American debt has increased by 200x since 1943

If you’re an adult in America, there’s a good chance that you have debt; the amount of debt you have since you established your first line of credit has probably doubled or tripled. This is a problem that we can all relate to, and I’ll be diving into American debt a little more in this post.

Overall Debt

The average debt that an American holds has increased by 200x since 1943, from ~50 dollars to ~10,300 dollars. However the population includes all individuals, even those who probably don’t hold debt (children and possibly elderly). The chart below accounts for debt holders by visually showing debt per American, debt per adult*, and debt per working adult**. Average working Americans have about $17,500 in debt.

However, these numbers don’t account for inflation either. The next chart below accounts for inflation over the years. The slope of this chart isn’t as steep (thank goodness). And this chart shows that the debt in 2015 is only 16x more than what it was in 1943 (a little better).



Mortgage Debt

Mortgage debt is represented in the chart below. You can see how the downturn in 2008 affected the amount of outstanding debt.


Student Loans

Student loan debt has been on the rise since the economic downturn in 2008. The average American is holding about $4,200 in student loan debt. This doesn’t account for those who do not hold this debt. Only about 15% of Americans (~50M) hold student debt, and they are also represented in the chart below.



Comparing Debt Growth

So, based on the charts above, we can see that debt has been on the rise. The chart below shows the cumulative year-over-year growth of debt since 2006 (student loans data only goes back this far). You can see that student loan debt is starting to slow down a bit, auto loans are on the rise, and mortgages are pretty flat.



Data sources:
Federal Reserve provides data on all outstanding debt

Population data can be found on this site

*debt per adult = ages 18+

**debt per working adult = ages 18-62

Just three U.S. states account for over 30% of all commercial drone registrations

 Which states have the highest # of commercial drone registrations?

According to data gathered from Vox Media’s github repository, California, Florida, and Texas together account for >30% of commercial drone registrations, with ~300 registrations a piece (and growing every day!). Each of these states have drones registered for aerial photography, land surveying, and inspections across a variety of categories (Agriculture, Utilities/Energy/Infrastructure, Construction) . Additionally, Texas has a good chunk of registrations slated for the Utilities/Energy/Infrastructure category, presumably to inspect oil rigs and drilling sites. Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 6.18.40 PM


It’s definitely worth noting that while these states are off to a quick start in terms of drone registration, they also house the largest populations in the United States, less New York (which came in at a little over 70 registrations):




These 10 categories account for >95% of drone registrations:


Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 6.16.48 PM


How the current drone trend is (sort of) analogous to the beginning of the internet?

(1) Relatively low barrier to entry:

According to Business Insider, over 90% of companies with drone permits make less than $1 million in annual revenues, and just 11% have over 10 employees; this indicates a relatively low barrier to entry.

(2) An entirely new space opened to mass amounts of people:

When the internet was first launched, companies, engineers, and hobbyists were given an entirely new digital space to innovate in, with extremely low overhead, profoundly changing the economy. Again, a new space: airspace is being opened up to the masses, and a new physical platform (rather than digital) is now up for grabs, and again, there are a great deal of small players jumping at the chance to get in  as the barrier to entry is relatively low(not to mention all of the non-commercial drone registrations).

(3) Incubation period:

As with the internet, there will be (and has already been) a period of fighting through regulation and continuing to iterate on ideas to bring profitable business models to the table.


It will be interesting to see how the use of drones/airspace evolves over time; aside from top registered applications of aerial photography, logistics, land surveying, and inspections across a variety of categories, there will be a number of additional uses for drones that aren’t yet showing up in the data in high frequencies (take drone fishing, for example).

What do stairs, floors, and beds have in common?

They have the highest probability of causing injury relative to all U.S. consumer products [unless you are under 18, see below 🙂 ].


How do Americans injure themselves?

This post aims to answer that question (at least in terms of consumer products) using data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. I split this data a few ways, eventually showing how likely one is to injure him or herself by a given item based on his or her age.

(Note that many of the top objects are simply those that we interact with most on a daily basis, meaning that it’s difficult to compare across objects since the occurrence differs from person to person; ideally, one would normalize for this, but I did not have data)

Stairs and floors cause the most consumer product injuries in the United States:


Injury distribution by age:

injury_age_distribution (1)

The above box plot shows the age distribution of the 10 most common causes of injury.

Essentially, this shows that Basketball and Football have a tight average age range for injury (medians of ~17 and 16, respectively), where more innocuous objects like floors, chairs, and beds skew towards the older population. Also interesting to see that a few 80+ year olds were injured by basketball and football related products. (For those unfamiliar with interpreting box plots, this website provides a great, succinct explanation.)

Elderly folks (>65 years old) are injured by common, unassuming things:


41-65 year-olds are also injured by unassuming things, along with knives, bicycles, and exercise:

top10_productinjuries_41to65 top10_productinjuries_19to40 (1)

Kids (18 and under) are more commonly injured by sports/activities rather than household objects:

top10_productinjuries_18under (1)

Kids from 2-4 years old have the highest chance of being injured by a consumer product:


The above chart shows the % chance of a consumer product injury at any given age. Overall, chance of injury decreases with age.

However, there are a couple of spikes going against this trend:

  • increased injury rate at ~16 years old – people become more heavily involved in sports, and are possibly adjusting to new growth spurts
  • increased injury rate at ~50 years old – people fully approach middle age and begin more commonly injuring themselves with stairs/floors

(source for U.S. population used to normalize injury risk)

2 to 4 year olds have a hard time with household objects, jewelry, and coins (take notes new and future parents!):


Of the largest 500 public companies, the Tobacco industry generates the highest net income per employee

What is NIPE?

Net income per employee (NIPE) is a measure of productivity and efficiency, determined by dividing net income by total employees.

NIPE = total net income/total # of employees

I like this metric as it puts an emphasis on the return on talent, arguably a company’s most valuable asset. Additionally, in an increasingly digital economy, return on invested capital (ROIC) becomes a bit less of a complete metric, as more and more intangible assets are created by employees, offering a rich source of future value.

The last benefit of weighing NIPE is that it requires no accounting adjustment, making the metric less ambiguous (re: depreciation/amortization on capital investments) and easier to benchmark against competitors operating in the same industry.

Now that I’ve sold you on the wonder and importance of NIPE, let me share some numbers. 🙂

What industries have the highest/lowest NIPE?

The below chart shows the average NIPE for the top 7 and bottom 7 industries of the 500 largest public companies. As you can see, Tobacco, REITS, and Biotechnology top the list, with the 3 Tobacco companies included bringing in an average of $609k per employee.

Conversely, Oil, Gas, & Consumable fuels have had a rough year as the price of oil continues to tank, losing an average of $421k per employee!

NIPE_industry (1)


What companies have the highest/lowest NIPE?

Next I split out the top 10 and bottom 10 companies in terms of NIPE. Here we see the ~240 employee REIT Host Hotels & Resorts Inc tops the list, and Reynolds American represents the Tobacco industry coming in at #7.

NIPE_industry_top10 (1)

Next, I pulled the bottom 10 companies by NIPE. Energy companies, not surprisingly, top the list, with all listed operating in Energy sector less HCP Inc, who operates as a REIT investing primarily in healthcare facilities.

(looking into HCP this I see they made over $1.4bb in investments last year, driving net income negative, normally operate at ~$1bb/year profit margin).


NIPE_industry_bottom10 (1)

How does NIPE vary by sector ? (aka an excuse to use a box and whisker plot)

Lastly, I split out the distribution of NIPE by sector. Below we can see the crazy variance in the Energy sector, along with high variance in both Financials and Information Technology (Yahoo, Twitter, LinkedIn were some of the negative N/Is).


NIPE_distribution_sector (2)

Sector is however, becoming a less useful grouping, as Technology continues to bleed into all areas.

The data

I used Fidelity’s stock screener to grab the data (you have to have an account to pull most metrics). The financial data, per Fidelity’s setup, spans a rolling 4 quarters, with 2016 Q1 reports included.

Used iPython to analyze, notebook here.

How do you spend your time?

Time is one of our most valued resources. Below is an analysis on how Americans spend their time. The data was collected from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) American Time Use Survey.

I wanted to see what Americans typically spend most of their time doing. The plot below shows the top 20 activities recognized by BLS and the amount of time (in hours) an average American spends doing these activities daily. Top 3 activities (sleeping, leisure, and working) consume over 70% of our average day, at least we’re spending some of that time relaxing 🙂





Of course the “average” American isn’t a fair representation of our population. Below the breakout of how much time each day we spend on activities (a little higher level) with respect to age.
It’s quite interesting to see how our time shifts from personal care and leisure to work as we get to our peak working years, which this visualization identifies as ages 25-54. This is pretty intuitive, as anyone who works experiences this first hand, but it’s cool to see the data capture this. Another thing I found interesting, was after the age of 24, time Americans’ spend on education drops off very fast.




The next segment I took a look at was the hours worked on by industry and how this changed over time. The plot below shows the number of hours worked on weekdays by each industry identified by the BLS (except for Farming, forestry, and fishing — this data was incomplete for the entire time series). It’s very interesting to see that people who work in the maintenance & repair, production, transportation, and construction industries put in more hours than the other industries and also have the highest increase in total hours worked over time.




The last segment I looked at was hours worked by earnings. The chart below depicts the hours worked by how much Americans earn (in dollars). The Americans who earned greater than $54,000 (noted by the red line and represent top 25% or the 75th percentile), worked less in 2014 than Americans who earned between $29,000 and $54,000 (noted by the green line and represent the 25th and 75th percentile respectively). Even though this might be intuitive, it’s neat that it’s reflected in the data.




Source data link:

Percentile data:

The golden age of cereal

The below chart shows the total number of cereals launched per year:



As shown, we are entering a golden age of cereal variety! The majority of cereals have been launched in the past ~10 years (over 1/3 of all cereals):

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 2.29.05 PM

Breaking these products down by brand shows us that the variety may not be as strong as initially presented, with just 5 manufacturers accounting for >95% of the cereal market. Clearly, there is a lot of re-naming/packaging/branding for “new” product launches occurring amongst this handful of companies:

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 2.41.59 PM

Turning now to how these cereals perform on the market, we can see that nearly half of all cereals last less than 5 years before being discontinued:

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 2.29.21 PM


Curious to see if this sunset/cereal discontinuation rate varied amongst the major manufacturers, I found that it is quite similar, with 25-33% of all cereals launched being discontinued by each of the top 4 manufacturers.

It’s worth recognizing that General Mills is a bit more committed to their launches, pulling the plug on its cereal varieties ~6% less than the group mean:

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 2.29.30 PM


The next logical question to ask when coming across all if this information is ‘why are manufacturers producing a continuously increase amount of cereal variety’?

Most speculate that this is due to manufacturers trying to combat the general stagnation in the breakfast cereal market. I propose there are two major strategies for combatting flat/declining sales:

(1) Bring the millennials back by re-launching their old favorites:

NY times posted a popular article earlier this year discussing the declining interest, particularly amongst millennials, in breakfast cereal; the article explained that in recent surveys, over 40% of millennials opted out of breakfast cereal because of the hassle (time + mess to clean up after). Manufacturers, as a result, have been trying to lure millennials back in with nostalgic favorites, such as French Toast Crunch.

(2) Join the health/psuedo-health wave by offering healthier varieties:

As writes, yogurt sales have skyrocketed in the past ~10 years whereas breakfast cereal sales have remained flat. Many speculate this is due to yogurt being a natural convenient and healthy breakfast choice. Since cereal again cannot really change its convenience level (unless you’re on team dry cereal), it seems they may be taking the health angle, rebranding and renaming many existing cereals with buzzwords such as gluten-free, organic, all-natural, etc.


(3) Companies are explicitly designing short-tenured cereals for promotional reasons

If you check some of the more recent short-tenured cereals in the list below, you’ll see a lot of them are intentionally designed to be on the market for a limited time; they are either being promoted as ‘limited edition’ items, or are associated with some TV show/movie. I’d guess these types of cereals generate a nice jump in sales and lure consumers to buy outside of regular habits.

