johnson, the avarage
woman using an electric vibrator can keep it up for an hour or more and
can have as many as 50 orgasms.
And there is another thing,
that can be concluded with fair confidence, given the above: It is -
very probably - not true that women have 10 times more intense
feelings than men do (as the blind seer Tereisias claimed, who had been
a woman as well as a male, and who did so some 500 years BC). In fact,
it probably is the about the same.
During sex with a partner, only about 1 woman in 6 has multiple
7. "The Mind: Its Thoughts, Moods, and
Now let us unbent somewhat - but only somewhat, for the first item is
quite important, and supports all I have been saying:
books, softly. Pau; Copperman, president of the Institute of
Reading Development, in California, says the average kid today learns
less than her or his parents did.
I think this is 35 years old -
and since then it has been going down much more! Not only that:
In testimony before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Education,
Arts and the Humanities, Copperman said: "The average high-school
student today takes 25 per cent less English, 35 per cent less world
history, 35 percent less geography, and 20 per cent less science than
students a generation ago. He is assigned less work, and the textbooks
he is given have been rewritten with a reading level two tears lower
than the grade he is in."
sheep. Sociologists say that the average person picks up the
opinions and attitudes that are important to him from his parents and
peerss, not from analyxing ideas.
This does not amaze me at all.
And here is an illustration:
Doodle. According to Gallup polls, the average American is twice
as happy as the average West German, and more than 5 times as happy as
the average resident of the Far East.
What is the conclusion of this
astounding finding? That you can't trust polls without check. In the
downbeat. Nine of every 10 Americans say that their life is
There is in fact a sizable
break-down, but I will not list it.
Now an item that is only to settle terminology:
definition, the average person has an IQ of 100. Sixty per cent of us
have IQs between 85 and 115.
As it happens, I am brilliant,
though I personally do not care much for IQs over 140: Too little
researched, and all brought down to a single number, which seems a
mistake to me. Here is a somewhat better standard:
Here's how psychologists interpret the numbers:
IQ of 145 or
What did you
get on your SATs. That stands for Scholastic Aptitue Tests, which
have a lot to do with whether your son or daughter gets into that
prestigious college. SATs are taken during the junior or senior year of
high school. There is a verbal test and a math test, and a perfect
score is 800 in each.
There is a note from 1983 by
me: "I did a verbal SAT once and scored 100%", but I did not say I was
considerably older than junior of senior high school.
Now we get some payment for our troubles:
average kid with a high IQ really do better in life? You'd better
believe it. (..) In fact, he or she was taller, heavier, and stronger,
had broader shoulders, and outperformed the average child in athletics.
I must agree, and am not the
least bit astounded. The only breakage I know, on average, is ... M.E.
(But even there somebody like me could have done a lot better than I
have, because I could not accept the education I got.)
They way outperformed the average person their age academically,
socially and professionally. On average, they earned a lot more money
and they seemed a lot happier.
Now for something else, but relevant:
Two kinds of
depression. (..) about 1 of every 50 Americans is a
manic-depressive. It's a serious thing, and the average manic-
depressive comes down with the condition in his or her mid-20s.
There's more (there often is),
but the relevance is that this perfectly obvious distinction has been
totally denied in the DSM-5, that also has gigantically, and wholly
falsely, unless mankind has definitely changed the last 25 years,
widened the definition of "depression".
It's as likely to be a he as a she.
Neurotic depression, which isn't so serious, afflicts 1 of every
To stick with our subject, more or less:
on the retarded. Nearly 1 of every 1,000 Americans is in an
institution for the mentally retarded.
Actually, I would consider
that very low - it is 1 in 250.000 or so, which would mean 64
persons in Holland, where there are considerably more.
Finally, a bit more on IQs:
Rise and fall. The average American scores best on
the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, a standard IQ test, between the
ages of 25 and 29.
