Category Archives: Statistics

Blog / Answer Book Comparison: a critical analysis

How long does it take you to answer questions on this blog vs. the answer book?

Funny you should ask.  With the support of a small grant, one so insignificant, in fact, that it could be considered fictional, I’ve recently contracted with an outside entity – the Center for Regional Analytics and Performance – to review our data since we began inviting online submissions.  My objective was to answer this precise question.  Dr. Miklos Kisbolond, the Center’s director, believes the analysis will be complete by year’s end, at which time it will be delivered to us.  It might later appear in a respected journal.

Circulation statistics

Are there circulation numbers (volume) available for Perkins and/or the other Duke libraries?  I’m curious to see how many books are checked out each year. [3345B]

To give you a ballpark idea, here are numbers, excluding reserves, for 2004-2005 (Initial Loans / Totals) for all Duke Libraries: 390,086 / 534,244 ; Perkins System + Divinity:  322,381 / 443,383 ; Ford: 29,209 / 36,625 ; Law: 24,370 / 36,166 ;  Med Center: 14,126 / 18,070.  “Perkins System” includes Lilly, Music, Vesic, Biology, Chemistry.  For Perkins only (not branches or professional schools): (Loans / Renewals / Totals) for 2004-05: 164,020 / 80,271 / 244,291 ;  for 2005-06: 142,333 / 79,721 / 222,054.


What percentage of gun sales in America are made by unlicensed gun dealers?

In other words, what portion of guns bought every year don’t actually involve background checks?

ANSWER PERSON RESPONDS: According to a May 1997 National Institute of Justice fact sheet entitled “Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms” (, “about 60 percent of gun acquisitions involved federally licensed dealers.” Meaning that about 40% aren’t, and only a few states (e.g., California, Illinois, and Pennsylvania) require background checks for gun show purchases (and many private sales are person-to-person outside of gun shows).

This estimate of 40% is cited over and over again as the percentage of gun sales where the purchaser doesn’t get a background check.

Health care

What is the second richest country in the world that does not have universal health care?

ANSWER PERSON RESPONDS: This isn’t straightforward. The exact coverage of “universal” health care does vary by country, although it’s agreed upon that the USA doesn’t have it. Usually it’s equated with some sort of single-payer system managed by the government.

Probably because of the definitional issues, “universal coverage” isn’t listed as an “indicator” by the World Health Organisation (WHO) or World Bank. They have indicators relating to expenditures on healthcare: total, public, private, and “out-of-pocket” (which may be the difference between total private health spending and that paid with private insurance, but don’t quote me).

An interesting ratio that gets at the idea as to whether healthcare is paid by the government (i.e., from taxes and other govt. revenue) is the “Private expenditure on health as % of total expenditure on health” as reported in “Annex Table 2” of the WHO’s 2006 World Health Report. The USA is 55.4% in 2003. Most other wealthy countries are in the teens and 20s.

This gets tedious, but if you then rank each country by Gross Domestic Product per capita in 2003 (you can get this from the World Bank database World Development Indicators, through the library’s database list), you can scan down the list under the United States. The next richest country with >55.4% private funding is Singapore (63.9%), then Trinidad and Tobago (62.2%). Most of the coutries with a higher percentage private health expenditures are poor or dysfunctional countries. The highest is Guinea, at 83.4%.


Which cities have the most Chinese people, outside of China? Got any numbers/estimates?

thank you!

ANSWER PERSON RESPONDS: Wikipedia’s article on Overseas Chinese has a population chart by country, not by city. Singapore is sort of both, and they list 3.4 million, which might be the most. Since some of the other southeast Asian nations have high numbers, I assume cities such as Jakarta, Medan, Kuala Lumpur, and Rangoon would be in the running.

In the USA, according to the 2000 Census, the Metro areas (not individual incorporated cities) with the most persons of Chinese ethnicity are New York, San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, and Los Angeles, all in the ballpark of half a million.

You may want to do a literature search in one of the databases the library subscribes to or else contact the Chinese Studies librarian in the library’s International and Area studies Department.