For those interested in knowing just how old their favorite cereals are, or what cereals had the shortest time on market (shoutout to Millenios) I’ve created a repository of cereals and their associated tenure (age since inception):

Name Brand Launch year End year Tenure (years)
Grape-Nuts Post 1897 Currently Available 119
Corn Flakes Kellogg’s 1907 Currently Available 109
All-Bran Kellogg’s 1916 Currently Available 100
Rice Krispies Kellogg’s 1929 Currently Available 87
CoCo Wheats Little Crow Foods 1930 Currently Available 86
Wheat Chex General Mills 1937 Currently Available 79
Kix General Mills 1937 Currently Available 79
Cheerios General Mills 1941 Currently Available 75
Raisin Bran Kellogg’s 1944 Currently Available 72
Golden Crisp Post 1949 Currently Available 67
Sugar Crisp Post 1949 Currently Available 67
Rice Chex General Mills 1950 Currently Available 66
Corn Pops Kellogg’s 1951 Currently Available 65
Frosted Flakes Kellogg’s 1952 Currently Available 64
Honey Smacks Kellogg’s 1953 Currently Available 63
Sugar Smacks Kellogg’s 1953 Currently Available 63
Special K Kellogg’s 1955 Currently Available 61
Krumbles-Kellogg’s Kellogg’s 1913 1973 60
Cocoa Krispies Kellogg’s 1958 Currently Available 58
Cocoa Puffs General Mills 1958 Currently Available 58
Alpha-Bits Post 1958 Currently Available 58
Corn Chex General Mills 1958 Currently Available 58
Life Quaker 1960 Currently Available 56
Total General Mills 1961 Currently Available 55
Cap’n Crunch Quaker 1963 Currently Available 53
Lucky Charms General Mills 1964 Currently Available 52
Froot Loops Kellogg’s 1964 Currently Available 52
Apple Jacks Kellogg’s 1965 Currently Available 51
Honeycomb Post 1965 Currently Available 51
Cap’n Crunch Crunch Berries Quaker 1967 Currently Available 49
Product 19 Kellogg’s 1967 Currently Available 49
Peanut Butter Crunch Quaker 1969 Currently Available 47
Pebbles Cereal Post 1969 Currently Available 47
Fruity Pebbles Post 1969 Currently Available 47
Fruity Pebbles Post 1969 Currently Available 47
Kaboom! General Mills 1969 Currently Available 47
Golden Grahams General Mills 1970 Currently Available 46
Cocoa Pebbles N/A 1970 Currently Available 46
Cocoa Pebbles Post 1970 Currently Available 46
King Vitaman Quaker 1970 Currently Available 46
Monster Cereals General Mills 1971 Currently Available 45
Count Chocula General Mills 1971 Currently Available 45
Franken Berry General Mills 1971 Currently Available 45
Count Chocula General Mills 1971 Currently Available 45
Franken Berry General Mills 1971 Currently Available 45
Count Chocula General Mills 1971 Currently Available 45
Franken Berry General Mills 1971 Currently Available 45
Boo-Berry Cereal General Mills 1973 Currently Available 43
Boo Berry General Mills 1973 Currently Available 43
Boo Berry General Mills 1973 Currently Available 43
Cookie Crisp General Mills 1977 Currently Available 39
Cinnamon Life Quaker 1978 Currently Available 38
Mini-Wheats Kellogg’s 1978 Currently Available 38
Honey Nut Cheerios General Mills 1979 Currently Available 37
Cinnamon Nut Cheerios General Mills 1980 Currently Available 36
Mueslix Kellogg’s 1980 Currently Available 36
Honey Nut Corn Flakes Kellogg’s 1981 Currently Available 35
Crispix Kellogg’s 1983 Currently Available 33
Cinnamon Toast Crunch General Mills 1984 Currently Available 32
Apple Cinnamon Cheerios General Mills 1988 Currently Available 28
Christmas Crunch Quaker 1988 Currently Available 28
Honey Bunches of Oats Post 1989 Currently Available 27
Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds Post 1990 Currently Available 26
