- The Washington Times - Friday, January 25, 2002

Use of cellular phones in the United States has climbed more than 20-fold from 5 million to 110 million subscribers since 1990, the U.S. Census Bureau disclosed yesterday in the Statistical Abstract for 2001.

While cell phone usage and employment in its industry skyrocketed over the past decade, the price charged for wireless phone service was cut nearly in half during the period, according to the Abstract, which the Census Bureau calls the "national data book."

Between 1990 and 2000, the "average monthly cell phone bill decreased from $81 to $45," said Lars Johanson, technical coordinator and co-author of the Abstract, which has been published annually since 1878.

"Another indicator of the spectacular growth of the industry was the jump in its employees, from 21,000 to 185.000," he said.

As its name suggests, the Statistical Abstract is packed with statistics. This year's version consists of just under 1,000 pages, including the index, and provides data on everything from red meat consumption to domestic abuse and exercise equipment to excise taxes.

The new edition has more than 1,400 tables and charts, including new ones with information derived from the 2000 Census. It also features revised economic tables that use the new North American Industry Classification System. NAICS was adopted in response to the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement and replaces a classification system that had been in effect since 1930.

The latest Statistical Abstract also offers a new section on hotels and restaurants, providing information such as numbers of employees, new construction, and mergers and acquisitions.

Other information in the new Statistical Abstract some of it highlighted by the Census Bureau in a news release includes:

•In the spring of 1999, 46 million adults said they attended a musical performance sometime in the previous year; 35 million said they surfed the Internet, 32 million did crossword puzzles, 11 million played bingo, and 7 million flew a kite

•U.S. consumption of red meat and poultry rose from 63 billion pounds in 1990 to 76 billion pounds in 2000, a 21 percent increase.

•More than 19 million drivers were stopped by police at least once in 1999. Major reasons were speeding (51 percent); vehicle defects (11 percent); and record checks (9 percent).

•Deaths in alcohol-related crashes declined steadily between 1990 and 1999, from nearly half of all accidents to a ratio of less than 4 in 10.

•About 1 million people were involved in violent acts with intimate partners (current or former spouses or boyfriends or girlfriends) in 1998, down from more than 1.2 million such acts five years earlier.

•As of February 2000, Americans had worked for their current employer a median of three and a half years. Fewer than one in 10 workers were with the same employer for 20 years or more.

•The number of women operating farms rose from 145,000 in 1992 to 165,000 in 1997. The number of black farm operators fell from 19,000 to 18,000 during the same five-year period. The number of Hispanic farm operators increased from 21,000 to 28,000.

•Shipments of recreational vehicles dropped from 347,300 in 1990 to 293,700 the following year.

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