A Statistical Look at America's Food Landscape

Hog wild and produce free — a look at food consumption and trends in the Census Bureau's annual profile.


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Did you know there are states in the U.S. that have a higher population of pigs than humans? Or that since 1990, sales at America's bars and taverns has increased nearly 100 percent?

Most of us never take the time to sit back and think about how our diet and eating habits affect the greater trends of the country, and vice versa. But last Thursday the Census Bureau published the 130th edition of the Statistical Abstract of the United States, which gives an annual status update on everything from how much red meat the average American consumed this past year to the number of students who graduated from college.

To maximize the information available, we rounded up the most interesting food-related findings and factoids.

9 - The decreased percentage in the retail cost of ground beef since 2008. [Table 732]

18 - The number of pounds more (per capita) of processed vegetables (canned, frozen, dehydrated) versus fresh vegetables consumed in 2008. [Table 214]

23.5 - The percentage decrease in the number of honey-producing bee colonies since 1990. As a result, the cost (per pound) of honey has increased 168.5 percent over the past two decades. [Table 860]

52.2 - The percentage of women employed this past year by establishments serving alcoholic beverages. [Table 1274]

93 - The percentage of genetically engineered soybean crops used in the total U.S. production of soybeans, a 72% increase since 2000. [Table 861]

1,000 - The number of farms in both Rhode Island and Alaska (the lowest in the nation), versus the 248,000 in Texas (the highest in the nation, by a longshot—the state with the second highest is Missouri, with 108,000). [Table 820]

2,437 - The total funds (in millions) given for Federal Research and Development to the Department of Agriculture this past year. [Table 798]

33,442 - The number of people (in millions) that participated in Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs this year (including Food Stamps). [Table 569]

51,348 - The number of fresh vegetables and melons consumed (in millions of pounds) in 2009.  [Table 857]

78,820 - The total sales (in millions) at food and beverage stores this year in California; the state with highest rate in the country. The nationwide total is $589,554,000. [Table 1058]

Click here for the 8 Interesting Food Census Facts Slideshow. 

The Daily Byte is a regular column dedicated to covering interesting food news and trends across the country. Click here for the previous The Daily Byte. 


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