This is for the average
American. What is true is that I scored probably highest age 28, before
I fell ill. (But as I said: For me, this is mostly misleading, not so
much because there are no extremely high IQs, but because precisely
those have not been investigated well.)
(..) Between the ages of 40 and 44, our average American dips
below the scores of 16- and 17-year olds.
The decline gets a bit steeper around age 50, and sharper still
at about 70.
8. "The Money We Make and Spend"
Now we get to the money, but I'll take it less, since much of this is
outdated. Even so, that is an interesting fact, as we shall see.
Indeed, we start with an item that grew by almost the same amount, it
seems, even though that did not change much:
What we make
and how we spend it. The average American's income in 1978 was $
8,174.54. Taxes took $ 1,503,04, leaving
It seems as if all of this has
- roughly - twice doubled since, but it also seems as if about
the same goes for the prices. (I know I am speaking very
$ 6,671.50; the average American spent all but $ 329.49 of it.
(..) Want to know how muvh the average full-time worker was paid in
1978? $ 13,275.
Here's how the average American spent his or her average dollar.
Education, religion and
Liquor and other alcoholic
Makeup, haircuts and other personal
Cigaretters and other
What I am fairly amazed about are medical expenses; education, religion
and charity; and liquor and other alcoholic beverages: The former is
much too high, and especially the education,
religion and charity entry much too low - but then I am speaking of
numbers that are in fact 35 years old:
average income tax for people like you. (...) These
figures refer to the total personal income for 1978:
Here is my main reason
to copy this (and the last entry, at least, is misleading): This has radically
changed: Those with (really) high incomes pay far less
pays this much of it
in federal income tax:
5,000 and $ 10,000
$ 431 or 5,8%
and $ 20,000
$ 2,072 or
and $ 30,000
and $ 50,000
and $ 100,000
$ 16,801 or 25,4%
and $ 200,000
$ 43,913 or
Here is something that remained the same - except that in some branches
that too got quite insane:
The boss earns
more. In 1978, U.S. News & World Report asked 372 big companies
how much they paid their top executives in 1977:
These days, it is
considered "normal" to pay millions a year, sometimes even several tens
of millions. That is all
greed, and greed only, that is, if
one subtracts psychopathology.
The median pay for board chairmen was $308,190, up 11 percent
The median pay for
company presidents was $259,785, up 15
The median pay for
vice presidents was $179,419, up 11 percent.
Altogether, of 918 top officials, only 36 were paid less thah $
100,000, while 62 got $ 500,000 or more.
Now suppose you were 30 in 1980 (as I was): What about your
grandparents? Here is an answer for American grandparents:
That is slightly above twice
as much, in 50 years. I do not believe it has grown by much,
In 1929, the average
American spent the equivalent of $ 1,769
In 1978, the average
American spent the equivalent of $ 4,150
Here is another item that is important:
expensive. The average winner in the 1978 U.S. Senate race spent $
1,058,671 on his campaign, up from $ 552,423 in 1974 (..)
Now (1) the amounts have much
risen, and what is more important (2) corporations are claimed to be
"people" by the US Supreme Court.
How much we
own. At the end of 1978, the average American had $ 5.10 in assets
- cash, securities, house equity and so forth - for every dollar of
Currently, the situation is
much worse. Finally, an important statistic:
The size of the
government. One of every 5 American workers is employed by the
government, and $ 1.00 of every $ 5.00 spent in this country is spent
by the government.
I do not know how this is now.
I am at around half of the
book, so there still is half to do. Maybe I'll do it tomorrow, but this
was a fairly heavy task for me, and tomorrow I also must go shopping.
In any case: This is the sort of book that is bought far
less than it should have been, and I would recommend you to buy one if
there is a more recent one. But that I very much doubt: It seems this
was a one time, also once printed book, that also cannot be found
It's a great pity, for there is much more that is worthy to
know in a book of this kind, than in almost any other book one may buy.
(that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate (that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: