Cumberland Times-News

December 14, 2013

How do we compare with rest of the U.S.?

Bob Doyle, Columnist
Cumberland Times-News

— I recently purchased “The World Almanac 2014,” reviewing events of this year, energy, government, science and technology, past and present celebrities, U.S. and world history, nations of the world and sports.

This almanac has over a thousand pages, so I decided to focus on Maryland and our neighbor states of West Virginia and Pennsylvania. I started from the beginning of the World Almanac and went to the end, looking for numbers that relate to the people of individual states.

In 2012, 18 per cent of Americans were at or under the poverty level. West Virginia was at 16.7 per cent, Pennsylvania had 13.9 per cent and Maryland was at 9.9 per cent. The highest poverty rate was Arkansas at 20.1 per cent while the lowest poverty rate was New Hampshire at 8.1 per cent.

What state taxes are added to the federal gasoline taxes of 18.4 cents a gallon? The average state tax per gallon is 31 cents. Maryland’s state tax per gallon is 30.5 cents. West Virginia’s gasoline tax is 34.7 cents per gallon. Pennsylvania’s state gasoline tax is 32.3 cents per gallon.

The nation’s highest state gas tax is California’s at 53.5 centers per gallon. Alaska has the lowest state tax on gasoline at 8 cents per gallon.

Motor vehicle statistics state that an average U.S. licensed driver covers 11,635 miles at 17.1 miles per gallon.

West Virginians drive an average of 13,004 miles per registered vehicle per year per driver at 17.3 miles per gallon. Pennsylvanians drive 9,685 miles at 15.38 miles per gallon. Maryland drivers drive 14,395 miles per registered vehicle at 17.62 miles per gallon.

Mississippians are the U.S. top drivers at 19,077 miles with 18.07 miles per gallon. Alaskans drive the least with only 6,060 miles and get only 9.03 miles per gallon. (This doesn’t include dog sleds).

The energy consumption per capita per day for the United States is 313 million BTU. (BTU = heat energy to raise 1 pound of water by 1 degree F; the average American diet of 3,300 kilocalories/day is equivalent to 13,095 BTU.)

Wyoming has the highest energy consumption of all states, being 975 million BTU per person per day. West Virginians each day consume 390 million BTU, Pennsylvanians use 292 million BTU per person per day and Marylanders consume 244 million BTU per day per person. Rhode Islanders consume the least energy, only 175 million BTU per day.

For violent crimes per 100,000 residents per year, the U.S. average is 386.3 with robbery and aggravated assault constituting a big majority of violent crimes.

Pennsylvanians have an average crime rate of 355. West Virginian’s have an average crime rate of 315.9. Maryland has an average crime rate at 494.1. The District of Columbia leads the U.S, with 1,202.1 with Alaska in second place at 606.5 and Delaware at 559.5 in third place. Maine has the smallest violent crime rate of 123.2 per 100,000 residents per year.

In regard to population not covered by Health Care, Texas leads all states with 24.6 per cent of its population not covered. Maryland has 12.5 per cent of its population not covered. Pennsylvanians not covered are 12 per cent; 14.6 per cent of West Virginia’s population is not covered.

The state with highest coverage of health care is Massachusetts with 96 per cent with health care. (When Mitt Romney was governor, Massachusetts passed a comprehensive health care program.)

Regarding population, Pennsylvania with its 12.76 million residents is sixth among the states. Maryland‘s population of 5.88 million puts it in 19th place. West Virginia’s 1.855 million residents are in 38th place.

Maryland has a population density of 606 people per square mile of land. Pennsylvania has a density of 285 people per square mile. West Virginia’s population density is 77 people per square mile. The U.S. population density is 89.7 people per square mile.

Population density ranges from 1,205 people per square mile (New Jersey) to 1.3 people per square mile (Alaska).

SKY SIGHTS AHEAD: The moon will be fullest tomorrow evening, Dec. 16, then appearing to the north of the star group Orion. Dec. 21 is the start of winter, when the Earth’s northern hemisphere is tilted farthest from the sun. We will then have our shortest day of nine hours and 20 minutes.

Bob Doyle invites any readers comments and questions. E-mail him at rdoyle@frostburg.edu . He is available as a speaker on his column topics.