Figuratively Speaking for May 12, 2017

Percentage of Americans who planned to put their tax refund toward necessary expenses, such as student loans and credit card payments, according to a study from investment company Edward Jones: 53

Percentage who are planning to invest their 2016 tax refunds this year: 6

Percentage who planned to save their refund: 31

Percentage who planned to put it toward something fun, like a vacation or entertainment: 9

Source: Edward Jones.

Percentage of Americans who tend to focus more on healthy lifestyle choices leading into the warmer months, according to Toluna QuickSurveys: 58

Of those people, percentage who say they try to drink more water in an effort to lose weight and get healthier: 61

Source: Toluna QuickSurveys.

Percentage of all adults polled who are concerned that past exposure to loud noise in leisure settings may have harmed their hearing, according to a survey commissioned by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association: 41

Percentage who said loud noise has reduced their enjoyment of out-of-home activities: 33

Ranks of bars/clubs and concerts on the list of the top noisiest places in the ASHA polling: 1, 2

Source: ASHA.

Today, estimated number of people in the U.S. who work for themselves, according to WalletHub: 15 million

Percentage of the labor force this represents: 10

Source: WalletHub.

Number of dogs in U.S. homes, according the U.S. Census Bureau: 78 million

Number of cats in U.S. homes: 86 million

Number of birds: 8 million

Number of rabbits: 3.2 million

Annual value of the animal food manufacturing business: $60 billion

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Number of new nursing jobs (RN and LPN) in the U.S. from 2012 to 2016, according to CareerBuilder: 3.5 million

Projected growth in the number of jobs in 2017: 3.6 million

Projected growth from 2017 to 2021: 3.9 million

Source: CareerBuilder.com.

Percentage of Americans who prefer to spend their money on traveling, according to the annual global travel survey from travel search engine Momondo.com: 25

Americans' typical vacation length, compared to the global average of 7: 14 days

Rank of London on the list of the most searched international destinations among Americans: 1

Source: Momondo.

Percentage of Americans who say they enjoy reading books, according to a survey by Ipsos: 81

Percentage who say they rarely read because they prefer TV: 44

Source: Ipsos Public Affairs.

Percentage of singles who thought it "cringe worthy" if their date used a fork to eat sushi, according to a poll conducted by Grubhub and Tinder: 56

Percentage who thought it "adorable" to skip the chopsticks: 44

Source: GrubHub.

Ranks of coffee (48 percent), Netflix (44 percent), and sex (39 percent) on the list of items millennial women would be willing to give up for a month to be free of unwanted body hair for one year, according to a survey conducted by Kelton Global: 1, 2, 3

Ranks of bikini line, underarms and legs on the list of the biggest offenders: 1, 2, 3

Source: Kelton Research.

Idle Thought

"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends." -- Maya Angelou, poet

(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at johnmacintyre@bwr.eastlink.ca.)

More like Figuratively Speaking