Multi-Bran Chex General Mills 1990 Currently Available 26
MultiGrain Cheerios General Mills 1991 Currently Available 25
Yummy Mummy General Mills 1988 2013 25
Berry Berry Kix General Mills 1992 Currently Available 24
Rice Krispies Treats Cereal Kellogg’s 1993 Currently Available 23
Rice Krispies Treats Cereal Kellogg’s 1993 Currently Available 23
Reese’s Puffs General Mills 1994 Currently Available 22
French Toast Crunch General Mills 1995 Currently Available 21
Frosted Cheerios General Mills 1995 Currently Available 21
Concentrate Kellogg’s 1959 1980 21
Krispy Kritters 1960s General Mills 1960 1980 20
Honey Rice Krispies Kellogg’s 1996 Currently Available 20
Jets General Mills 1950 1970 20
Cranberry Almond Crunch Post 1997 Currently Available 19
Oops! All Berries Quaker 1997 Currently Available 19
Rice Krinkles Post 1951 1970 19
Chex Ralston 1997 Currently Available 19
Oat Crisp Quaker 1998 Currently Available 18
Raisin Bran Crunch Kellogg’s 1999 Currently Available 17
Crispy Critters Post 1963 1980 17
Honey Nut Chex General Mills 1999 Currently Available 17
Nestlé NesQuik General Mills/Nestlé 1999 Currently Available 17
Special K Red Berries N/A 2001 Currently Available 15
Freakies Ralston 1972 1987 15
Honey Bunches of Oats with Strawberries Post 2002 Currently Available 14
Strawberry Rice Krispies Kellogg’s 1983 1997 14
Berry Burst Cheerios General Mills 2003 Currently Available 13
Berry Burst Cheerios General Mills 2003 Currently Available 13
Smorz Kellogg’s 2003 Currently Available 13
Peanut Butter Toast Crunch General Mills 2004 Currently Available 12
Less Sugar Frosted Flakes Kellogg’s 2004 Currently Available 12
Yogurt Burst Cheerios General Mills 2004 Currently Available 12
Cinnamon Cheerios General Mills 2004 Currently Available 12
Marshmallow Rice Krispies Kellogg’s 1982 1993 11
Chocolate Lucky Charms General Mills 2005 Currently Available 11
Tony’s Turboz Kellogg’s 2005 Currently Available 11
S’mores Grahams or S’mores Crunch General Mills 1980 1990 10
Apple Cinnamon Rice Krispies Kellogg’s 1980 1990 10
Fruity Cheerios General Mills 2006 Currently Available 10
Comet Balls Spix/Sulava & Company 2006 Currently Available 10
Oatibix Weetabix Limited 2006 Currently Available 10
Eggo Kellogg’s 2006 Currently Available 10
Honey Bunches of Oats with Vanilla Clusters Post 2007 Currently Available 9
Choco Crunch (Re-introduced Version) Quaker 2007 Currently Available 9
Oat Cluster Cheerios Crunch General Mills 2007 Currently Available 9
Chocolate Chex General Mills 2007 Currently Available 9
Fruit Brute General Mills 1974 1983 9
Oreo O’s N/A 1998 2007 9
Honey Bunches of Oats with Chocolate Clusters Post 2008 Currently Available 8
Honey Bunches of Oats Just Bunches Post 2008 Currently Available 8
Maple & Brown Sugar Life Quaker 2008 Currently Available 8
Banana Nut Cheerios General Mills 2008 Currently Available 8
Frosted Flakes Gold Kellogg’s 2008 Currently Available 8
Puffa Puffa Rice Kellogg’s 1967 1975 8
Honey Bunches of Oats with Peaches Post 2004 2011 7
Marshmallow-Blasted Froot Loops Kellogg’s 1998 2005 7
Cinnamon Chex General Mills 2009 Currently Available 7
Honey Kix General Mills 2009 Currently Available 7
Honey Bunches of Oats with Cinnamon Clusters Post 2006 2012 6
Apple Jacks Apple Clones Kellogg’s 2010 Currently Available 6
Chocolate Cheerios General Mills 2010 Currently Available 6
Sugar Sprinkled Twinkles General Mills 1960 1965 5
Cinnamon Burst Cheerios General Mills 2011 Currently Available 5
Cinnamon Crunch Crispix Kellogg’s 2001 2006 5
Honey Graham Life Quaker 2004 2009 5
Quake Quaker 1965 1970 5
