Skip to main content
ABC News
Significant Digits For Friday, Jan. 22, 2016

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news.

6 inches

That’s how much snow the D.C. metro train system can abide and keep a relatively normal schedule. D.C., as you may have heard, is bracing for a devastating blizzard, with much higher quantities of snow forecasted. As a result, the transit agency will cancel bus and train service on Saturday and Sunday, meaning the Metro will have only slightly worse than usual weekend service. [NBC Washington]


That’s the average Box Plus/Minus rating for the San Antonio Spurs’ bench players. The key thing to observe here is that it’s positive. All the other benches in the NBA have a negative score on average by this metric. See, most NBA teams’ benches probably could not compete as a starting lineup. The Spurs’ bench, on the other hand, could potentially make it to the playoffs. [FiveThirtyEight]

17 percent

After a boost in financial support from the city, New York’s animal shelters are seeing a 17 percent increase in adoptions, but more importantly are euthanizing far fewer animals. Euthanizations were down 36 percent for dogs and 25 percent for cats in 2015. [The New York Times]

21.5 percent

The probability that a white, middle-age, college-educated American is a millionaire. Compare that to 6.8 percent among middle-age, college-educated Hispanics and 6.4 percent among middle-age, college-educated African-Americans. [Bloomberg]

25.8 percent

Percentage of U.S. jobs that are unfilled 60 days after posting, according to, a job search site. That’s also the number of the week in my colleague Ben Casselman’s new column on the economy, which you should hella check out. [FiveThirtyEight]

2,653 firearms

TSA airport screeners found 2,653 firearms in carry-on bags in 2015, and about 83 percent of them were loaded. [The Los Angeles Times]


Estimated number of babies born with abnormally small heads in Brazil since October, a condition potentially linked to an outbreak of the Zika virus. [BBC]

$11 million

Two Utah residents are suing the New York Road Runners, which organizes the annual New York City Marathon, for $11 million, claiming the organization is operating an illegal lottery. NYRR conducts a qualification drawing for runners, and these two Utahns didn’t get to run because they didn’t win the drawing. [New York Daily News]

$498 million

Uber’s revenue in the third quarter of last year, which sounds great until you hear about the $697 million in losses. [Bloomberg]

$1 billion

Google is being sued by Oracle, which means we’re getting all the hot gossip about how much money is really getting thrown around among tech giants behind the scenes. One example: Google paid Apple $1 billion in 2014, since Apple gets a share of Google’s iPhone search revenue in exchange for keeping Google Search bars on Apple phones. In fairness, if the Apple Maps launch is any indication, any attempt at Apple Search would be devastating and would get you miserably lost on the web. [Bloomberg]

If you haven’t already, you really need to sign up for the Significant Digits newsletter — be the first to learn about the numbers behind the news.

If you see a significant digit in the wild, send it to me: @WaltHickey.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.