American teens are waiting longer to drive. According to the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, 33% of licensed drivers were under age 30 in 1983. In 2008 it was 22%. Sixty-nine percent of 17-year-olds were licensed in 1983. In 2008 it was 50%. Although a weak economy, high unemployment, a growing migration of young people to urban areas where cars are less necessary and the high cost of owning a car have contributed to the change, the Internet is a big factor Yes, the high-tech social interaction that drives some parents crazy is driving their teens … not to drive.
Maybe all Americans should try to avoid driving on “tax day”. The last day to file federal taxes usually falls on April 15, but on whatever day it falls the risk of fatal crashes increases 6%. That’s according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Explanations include stress, sleep deprivation and greater consumption of alcohol. Not even electronic filing has decreased the risk – which doesn’t just apply to late filers. Everyone driving is at an increased risk throughout the day. Perhaps car manufacturers could develop a solution to this increase in fatal crashes – “tax breaks”.
More co-habitating American couples are having children. That’s according to a 2002-2010 National Center for Health Statistics survey. The data from 22,000 interviews showed co-habitating couples accounted for 22% of first births – up from 12%. There was also an increase in the number of women who started having children after age 35 and had two or more. However, some things haven’t changed. The mean age of women having their first child is 23. It’s 25 for men. Also women, on average, are still having 2.1 children. Expecting statisticians to round down to the nearest whole number - 2 – is “pointless”.
More schools are serving dinner. In 2012 more and more families are depending on schools to feed their children breakfast, lunch and now dinner. In just the past few years a federally subsidized dinner program spread from 6 states to all 50. Because of the recession, the number of “food insecure” households went from 36 million in 2007 to 49 million in 2010. This isn’t just urban poverty; it’s rural and small-town poverty too. It’s increasing numbers of suburban food banks. Rush Limbaugh denounced school dinners as part of the “nanny state” – but Rush Limbaugh can “eat his words”.