Popular New Year’s resolutions

Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

New Year’s is one of the most celebrated days in the world. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, full of gifts and long-awaited surprises for those kids who didn’t misbehave.

According to a survey among young adults (published at Statista.com) in 2015, about 72 percent of respondents said that they typically spent New Year’s Eve at home. Slightly above 20 percent stated they were guests at someone else’s home on New Year’s Eve, and about 10 percent celebrated in a restaurant, bar or club.

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As gas prices fall, light truck sales top cars in every state

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

Vehicle sales in the U.S. bottomed out in 2009. The financial crisis hit light truck sales especially hard — the numbers here fell by more than 40 percent. In comparison, car sales saw a more modest 30 percent decrease. High gasoline prices in 2008 also certainly didn’t help in keeping sales afloat.

After a few years of steady recovery, the vehicle sales dynamic has been somewhat mixed in the recent years: You can observe this phenomenon in the chart below.

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Time use across the nation

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science

In this post, we will combine data from the American Time Use survey and Current Population Survey to see how time use patterns change with geographic location. We used 11 years of ATUS data (2003-2014) and the corresponding CPS data about the respondent’s state of residence. The American Time Use survey classifies daily activities into 431 detailed categories. For this post, we selected only those having a participation rate of at least 30 percent in each state. The top activities included sleeping, washing and dressing, food preparation, work, eating and watching television.

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Do you believe in Santa Claus?

Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

Some people believe in Santa Claus, and some people don’t. According to a survey conducted in the U.S. in November 2016, 49 percent of people said they firmly believe in Santa Claus. During the survey, 50 percent of respondents said Santa Claus is not real, while 9 percent of people were unsure about his existence.

If we break it down by age group, 28 percent of respondents aged 18 to 29 said they firmly believe in Santa; about 64 percent of respondents in the same age group said that Santa Claus is not real. Thirty-five percent of people between 30 and 44 years old firmly believed in Santa Claus in 2016, while 55 percent of people in this group said they didn’t believe. Around 11 percent of similarly-aged people were not sure about the question.

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The most popular luxury cars in the country

Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

In this post, we’ll explore the data on luxury car sales, finding which markets are the largest in the world and the most popular manufacturers. The forecast suggests that manufacturers will sell approximately 2.42 million luxury automobiles in 2020. This number is the second largest in the world, second only to China, which is expected to sell 3.1 million premium vehicles. Germany comes in third with an expected sales volume of 1.11 million premium automobiles.

According to information published by GoodCarBadCar.net, the most popular luxury car in the United States in 2016 is made in Germany — Mercedes-Benz topped the list with a 16.4 percent market share. As you can see on the graph below, Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus came in a close second with a 16 percent market share. BMW, one of the leading luxury car brands worldwide, held more than 15 percent of the U.S. luxury automobile market share. Guess who came in fourth place? It’s German again! Audi’s market share amounted to 10.1 percent of the American luxury car market, while GM’s Cadillac brand took 8.2 percent of the market in 2016.

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Christmas is America’s favorite holiday season

Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

Christmas is a civil holiday and an important part of the holiday season. During the Christmas shopping season, sales increase in almost all retail sectors. According to Statista.com, the most popular gift in the United States across all income levels is gift cards: 52 percent.

The statistics show that American consumers expected to spend an average of about $830 on Christmas gifts in 2015. In comparison, the average sum in 2014 was $720. In 2013, U.S. consumers spent approximately $704, compared to $770 in 2012. The highest average spending occurred in 2007; in this year, Americans spent an average of $866 dollars on Christmas gifts.

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What to celebrate and where to travel during the winter holidays

Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

The winter holidays in America are possibly the most beautiful time of the year, filled with Christmas trees, fairy lights and festivals. The end of the year brings not only Christmas and New Year’s but other holidays as well. The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah and the African week-long celebration of Kwanzaa are also among the widely-celebrated holidays in America due to the large number of Jewish and African Americans.

According to a poll on which holidays American respondents planned to celebrate in 2015, almost 95 percent planned to celebrate Christmas. About 6.5 percent planned to celebrate Hanukkah, and 1.9 percent planned to celebrate Kwanzaa. In comparison, the total number of people who planned to celebrate Christmas in 2014 was 94.3 percent, compared to 6.3 percent who planned to celebrate Hanukkah. The percentage of people who planned to celebrate Kwanzaa in 2014 was nearly the same as in 2015: 2 percent.

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Coal production and consumption in the U.S.

Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

Since the onset of industrialization in the 19th century, coal has been an extremely important source of energy. Even now, coal is still one of the leading energy sources. Global coal production amounted to approximately 3.9 billion metric tons of oil equivalent (the production data includes solid fuels, bituminous coal, hard coal, lignite and brown coal).

The United States is ranked second worldwide in coal production and coal consumption. According to Statista.com, the production of coal approximated to over 500 million metric tons in 2013 and 509 million metric tons (in oil equivalent) in 2014. The country’s consumption of coal is lower than its production but is still quite high. Thus, the U.S. consumed coal 453.4 million metric tons of oil equivalent in coal in 2014. In 2013, the number amounted to almost the same figure: 454.6 million metric tons.

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Do Americans spend more time on sports and exercise?

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science

In this post, we will explore the American Time Use Survey data to see how much time Americans spend on fitness activities. For some, sports may be considered a type of simple leisure or entertainment, but for many people, they are a serious commitment.

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