Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For May 13, 2012

Percentage of native-born American citizens who failed the civics portion of the U.S. naturalization test, according to a survey from Xavier University's Center for the Study of the American Dream: 33

Pass rate among immigrants applying for citizenship: 97.5

Source: Xavier University's Center for the Study of the American Dream.

Percentage rise in the yearly costs to own and operate a sedan in the U.S., according to the results of AAA's annual Your Driving Costs study: 1.9

Based upon 15,000 miles of annual driving, average cost per mile in 2012, up 1.2 cents from 2011: 59.6 cents

Average cost per year: $8,946

Source: AAA.

Year of America's worst waterborne disaster when the wooden steamboat Sultana's boilers suddenly exploded and the boat burned and sank as it moved up the flooded Mississippi River near Memphis at night, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 1865

Number of people who lost their lives: 1,700

Number of people who lost their lives in the Titanic disaster: more than 1,500

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Ranks of "a stronger economy in my country," "better living conditions" and "strengthening family relationship" on the list of the top three important factors for improving personal well-being, general health and quality of life, according to a survey of citizens in 24 countries: 1, 2, 3

Source: Ipsos Global Public Affairs.

Percentage of Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus test-takers who are female, according to L'Oreal: 46

Percentage of AP Computer Science test-takers who are female: 19

Percentage of all professional jobs in the U.S. work force that are held by women: 56

Percentage of IT jobs that are held by women: 25

Source: L'Oreal.

With 82 percent of U.S. consumers affected by the economic downturn, the percentage who are personally involved in a good cause, down from 60 percent in 2010, according to the 2012 Edelman "Goodpurpose" study: 53

Percentage of Americans who believe the responsibility of tackling society's issues falls most heavily on the shoulders of "people like me": 35

Percentage who believe the responsibility should fall on government: 22

Source: Edelman.

Percentage of young women ages 18 to 34 who rate "career" high on their list of life priorities, compared with 59 percent of young men, according to a Pew Research Survey: 66

In 1997, percentage of young women, compared with 58 percent of young men, who felt the same way: 56

Source: Pew Research Center's Social and Demographic Trends.

Percentage of 17- to 25-year-old drivers who agree that smartphone apps are causing young people to be more distracted at the wheel, according to survey findings from Ingenie: 58

Percentage who admitted to answering their phones while driving without a hands-free set: 40

Percentage who said they had sent a text message: 44

Source: Ingenie.

Percentage of airline passengers across 40 countries worldwide who voted the front six rows of the plane as the most popular, according to a poll by flight comparison site Skyscanner: 45

Percentage of passengers who cited a preference for a window seat: 60

Percentage who preferred an aisle seat: 39

Source: Skyscanner.

Percentage less likely that women are than men to make time for physical activities they enjoy, according to a survey from the American Cancer Society: 10

Percentage of women who said they would be more physically active in their free time if it felt less like work and more like play: 40

Percentage of the women who do make time for physical activity they enjoy, who also say they do so because it is good for their mind: 63

Source: American Cancer Society.

Idle Thought

"Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play." -- Heraclitus, philosopher

(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at johnmacintyre(at)