By the Numbers: How Americans Spend (More of) Their Money

iStock
iStock

Every day, Americans spend an average of $101, according to Gallup. The bulk of that money goes to housing, food, and, transportation—but a surprising amount of it gets spent on Funyuns. Previously, we broke down where the $10.7 trillion that Americans spent in a single year went. Here’s an updated look at the lesser known slices of America’s big financial pie chart.

Touring Civil War battlefields: $442 million [PDF]

(That’s the tally for 15 NPS Civil War battlefields in five states. “[B]lue and gray makes green,” says Kevin Lanston, a deputy commissioner for tourism in Georgia. [PDF])

Drinking beer on Independence Day: $1 billion

Lighting up fireworks: $800 million

Lighting up (legal) marijuana: $6.9 billion

(“Sales are projected to increase to $21.6 billion by the year 2021,” according to Arcview Market Research.)

Eating Cheetos, Doritos, and Funyuns: $4.8 billion

Fixing car damage caused by potholes: $3 billion

De-icing streets with road salt: $2.3 billion

Buying bags of ice: $3 billion

Shopping for (artificial) Christmas trees: $854 million

Chopping (real) Christmas trees: $1.3 billion

Enjoying the great outdoors: $646 billion [PDF]

(If this number appears inflated, that’s because it reflects the total impact of outdoor recreation, including trip-related sales such as hotels, food services, and vacation expenses.)

Fishing trips: $41.8 billion

Bicycling trips: $81 billion [PDF]

Rock climbing/hiking trips: $12 billion [PDF]

Treating trips and falls: $76.3 billion

Birdwatching: $26 billion [PDF]

Paying for wild birdfeed: $3 billion

Treating dog bites: $570 million

Going under the knife for aesthetic cosmetic surgery: $13.5 billion

Purchasing cosmetics: $62 billion

Getting your nails done: $7.47 billion [PDF]

Getting hammered: $223.5 billion

(According to the CDC, this includes the cost of lost workplace productivity, health care expenses, law enforcement expenses, and impaired driving accidents.)

Binging at food trucks: $2.7 billion

Treating acid indigestion: $2 billion

Eating quinoa: $1.32 billion

Chewing chewing gum: $2 billion

Chewing chewing tobacco: $5.93 billion

Buying chew toys: $32 million

Going back to school: $75.8 billion

Prepping for standardized tests: $12 billion

Treating stress-related illnesses: $300 billion

Purchasing fake degrees: ~$100 million

(More than 100,000 fake degrees are sold each year in the U.S., at approximately $1000 a pop.)

Giving graduation gifts: $5.4 billion

Playing Fantasy Football: $4.6 billion

Watching the Patriots-Falcons Super Bowl: $14.1 billion

Eating pizza: $32 billion

Eating supermarket hot dogs: $2.4 billion

Treating Ischemic heart disease: $88.1 billion

Buying heartfelt Valentine’s Day jewelry: $4.3 billion

Taking a risk with lottery tickets: $80.55 billion

Taking a risk with online dating: $2 billion

Buying flowers: $31.3 billion

Freshening up with mouthwashes, gargles, and rinses: $1.8 billion

Going to the bar: $20 billion [PDF]

Hitting the nightclub: $1.9 billion

Popping Himalayan Viagra: $5 to 11 billion

(Yarsagumba, or caterpillar fungus, is a parasitic fungus made by ghost moth larvae. This “Himalayan Viagra” has been considered an aphrodisiac for millennia. Numbers reflect global sales.)

Tuning the radio to smooth jazz: $190 million

Pregnancy: $55.6 billion

Last time we did this, a handful of readers expressed interest in seeing these numbers arranged in ascending order. If you’re drooling to see these numbers neatly ordered, a sheet is linked here. Enjoy!

We're Hiring a Videographer/Editor!

iStock.com/filo
iStock.com/filo

Mental Floss is seeking a full-time videographer/editor to join our team in New York City. This person will shoot and edit multiple videos a week for our site and other platforms, contribute to brainstorming sessions, and see each video through every stage of production to the final product. This includes:

- Pitching video ideas and planning their execution
- Shooting in studio and on location
- Lighting shoots in studio and on location
- Recording audio
- Editing video
- Creating text and basic motion graphics

Ideal candidates will be ambitious, detail-oriented, and deadline-driven, and comfortable being a key player on a team as well as managing independent projects. They will have solid technical and production skills, and are equally comfortable shooting and editing. A sense of humor, wit, and the proclivity to pitch in and do whatever needs doing to get the job done are essential.

REQUIREMENTS

- 2-4 years making short-form digital video
- Experience shooting, lighting, and audio recording in the studio and on location
- Experience editing videos
- Proficiency in Adobe Premiere, After Effects, and Photoshop
- A knowledge of "what works" across platforms—but also an inclination to push the boundaries and innovate
- Strong writing skills
- Bonus points if you have animation and graphic design experience

TO APPLY

Send an email with the subject "Mental Floss Editor/Videographer" to anna@minutemedia.com. In your cover letter, tell us why you're a fit for our team and what a perfect Mental Floss video would be. Tell us about your most relevant work experience. Include a link to your portfolio and/or at least three links to short-form videos you shot or edited (specify your role). Please include your resume and salary requirements.

If we bring you in for an interview, we'll also ask you to do a video editing test. Please note that this is not a remote position; our offices are in midtown Manhattan.

America's Divorce Rate is Declining—and We Have Millennials to Thank for It

iStock/Jason_Lee_Hughes
iStock/Jason_Lee_Hughes

Millennials are reportedly killing off yet another cultural mainstay, but this time, it may be a good thing. According to Bloomberg, divorce rates are going down, thanks to the commitment powers of younger generations.

Between 2008 and 2016, the divorce rate in the U.S. dropped by 18 percent, according to a new analysis of data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Controlling for related factors like age (older people are less likely to get divorced than younger couples), the rate still dropped by 8 percent. By contrast, Baby Boomers have consistently divorced at higher rates than previous generations.

Many declines that Millennials are blamed for—like rates of homeownership or having kids—can actually be attributed to the dismal finances of a generation that came of age in a recession, is saddled with crushing student debt, and faces high costs of living and low wage growth. Divorces can be expensive, too. Yet several trends point to a higher likelihood of marriage stability for the Millennial generation that has nothing to do with finances. On average, Millennials are marrying later in life, and spending more time dating partners prior to marriage than earlier generations, both of which correlate with a lower chance of divorce, according to social scientists.

“The U.S. is progressing toward a system in which marriage is rarer, and more stable, than it was in the past,” author Philip Cohen writes in the paper.

Sorry, law school students, but it looks like being a divorce lawyer is going to get a little less lucrative in the future.

[h/t Bloomberg]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER