Skip to main content
ABC News
Significant Digits For Thursday, July 30, 2015

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

4.5 percent

The U.S. unemployment rate is projected to drop to 4.5 percent by December assuming current trends hold. Then again, “assuming current trends hold” is a dangerous sentence for forecasters. [Brookings]

11.5 years

America, your cars are old: The average vehicle age in this country is 11.5 years. So suck on that, planned obsolescence! [Associated Press]

19 years

Back in 1992, researchers in China saw a weird bird. It took 19 years, but scientists finally found the bird again and confirmed it was a new species, Locustella chengi (common name: Sichuan bush warbler). I’m simplifying the process a bit there, but all you need to know is that the Sichuan bush warbler makes sounds like an insect, a party trick I’m sure will never get old. [The Guardian]

3,447 one-star reviews

As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, the dental practice of Walter Palmer had racked up 3,447 one-star reviews on Yelp. The negative ratings may have less to do with the dentist’s drill skill and more to do with the fact that the guy paid a bunch of money to shoot a beloved lion for sport. [Motherboard]

3,800 miles

A chunk of airplane wreckage washed up on the island of Réunion, east of Madagascar, and it may have come from MH370, the plane that disappeared last year. If it is, it has travelled at least 3,800 miles from the last known location of the plane. (I’d make a joke about CNN, but I just got back from vacation.) [Wired]


Three University of Virginia graduates are suing Rolling Stone magazine and reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely for defamation over the retracted article “A Rape on Campus.” The plaintiffs belonged to the fraternity whose members were accused in the story of raping another student. While an exact number has not been set, the plaintiffs are suing for upwards of $75,000. [The Washington Post]

$237,000 average bonus

A Turkish CEO who sold his food-delivery startup for $589 million paid the company’s 114 employees a combined $27 million, breaking down to about $237,000 each in bonuses. [CNN Money]

968 million daily active users

Facebook earnings dropped yesterday as the company reported it had 968 million daily active users, below expectations. People spend on average 46 minutes per day on the company’s suite of products, which includes Instagram. [Business Insider]

$2.9 billion

Donald Trump says his net worth exceeds $10 billion, and his recent financial disclosure filing with the Federal Election Commission puts the figure at $8.7 billion. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which has some experience in this kind of thing, puts it closer to $2.9 billion. I’m sure this disagreement will elicit a reasoned, rational response from Camp Trump. [Bloomberg]

7,845,460,401 uniques

Washington’s football team reported that it got 7,845,460,401 unique visitors for its print and online coverage of its 2014 training camp. Quick check: There are slightly fewer people on Earth. Washington is either working from a particularly innovative perspective on the meaning of “unique visitor” or — and this is just a working theory — a professional sports team might be overstating figures in order to extract concessions from a host city. [The Washington Post]

I’m back! Huge thanks to Oliver Roeder for covering for me as I developed a profound sunburn. Be sure to follow him @Ollie, he’s the best. If you see a significant digit in the wild, be sure to tweet it to me @WaltHickey.

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.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.