Mini Swirlz Cinnamon Bun Cereal Kellogg’s 2005 2009 4
Krave U.S Version – Kellogg’s Kellogg’s 2012 Currently Available 4
Disney Hunny B’s Honey-Graham Kellogg’s/Disney 2002 2006 4
Double Chocolate Krave Kellogg’s 2012 Currently Available 4
Apple Cinnamon Chex General Mills 2012 Currently Available 4
Honey Graham Chex General Mills 1986 1990 4
Frosted Mini-Chex General Mills 2002 2006 4
Double Dip Crunch Kellogg’s 1989 1993 4
Chocolate Krave Kellogg’s 2012 Currently Available 4
Fruity Marshmallow Krispies Kellogg’s 1987 1990 3
Razzle Dazzle Rice Krispies Kellogg’s 1997 2000 3
Vanilla Yogurt Crunch Life Quaker 2005 2008 3
Frosted Flakes Chocolate Kellogg’s 2010 2013 3
Cookie Crisp Sprinkles General Mills 2009 2012 3
Banana Frosted Flakes Kellogg’s 1981 1984 3
SpongeBob SquarePants Kellogg’s 2004 2007 3
Cocoa Frosted Flakes Kellogg’s 1997 2000 3
Cookie Crisp Brownie General Mills 2013 Currently Available 3
Cinna-Crunch Pebbles Post 1998 2001 3
Ghostbusters Cereal Ralston 1985 1988 3
Smurf Magic Berries Post 1987 1990 3
Berry Lucky Charms General Mills 2006 2009 3
Quake Quangaroos Quaker 1971 1974 3
Mickey’s Magix Kellogg’s/Disney 2002 2005 3
Nerds Cereal Ralston 1983 1986 3
Mud & Bugs Kellogg’s/Disney 2003 2006 3
Rice Krispies With Real Strawberries Kellogg’s 2007 2009 2
Rice Krispies With Real Strawberries Kellogg’s 2007 2009 2
Mini Swirlz Fudge Ripple Cereal Kellogg’s 2005 2007 2
Double Chocolate Cookie Crisp General Mills 2006 2008 2
Double Chocolate Cookie Crisp General Mills 2006 2008 2
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ralston 1989 1991 2
Keebler Cookie Crunch Cereal Kellogg’s 2008 2010 2
Peanut Butter Cookie Crisp General Mills 2005 2007 2
Tony’s Cinnamon Krunchers Kellogg’s 2003 2005 2
Marshmallow Mania Pebbles Post 2005 2007 2
Chocolate Oat Crunch Life Quaker 2006 2008 2
Cocoa Krispies Choconilla Kellogg’s 2007 2009 2
Bamm-Bamm Berry Pebbles Post 2007 2009 2
Oatmeal Cookie Crisp General Mills 1978 1980 2
Vanilla Cookie Crisp General Mills 1978 1980 2
Pink Panther Flakes Post 1972 1974 2
Cracker Jack Cereal Ralston 1983 1985 2
Cran-Vanilla Crunch Kellogg’s 2005 2007 2
Spider-Man Cereal N/A 2002 2004 2
Hidden Treasures General Mills 1993 1995 2
Strawberry Chex General Mills 2008 2010 2
Cupcake Pebbles Post 2009 2011 2
Berry Krispies Kellogg’s 2006 2008 2
Jumbo Krispies Kellogg’s 2009 2011 2
Tiger Power Kellogg’s 2004 2006 2
Mini Swirlz Peanut Butter Blast Cereal Kellogg’s 2006 2007 1
Honey Bunches of Oats with Bananas Post 2004 2005 1
Cap’n Crunch’s Oops! Choco Donuts Quaker 2003 2004 1
Pirates of the Caribbean Cereal Kellogg’s 2006 2007 1
The Fairly OddParents Cereal! Post 2003 2004 1
Pro Grain Cereal Kellogg’s Kellogg’s 1987 1988 1
Mickey Mouse Magic Crunch Post 1988 1989 1
Apple Jacks Criss Crossed Kellogg’s 2008 2009 1
Donkey Kong Jr. Cereal Ralston 1983 1984 1
Nintendo Cereal System Ralston/Nintendo – 1988 1989 1
Cat in the Hat Cereal Kellogg’s 2003 2004 1
Millenios (Cheerios) General Mills 1999 2000 1
Apple Jacks Gliders Kellogg’s 2009 2010 1
Donkey Kong Crunch Ralston 1982 1983 1
IceBerry Pebbles Post 2006 2007 1
Morning Funnies N/A 1988 1989 1
Cröonchy Stars N/A 1988 1989 1
Rocky Road General Mills 1986 1987 1
Dinersaurs Ralston 1988 1989 1
Honey Maid Post 2007 2008 1
Slimer! And The Real Ghosterbusters Cereal Ralston 1990 1990 0
Birthday Confetti Frosted Flakes Kellogg’s 1997 1997 0
Sprinkle Spangles General Mills 1990 1990 0
Sun Crunchers General Mills 1990 1990 0
Choco Crunch Quaker 1980 1980 0
Punch Crunch Quaker 1970 1970 0
Dino Pebbles Post 1990 1990 0
Oatbake Kellogg’s 1990 1990 0
OKs Kellogg’s 1960 1960 0


