THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
CADILLAC NEWS -- MAY 6, 2023
Here's the thing about statistics. Sometimes the stats are contained within a story. Sometimes the stats are the story. Whatever the case may be, something interesting is usually the result.
For instance, consider the topic of energy. Imagine what your life would be like without electricity. “Electricity generated from renewables surpassed coal in the United States for the first time in 2022. Renewables also surpassed nuclear generation in 2022 after first doing so last year.”
The leaders in this trend may surprise you. “Growth in wind and solar significantly drove the increase in renewable energy and contributed fourteen percent of the electricity produced domestically in 2022. California produced twenty-six percent of the national utility-scale solar electricity followed by Texas with sixteen percent. The most wind generation occurred in Texas, which accounted for twenty-six percent of the U.S. total.”
What isn't a surprise is the driving force behind this surge. “This booming growth is driven largely by economics. Renewable energy is now the most affordable source of new electricity in much of the country.” (https://apnews.com/article/renewable-energy-coal-nuclear-climate-change-dd4a0b168fe057f430e37398615155a0)
Of course, power is needed to run the internet. However, internet access is better in some places than others. “Both internet speed and affordability can vary considerably within the United States. Surfshark examined which states have the best internet value on average, and which have the worst. Surfshark’s Internet Value Index scores U.S. states on both broadband and mobile internet, measuring the ratio of speed to affordability.”
Where you live makes a difference. The top five states with the best internet value are: New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington. The bottom five are: West Virginia, Montana, Arkansas, Wyoming, and Mississippi. Michigan ranks nineteenth. See the graphic at: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/cp/ranking-us-states-best-internet-value/.
Speaking of the internet, more devices are “living” in our homes. Many people, however, are not opting to activate these high-tech helpers. “Smart homes are only as smart as the tech that occupies them. Whether it’s a smart speaker, fridge, or garage-door opener, each device is reliant on a strong connection to the internet or the cloud. However, some consumers are reportedly opting to not connect their internet-enabled devices at all. According to a recent article from the Wall Street Journal, customers are using internet-enabled appliances without connecting them to the internet.”
This is particularly true with common appliances. Apparently, having a refrigerator smarter than its owner is not attractive to some folks. “The appliance market continues to still struggle to convey an added value to the consumer from that connectivity that’s added to the device. LG told the WSJ that less than half of the smart appliances it has sold stay connected.”
On another home front, the internet has changed some things. “More and more businesses are embracing work-from-home positions. In fact, 12.7 percent of full-time employees now work entirely from home, while another 28.2 percent have a hybrid schedule with some time at home and some time at their employer’s building.”
Again, the viability of the work-from-home option may depend on where you live. “In order to find out the states that provide the best conditions for working from home, WalletHub compared the fifty states and the District of Columbia across twelve key metrics.”
“Our data set ranges from the share of workers working from home to internet cost and cybersecurity.” The top five states are: Delaware, Utah, Maryland, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Last on the list were: Mississippi, Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota, and Alaska. Michigan ranked thirty-four. See the full picture at: https://wallethub.com/edu/best-states-for-working-from-home/72801.
One perk of working at home is that you can walk your dog any time you desire. Be careful, though. Strolling with Fido could be more dangerous than you might think. “Johns Hopkins University researchers have found that traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) were the second most common injury among adults treated in U.S. emergency rooms for injuries related to walking a leashed dog from 2001 to 2020.”
That's not all. “The researchers also found that women, and all adults age sixty-five and older, were more likely to sustain serious injuries, such as fractures and TBIs, than people in other demographic groups. The three most common injuries among all adults were, in order, finger fracture, TBI, and shoulder sprain or strain. TBI and hip fracture were the two most common injuries among adults age sixty-five and older.”
Wait! There's more. “Notably, women with injuries related to dog walking were fifty percent more likely than men to sustain a fracture. Older dog walkers were more than three times as likely to experience a fall, more than twice as likely to have a fracture and sixty percent more likely to sustain a TBI than younger dog walkers.”
Serious stats aside, sometimes statistics can be a tad whimsical. Here's a question for you. “How much do people spend on dates?” TheHustle.co ran a survey to find out. (https://thehustle.co/the-economics-of-dating-during-high-inflation/)
The survey revealed a few key things. 'The average date costs $68. The average person spent $1,260 on dates in 2022. The most popular first date is getting drinks at a bar. Eighty-three percent of men report always paying for the date, while five percent of women report always paying for the date.'
Demographics also play a role in the dating game. “Predictably, younger daters (Gen Z and millennials) spend less than the average, while more mature daters — particularly Gen Xers — spend more.”
Finally, a summer stat that's both fun and nostalgic. Stacker.com asks: “What was the weather like for your very first summer?” The weather stats for every summer from 1920-2022 are at: https://stacker.com/weather/what-summer-was-year-you-were-born.
For example, if you were born one hundred years ago (1923) it was a pretty nice summer. The average temperature was 71.0 F, the hottest day was 83.6 F, and the coldest day was 58.4 F. I'd take a summer like that in 2023. You too?
Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at CadillacNews.com and NeffZone.com/cadillacnews.