Skip to main content
ABC News
Significant Digits For Friday, Sept. 14, 2018

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

12,800 children

The number of detained migrant children in the U.S. is at the highest level ever recorded: 12,800 children. This represents an increase of more than 10,000 since May 2017 — and is despite the fact that hundreds of children who were separated from their parents have been released because of court orders. [The New York Times]

1 in 3

FiveThirtyEight launched its Senate forecast on Wednesday. As I write, Democrats have a roughly 1 in 3 chance to take control of that legislative body. Thirty-five of the Senate’s 100 seats are up for election in November; 26 of those are currently held by Democrats or independents who caucus with Democrats, and nine are held by Republicans. [FiveThirtyEight]

$2 billion philanthropic effort

On Twitter Thursday, Jeff Bezos — likely the richest man in the world, with a net worth well north of $150 billion — announced a $2 billion philanthropic effort to help homeless families and start a network of preschools. “The child will be the customer,” the Amazon CEO, just a totally normal and helpful guy, wrote in his statement. [NBC News]

28 documents

With a vote looming, Sen. Cory Booker on Wednesday night released 28 confidential documents on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh pertaining to controversial judicial appointments during his time in the Bush administration. And on Thursday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein referred separate information about Kavanaugh to federal investigators. Two people familiar with the matter told the Times that the information concerned “possible sexual misconduct” between Kavanaugh and a woman when both were in high school. [NBC News, The New York Times]

$80 million painting

Christie’s auction house is selling “Portrait of an Artist (Pool With Two Figures),” which looks more or less like what it sounds like, by David Hockney. The painting, which is reportedly owned by the billionaire owner of the English soccer club Tottenham Hotspur, is estimated to go for a cool $80 million. Anything close to that would set a record for the most expensive piece by a living artist ever sold. David, if inspiration strikes and you wanna paint me something real quick, even just with one figure, please do feel free. [The Guardian]

24 percent of killings

The Washington Post surveyed 50 cities to understand homicides and arrest rates. Departments with lower caseloads of killings tended to have higher arrest rates, while those with higher caseloads had lower arrest rates. “Major police departments that are successful at making arrests in homicides generally assign detectives fewer than five cases annually,” the story said. Some cities were outliers from the general trend the Post found: In Chicago, for example, the caseload is 3.1 killings per detective, but only 24 percent of killings led to an arrest — the lowest rate among the cities studied. [The Washington Post]

Love digits? Find even more in FiveThirtyEight’s new book of math and logic puzzles, “The Riddler.” It’s out on Oct. 9 and available for pre-order now — I hope you dig it.

If you see a significant digit in the wild, please send it to @ollie.

Oliver Roeder was a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied game theory and political competition.