WASHINGTON -- Here's the truth about cats and dogs: Canines rule in American households, though just barely.
About 36 percent of homes have dogs, while 32 percent have cats. Feline fanatics can take heart with this statistic: Your pet sees the vet less often.
Those are just two examples from hundreds of pages of facts and figures about America found in the new Statistical Abstract of the United States, being released today by the Census Bureau.
The nearly 1,000 pages in the 122nd edition are light on words but heavy on numbers detailing life for Americans.
Here are some of them:
The average cell phone call in 2001 lasted just under three minutes, and the average monthly bill ran $47.37.
In 2000, 44 percent of adults did volunteer work, contributing an average of 15 hours per month.
U.S. residents spent over $38 billion on lottery tickets in 2001.
Cat owners are slightly more likely to have more than one pet roaming the home. Dogs, meanwhile, are more likely to visit the animal doctor -- 85 percent of dog households took the pet to the vet in 2001, compared with 67 percent of cat homes.
The government puts together the fat fact book each year, compiling statistics collected by the Census Bureau as well as from private sources. For instance, the American Veterinary Medical Association supplied the data on pets.
It's not all fun and games, of course. This year's compendium includes a summary of recently released data from the 2000 census, covering income, education and poverty.
New information is added, too, to keep up with changing preferences. For instance, statistics on snowboarding were first added two years ago (more than 4.3 million people like to "get air" down the slopes).
On the Net
Census Bureau's Statistical Abstract site: www.census.gov/statab/www/