Skip to main content
ABC News
Significant Digits For Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016

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

46 percent

A study of 18- to 24-year-olds in the U.K. found that 46 percent reported losing sleep over finances. And they don’t even have to deal with the student debt and health care and pharmaceutical costs that we do! [The Guardian]

78 percent

Probability that Donald Trump will win the Feb. 20 South Carolina GOP primary, according to our polls-plus forecast, up from 56 percent a week ago. Our polls-only forecast gives Trump an 87 percent chance. [FiveThirtyEight]

85 percent

Recycling mobile phones is a big business, and Apple has found a way to extract even more resources from recycled handheld devices. Recyclers want to reclaim 70 percent of old phones, but Apple’s factory recycling phones in Hong Kong gets about 85 percent, according to the company’s head of environmental affairs. [Bloomberg]

85 points

Marco Rubio secured the endorsement of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and with it an additional 10 points in our endorsement tracker. Rubio now leads the field with 85 points — governors’ endorsements are worth 10, senators’ are worth five and representatives’ are worth one — having vaulted over early leader Jeb Bush, who has 51 points. [FiveThirtyEight]

310 emails per year

The service essentially serves as a bouncer for inboxes, allowing people to have some control over what kinds of email they receive. This gives them a front-row seat to the email habits of many of America’s spammers and subscription services. For instance, Groupon sent users about 388 emails on average last year, the highest of any sender tracked. Even Facebook was in on the email game: On average users got 310 emails from Facebook. []


Estimated average amount of water bills paid by residents of Flint, Michigan, in 2015. That’s the highest bill of any of the 500 water systems analyzed by the public interest group Food and Water Watch, and keep in mind that Flint residents were essentially paying for poison. [Detroit Free Press]

857 delegates

Gaming out this election a little further, if Bernie Sanders wants to win the Democratic nomination, he has to do well in the contests on March 8 (when Michigan and Mississippi vote) and March 15 (when Missouri, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio and Illinois do). Over those two days, 20 percent of the total number of pledge delegates are allocated, 857 to be exact. [FiveThirtyEight]


Number of emergency-room visits between 2009 and 2014 in the U.S. for things stuck inside people’s rectums. About 59 percent of those items were not sex toys, which is where this gets interesting. [FlowingData]

10 million students

A court order has granted a state-appointed data analyst access to records of 10 million California students with information including Social Security numbers, names, addresses and disability status. The analyst is working on behalf of the Morgan Hill Concerned Parents Association, which has been locked in a five-year legal battle over the whether students with disabilities are getting an appropriate education. [WKYC]

$11.9 billion

That’s the total maintenance backlog of the U.S. National Park system, according to a federal report. Some $371,589,415 of that is for the Grand Canyon alone, where walls need to be repaired, a water system needs to be paid for, trails and buildings need upgrading and roads need to be paved. [Grand Canyon News]

CORRECTION (Feb. 18, 10:15 a.m.): Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article gave the incorrect date for the Missouri and North Carolina Democratic primaries. They are on March 15, not March 8.

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.