The Real State of the Union

President Obama had a tough test this year trying to deliver a positive State of the Union speech. Regardless of who holds the Presidency, the State of the Union speech is always highly political, overly optimistic, silent on the real controversies of the day and is meant to advance two or three key initiatives of the President's overall agenda. The latest speech had all those hallmarks; but, it had to read well enough so that the President could avoid all the negative news in the country while also acknowledging that life for the average American is not as peachy as it was a few years ago.

Since the President's State of the Union speech is mostly rehashed, uninspired political blather; how does one truly assess the state of our nation?

I'd like to offer the following statistics that I believe should accompany every State of the Union speech. Numbers can't tell the whole story, but they do reveal your current score. Their comparison to past performance and international standards reveal trends that let us know what direction we are heading.

It's a lot like tracking your own weight. If you are a 6 foot tall man and weigh 250 pounds, you need to lose weight to get healthier. However, if you lost 25 pounds in the last 12 months, you are trending in a very positive direction. Conversely, if you gained 25 pounds in the last 12 months, your trend line is going the wrong way.

So it is with national data. We must examine the trends and make sure our goals are clear. However, it all starts with our current data:

  • United States Population: 312,918,845 (approximate)
  • Population Growth Rate: 0.963%
  • Population Below Poverty Line: 46.2 million people (15.1% of the population)
  • Jail Inmates: 767,434 (2009)
  • Prison Inmates: 1,613,740 (2009)
  • Adults under Correctional Supervision: 7,225,800 (2009)
  • U.S. Life Expectancy: 78.3 (50th in the world)
  • Average Age of U.S. Citizens: 37 years old
  • United States Gross Domestic Product: $15.294.3 Trillion (Nominal)
  • United States Real Gross Domestic Product: $13.422 Trillion
  • Real GDP Growth Rate: 1.7% in 2011
  • Per capita GDP: $48,876
  • Inflation Rate: 3% annual rate in Dec. 2011
  • 2011 National Revenue: $2.4 trillion
  • 2011 National Expenditures: $3.7 trillion
  • 2011 Deficit: $1.3 trillion
  • 2011 Total Debt: $15.222,940,000,000
  • 2011 Total Debt Held by Public: $10,447,663,000,000
  • 2011 Deficit to GDP: 8.7%
  • Total Debt to GDP: 99.5%
  • Public Debt to GDP: 68.3%
  • Health Expenses to GDP: 16.2% (2nd highest in the world)
  • Total U.S. Exports: $1.8 trillion (2010)
  • Total U.S. Imports: $2.3 trillion (2010)
  • Top 5 Trade Partners: China, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Germany
  • Immigration: 38.5 million foreign born people currently reside in the United States (13% of the total population) [43.7% are naturalized U.S. Citizens, 28% are legal permanent residents or visa holders, 28% are illegally in the country]
  • Emigration: Approximately 6 million American citizens lived abroad as of 2009 (48,000 persons per year leave for a variety of reasons)
  • Illegal Immigrants in the U.S.: 11.2 million in 2010 according to Pew Hispanic Center.
  • Deportations: 396,906 in FY2011
  • Labor Force: 153,887,000 (appx)
  • National Unemployment Rate: 8.5% (13M people)
  • Youth Unemployment (age 15-24): 17.6% (66th in the world)
  • Underemployment: 23.2 Million people
  • Bankruptcies: 1,467,221 from Sept 30, 2010 to Sept 30, 2011
  • U.S. Properties in Foreclosure: 1,887,777
  • Foreclosure filings including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repos: 2,698,967
  • U.S. Birth Rate: 13.8/1,000
  • U.S. Death Rate: 8.4/1,000
  • Total Fertility Rate: 2 children born/woman (122nd in the world)
  • Active Military Engagements: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq
  • Literacy Rate: 99%

Filed under: National Goverment

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