The data! – source/data collection/processing

I collected this set by using the Chrome developer tool to scrape Wikipedia’s list of breakfast cereals page (code below).  I used iPython to analyze/visualize, complete notebook here. Code to scrap wiki page below:



Are you media? If you would like to reference this on your website, please feel free to do so with appropriate attribution, but I would appreciate it if you would let me know first.

Which companies offer the best maternity leave benefits?

Maternity leave benefits are a relatively new thing in the United States, first being introduced in a few states in the 60s and 70s as women employment #’s spiked. Eventually, national legislation was introduced in 1993, mandating a minimum of 12 weeks unpaid time off for new mothers. This potential benefit comes with a few caveats (of course), most notably that the firm size must be >=50 employees and the potential beneficiary must have worked over 1250 hours in 12 consecutive months (~24 hr work week). About 25 states have expanded upon this national legislation, but this is for all intensive purposes the current state of the government’s policy on maternity leave benefits.

Lately, companies operating in the private sector have taken it upon themselves to go above and beyond the mandated guidelines, and offer some exceptional benefits for working mothers.

The below table shows a ranked list of the top ~100 companies in descending order offering paid maternity leave. The data was scraped using python from the (interestingly named) website, which has been making rounds on the internet for its searchable database of paid/unpaid maternity leave time by company, using user-submitted data.

What industry offers the best maternity leave benefits?

As you can see in the below chart, Philanthropic companies in our above list lead the average paid time off.

It’s worth mentioning that Philanthropy had an n-count of just 3 in our sample set of 100. Conversely, Technology companies and Law Firms dominated the top 100 list in terms of frequency, with n-counts of 43 and 40, respectively; this isn’t particularly surprising as both industries are comprised of companies competing against each other for a limited supply of talent, looking to recruit and retain this subset of the workforce.

Thousands of Billionaires

Below is an analysis of recorded billionaires in 1996, 2001, and 2014. The data contains 2,615 records of billionaires during these periods and has information on the individual’s net worth, country, industry, age, and whether they were self-made or inherited their wealth.

The first thing I wanted to analyze was the number of billionaires over time and split them by how they came into their wealth (e.g. self-made or inherited). It seems like the number of people who inherited their wealth doubled between 2001 and 2014, and the number of people who created their own wealth tripled between 2001 and 2014.

There are various factors that could contribute to the increase in total billionaires. A couple I could think of are (1) overall global market growth and (2) lower barrier to entry for businesses. I think market growth could help explain the growth of people who inherited their wealth (this sounds very obvious, I know). Marketing growth typically correlates to the Dow Jones Industrial Average. In 2001, the index was at about 10,200 and in 2014 it grew to about 16,500. It’s not quite double, but does validate market growth. As for the second point (lower barrier to entry), resources are more accessible than ever because of the internet and the increase quality of search/online resources. In 2001, only 8.1% of people used the internet and this grew to about 40.7% in 2014 (1). Again, this point is very anecdotal, but helps validate the growing presence of internet.

The next component I wanted to look at was net worth of billionaires over time. The graph below is a box-and-whisker plot (yes, I was actually able to use one in an analysis) of the net worth of the individuals over time.

This plot shows that the variance and the median grow over time. It also shows that 2014 has a long tail, meaning there are a few billionaires that are extraordinarily rich compared to the rest of the billionaire population. 2014 also has a very high density of billionaires that have a net worth of under $2 billion. I thought this was interesting, so I took a deeper dive into the net worth of billionaires in 2014.

Above is a histogram of net worth of billionaires in 2014. This graph shows that over 1/2 of all billionaires in 2014 have a net worth that’s less than $2.5 billion.

The last thing I wanted to take a look at was the industry that created the billionaire. The box-and-whisker below represents net worth by the average top 10 industries in 2014. For the most part, the medians are quite similar across all of the noted industries.

For those who want to explore this data set on their own, I found the data from this data source (note it’s in the zip file).



Are longer jokes funnier? Spoiler, none of these jokes are funny.

