Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For February 27, 2011

Percentage of Americans who are more likely to name China than the United States as the leading economic power in the world today, according to a Gallup Poll: 52

Percentage who named America as the leading economic power: 32

Percentage who named Japan: 7

Source: Gallup.

Percentage of people who say they prefer to make a date via e-mail, text message or social networking instead of the old-fashioned phone call, according to Zagat's 2011 Dating & Dumping survey: 34

In contrast, in 2009, percentage of respondents who preferred to initiate a date in person: 53

Today, percentage of respondents who confessed to "Googling" a prospective date: 52

Source: Zagat.

Estimated percentage of restaurants that are now owned by women, according to research from the National Restaurant Association: 50

Percentage increase in Hispanic ownership of restaurants in the past five years: 42

Source: National Restaurant Association.

Ranks of reducing debt (28 percent) and boosting savings (21 percent) on the list of Americans' financial priorities, according to a Country Financial survey: 1, 2

Percentage of Americans who currently do not utilize a household budget: 49

Percentage who say they rely on credit to pay their monthly bills: 13

Source: Country Financial.

Percentage of advertising and marketing executives who said hugging colleagues is at least somewhat common in the United States, according to a national survey developed by The Creative Group: 30

Percentage of executives who said embracing co-workers in a business setting is inappropriate: 70

Source: The Creative Group.

Percentage of high school students who think it's their responsibility to help fund their college education, according to a survey of 16- and 17-year-olds headed for higher education, according to a study by the College Savings Foundation: 72

Percentage who are planning to use their own funds to pay for college: 65

Percentage who will cover more than one-quarter of their college costs, compared to 52 percent last year: 58

Source: College Savings Foundation.

Estimated percentage of today's college students who hold jobs, according to a survey released by Cengage Learning: 50

Percentage of students who report being distracted by external responsibilities, such as raising families or by financial issues, including paying for school or debt: 30

Source: Cengage Learning.

Percentage of consumers who are looking for products that are healthy, according to the BrandSpark and Better Homes and Gardens American Shopper Study: 80

Percentage of consumers who are trying to reduce their consumption of processed foods: 70

Percentage who are looking for food products that can reduce the risk of major health issues: 60

Source: Better Homes and Gardens.

Percentage of American taxpayers who plan to spend their anticipated federal and state tax refunds on vacations -- up dramatically from 16 percent when a similar poll was first taken in 2006 -- according to a survey commissioned by Taxsoftware.com: 30

Percentage of Americans who expect to receive tax refunds: 59

Source: Taxsoftware.com.

When comparing large cities with red-light cameras to those without, percentage reduction in the fatal red-light-running crash rate, according to a 2011 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety: 24

Percentage reduction in the rate of all types of fatal crashes at signalized intersections attributed to these devices: 17.6

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Idle Thought

"Nothing is so firmly believed as what is least known." -- Michel de Montaigne, essayist

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