Election Year Demographics, And So On

Jeff Brown, MD

In this week's column Jeff Brown looks through some election-year stats and factoids. Some are counter-intuitive; others confirm what you already suspected.

There has been rightly been a lot of attention paid this year to changing demographics: age, ethnicity, religion, etc. in the voting public. Add to the public discourse the echo of Susan B. Anthony when she predicted a coming “…epoch of single women.” According to Rebecca Traister’s new book “All the Single Ladies,” that epoch has arrived, with little fanfare. For the first time in American history, the majority of the female electorate is now composed of single women. Candidates take note.

As the drought wanes in California, Texas, and elsewhere, due to the ministrations of Mr. El Niño, let us remember that none have suffered so much from that drought as our chickens, cattle, and hogs. When their cost of living increases too fast, they pay with their lives.

As the spring approaches, our thoughts turn to love — and real estate. Most know that May is the prime month to sell the old homestead, but a recent article in The Wall Street Journal outlined just how important timing is. For instance, if you sell your Chicago homestead in the first half of May, you can expect to sell 22.5 days faster than the national average and for 1.2% more. Most locales do better in the first half, but Boston, San Francisco (home of the million-dollar shack), and LA do better in the second half of May.

We have been buried in the onslaught of more than 1 million apps, 119 per iPhone, according to Tim Cook, CEO of Apple. But the interesting news, and not entirely surprising, is that the average app loses 77% of its users within three days of its download. Thirty percent of the time, it is never opened more than twice. Still, Americans average 3.5 hours per day using those few, beloved apps, 80% of the time on our five favorites. Amazingly, this is twice as much time as parents average taking care of their kids under 6!

CEOS who have an outside the company chairman of the board receive an average of $11 million per year in compensation. CEOs who are their own chairmen average $2.9 million more, or $13.9 million per year. I hope that Institutional Shareholder Services, who did the survey, didn’t spend too much time or money on this non-shocker.

Even with the Affordable Care Act, there are still 32 million Americans without health insurance (although that’s down from 20% to 11%). And many who do have insurance have such high deductibles that they are still at financial risk in the face of large, unregulated health bills. We spend 16% of GNP on healthcare, while Western Europe spends about 11%. They also have 99% of their citizens covered -- and their outcomes are statistically similar to ours. Let’s see, wider coverage, and lower cost, with the same health results. What are we missing?