Fast Facts

Gary Pattillo

High school graduation rates

The four-year graduation rate for high schools in the United States rose to a historical high of 80 percent in the 2011–12 school year, up from 79 percent in the 2010–11 school year. The average freshman graduation rate for female students exceeded the graduation rate for male students by 7 percentage points (85 percent for females vs. 78 percent for males).

Marie C. Stetser and Robert Stillwell, “Public High School Four-Year On-Time Graduation Rates and Event Dropout Rates: School Years 2010–11 and 2011–12, First Look,” (NCES 2014-391), U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, (retrieved May 1, 2014).

Sharing vs. reading

There is no relationship between online social sharing of content and active engagement with that content. Page views do not translate to attention. Chartbeat, a web analytics provider, found that 55 percent of users who click on a page spent fewer than 15 seconds actively on the page. “Bottom line, measuring social sharing is great for understanding social sharing, but if you’re using that to understand which content is capturing more of someone’s attention, you’re going beyond the data.”

Tony Haile, “What You Think You Know About the Web Is Wrong,”, March 9, 2014, (retrieved May 1, 2014).

World Bank policy reports

About 13 percent of World Bank policy reports were downloaded at least 250 times, while more than 31 percent of policy reports are never downloaded. Almost 87 percent of policy reports were never cited.

Doerte Doemeland and James Trevino, “Which World Bank reports are widely read?” Policy Research working paper; no. WPS 6851, Washington, DC: World Bank Group, (retrieved May 9, 2014).

Think tanks

According to the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania, there are 6,826 think tanks worldwide. About 29 percent of those institutions are based in North America, while about 27 percent are based in Europe and Russia. Oceania accounted for less than 1 percent of all think tanks. The United States accounted for 1,828 think tanks, with China coming in second at 426.

James G. McGann, “2013 Global go to think tank index report,” Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, International Relations Program, University of Pennsylvania, January 22, 2014, (retrieved May 9, 2014).

TV down, mobile up

Consumers are reducing their TV consumption and increasing their mobile media consumption. About 5 million people ended their cable and broadband subscriptions between the beginning of 2010 and the end of 2013. Big telecom companies such as AT&T and Verizon are seeing increases in customers, while cable TV-only providers are experiencing decreases. The number of households owning a TV is also decreasing. Meanwhile, tablet and smart phone video streaming is booming.

Jim Edwards, “TV Is Dying, And Here Are The Stats That Prove It,” Business Insider, November 24, 2013, (retrieved May 9, 2014).

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