If statistics is your thing - whether for scholarly work, trivial pursuit, or just to impress a date - you may want to look into the latest edition of the U.S. government's best-selling reference book: the Census Bureau's Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2011.

The 130th edition of the Abstract contains 1,407 tables of social, political and economic facts that collectively describe the state of our nation and the world. Included this year are 65 new tables, covering topics such as insufficient rest or sleep, nursing home occupancy, homeschooling, earthquakes, U.S. Border Patrol apprehensions, organic farmland, honey bee colonies, crashes involving distracted drivers and cities with the highest transit savings.

The statistics come not only from the Census Bureau but also from other governmental agencies and private organizations. The data generally represent the most recent year or period available by summer 2010.

You will learn, for example, that only 11 percent of people commuting to work in the U.S. in 2008 carpooled, while 76 percent drove alone, and that, in 2010, Nigeria and Uganda were the world's youngest nations, with nearly 50 percent of their populations under 15, while Japan was the world's oldest nation, with 22.6 percent over 65.

Every edition of the Statistical Abstract dating back to 1878 is available in PDF or zip files on the Census Bureau's website.  

Printed copies of the 2011 Statistical Abstract may be obtained by calling the U.S. Government Printing Office at 202-512-1800, at $39 for the soft cover edition, and $43 for the hard cover.

A CD-ROM version of the Abstract will be available at a later date.