Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For January 04, 2015

Percentage of Americans who volunteered through an organization in 2014, according to research by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the National Conference on Citizenship: 25.4

Altogether, estimated number of hours Americans volunteered last year: 7.7 billion

Estimated value of this volunteer service, based on the average value of a volunteer hour: $173 billion

Source: Corporation for National and Community Service.

When American adults were asked to consider the top three people they admire enough to call a hero, percentage who listed a family member, with 26 percent specifically referencing parents, according to a Harris poll: 32

Source: Harris Interactive.

With winter officially under way, record low winter temperature among continental U.S. cities, held by Bismarck, North Dakota, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 45 degrees below zero

Absolute coldest temperature ever recorded in the U.S. -- at Prospect Creek, Alaska, on Jan. 23, 1971: 80 degrees below zero

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Percentage of Americans who say they typically consider New Year's resolutions regarding their finances, according to the Fidelity New Year Financial Resolutions Study: 40 (down from 54 percent in 2013)

Percentage of respondents who are actually considering financial resolutions for 2015, down from 43 percent last year: 31

Source: Fidelity Investments.

Percentage of Americans who say that poor or insufficient sleep affected their daily activities at least once in the past seven days, according to the National Sleep Foundation: 45

Percentage who reported that they did not wake up feeling refreshed on any of the past seven days: 20

Percentage of those with less than good sleep quality who also report "poor" or "only fair" health: 67

Source: National Sleep Foundation.

Percentage of never-married Americans who would like to eventually tie the knot, according to a Pew Research Center report: 53

Among never-married women interested in marriage, percentage who said that it is "very important" to them that a potential spouse has a steady job: 78

Percentage of never-married men who said the same: 46

Source: Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

Percentage of American travelers who tabbed the back-bruising "rear seat kicker" as No. 1 on the list of the most aggravating airplane passengers, according to an Expedia survey: 67

Ranks of inattentive parents, the aromatic passenger, the audio insensitive and the boozer on the list: 2, 3, 4, 5

Source: Expedia.

Percentage of North American employees who plan to pursue new career opportunities in 2015, according to a poll by Right Management: 86

Percentage who say "Maybe -- I'm networking": 8

Source: Right Management.

Rank of Alibaba founder and executive chairman Jack Ma, the former English teacher-turned-billionaire entrepreneur, on the list of this year's biggest financial gainers, according to Wealth-X: 1

Percentage increase in Ma's fortune this year (from $10.7 billion to $29.2 billion): 173

Ranks of Warren Buffett (23 percent increase), Bill Gates, the world's richest man, (14 percent increase), Mark Zuckerberg (34 percent) and Patrick Drahi (65 percent) on the list of this year's biggest financial gainers: 2, 3, 4, 5

Source: Wealth-X.

Percentage of American adults who say they will probably or definitely purchase a wearable device of some type in the next 12 months, pushing this category ahead of other popular tech gear, including streaming media devices, eReaders and 4K TVs, according to research conducted by Ipsos MediaCT: 18

Percentage of adults who are very familiar with wearable computers: 41

Source: Ipsos MediaCT.

Idle Thought

"Life is just a short walk from the cradle to the grave and it sure behooves us to be kind to one another along the way." -- Alice Childress, playwright, author

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