Below is an analysis of jokes (yes, jokes) using data from UC Berkley’s ‘online joke recommender system’. I used ipython for the analysis, and the complete notebook can be found here. The data contains over 1.7MM continuous ratings of 150 jokes from ~60,000 users.

Here is the top joke according to the people, with a whopping rating of 3.7/10:

One Sunday morning William burst into the living room and said, “Dad! Mom! I have some great news for you! I am getting married to the most beautiful girl in town. She lives a block away and her name is Susan.”

After dinner, William’s dad took him aside. “Son, I have to talk with you. Your mother and I have been married 30 years. She’s a wonderful wife but she has never offered much excitement in the bedroom, so I used to fool around with women a lot. Susan is actually your half-sister, and I’m afraid you can’t marry her.”

William was heart-broken. After eight months he eventually started dating girls again. A year later he came home and very proudly announced, “Dianne said yes! We’re getting married in June.”

Again his father insisted on another private conversation and broke the sad news. “Dianne is your half-sister too, William. I’m awfully sorry about this.”

William was furious! He finally decided to go to his mother with the news

“Dad has done so much harm.. I guess I’m never going to get married,” he complained. “Every time I fall in love, Dad tells me the girl is my half-sister.”

His mother just shook her head. “Don’t pay any attention to what he says, dear. He’s not really your father.” 

Also, here are the bottom 5 jokes, in ascending order (they’re much shorter), and the associated ratings:

1.) (-2.7)

Jack Bauer can get McDonald’s breakfast after 10:30.

2.) (-2.2)

Person 1: Hey, wanna hear a great knock-knock joke?

3.) (-1.8)

Q: How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: That’s not funny.

4.) (-1.8)

Q: What’s O. J. Simpson’s web address?

A: Slash, slash, backslash, slash, slash, escape.

5.) (-1.6)

Q: What is orange and sounds like a parrot?

A: A carrot

After pulling the above and noticing that the length of the bottom jokes seemed much shorter than that of the top few jokes, I decided to see if there was any correlation between joke length and rating.

The following chart shows a slight (+) correlation between the # of parts (line breaks)  in a joke and the associated rating. As the fitted line shows, the r-squared value was 0.29.


You may have noticed from the above scatter that these either jokes weren’t all that funny, or the users are tough critics (I stand with the former). The below distribution shows just how unfunny these jokes were:



As you can see, the majority of jokes were rated on average between 1 and 3, with a good chunk of the jokes receiving negative ratings on the scale of -10 to +10.

For those interested, here is the complete list of jokes with the ratings attached, in descending order, use them at your own risk (personally, I prefer sticking to the back of Laffy Taffy wrappers for my content).

Nuclear energy in the United States

Continuing exploration with iPython, below is a quick analysis of energy sources in the United States, and then a deeper dive into Nuclear energy. Also, for those interested, here is the full iPython notebook where the charts were generated.

Number of generators by energy source

The below chart simply shows the # of generators for each energy source, natural gas having the most generators (though they are not the #1 contributor to energy)


Average capacity per generator

Next, we can see that nuclear generators far and away contain the most capacity on a per generator basis.



US electricity production, by generation source

Curious to see how the n-count + capacity of different generators in the US compared to the actual energy contribution, I pulled the following chart from



As you can see, Coal, Petroleum, Natural Gas, Nuclear, and Hydroelectric are the top contributors of electricity in the US.

Total nuclear capacity by state

I was impressed with the amount of electricity still produced by nuclear plants despite their poor PR game, and decided to do a deeper dive regarding where this nuclear capacity was coming from.


Answer: Illinois and Pennsylvania

There are 61 commercially operating nuclear power plants with 99 nuclear reactors in 30 states in the United States. Illinois has 6 plants with 11 reactors, while Pennsyvlania has 5 plants with 7 active reactors. Together, the two states supply ~18% of the nuclear energy produced in the US.

Net capacity by state (interactive map)

The interactive map below (created using plotly) shows the net capacity in thousand megawatt hours by state:





While the future of nuclear power isn’t extremely bright in the US (energy contribution as a % of total has been steady the last 10+ years), most existing plants and reactors are continually being either maintained to keep existing capacity or upgraded to improve upon existing capacity. Additionally, there are plans to build at least 5 additional nuclear reactors between now and 2020.

The main source for the data can be found here.