Fast Facts

Gary Pattillo

World languages

There are approximately 6,900 living languages in the world. Asia—with 2,322 languages—accounts for 33.6 percent of all languages with at least one speaker for whom it is their first language. Europe accounts for 3.4 percent while the Americas account for 14.4 percent of living languages.

M. Paul Lewis, “Ethnologue Statistical Summaries,” SIL International Publications, 2009, (retrieved January 5, 2012).


Using Google’s Ngram Viewer, Jean-Baptiste Michel, Erez Lieberman Aiden, and others have studied a corpus of digitized texts containing about 4 percent of all books ever printed. Analysis of this corpus of millions of books enables them to investigate cultural trends quantitatively. Using the Ngram Viewer—now available freely to the public—they tracked trends in the evolution of grammar, collective memory, the adoption of technology, censorship, historical epidemiology, and other topics in the social sciences and the humanities.

Jean-Baptiste Michel, Yuan Kui Shen, Aviva Presser Aiden, et al, “Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books,” Science 331 no. 6014, pp. 176–182 (January 14, 2011), (retrieved January 11, 2012).

Jean-Baptiste, Michel and Erez Lieberman Aiden, “What we learned from 5 million books,” TEDxBoston 2011, September 2011, (retrieved January 9, 2012).

Google Correlate

Google Correlate is a tool from Google Trends that enables you to find Web queries with a similar pattern to a target data series. The target can either be a real-world trend that you provide (e.g., a data set of event counts over time) or a query that you enter. Graphs are based on aggregated data from millions of Google searches over time. You can even search by drawing a graph curve to find query terms whose popularity over time matches the shape you drew. Remember: correlation does not imply causation.

Google Correlate, (retrieved January 11, 2012).

Graduate enrollment

Post baccalaureate enrollment in the United States has increased every year since 1983, reaching 2.9 million students in 2009. In each year since 1988, women have made up more than half of post baccalaureate enrollment. In 2009, post baccalaureate enrollment was 59 percent female. Total fall enrollment in post baccalaureate programs is projected to increase through 2020 to 3.4 million students.

“Graduate and First-Professional Enrollment” (Indicator 9-2011), The Condition of Education 2011, NCES 2011033, May 2011, (retrieved January 11, 2012).

Faculty salary

After increasing by 14 percent during the 1980s and by 5 percent during the 1990s, average salaries for full-time faculty in the United States were 4 percent higher in 2009–10 than they were in 1999–2000, after adjusting for inflation. Combining salary with benefits, faculty received an average total compensation package in 2009–10 that was about 8 percent higher than the package they received in 1999–2000.

“Faculty Salary, Benefits, and Total Compensation” (Indicator 44-2011), The Condition of Education 2011, NCES 2011033. May 2011, (retrieved January 11, 2012).

Copyright 2012© American Library Association

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