February 2, 2012 |
TV shows live by the numbers and die by the numbers. At the moment, American Idol is being gashed with the Nielsen saber. Viewership for the Fox singing contest is down just more than 20 percent from last year at this time, and ratings in the adult demographic (18 to 49 years old) have dropped an alarming 33 percent. The best-case scenario for the network is that this is just a temporary aberration, that fans over time have grown weary of the audition stage, which serves as a long, pointless overture to the season, and that they will return once the real competition begins March 1. "I think American Idol 's slipping numbers reflect fatigue, especially among more engaged, savvy viewers, because the show is incredibly boring this year," Andy Dehnart, editor of the website realityblurred.com, says via e-mail.
October 2, 1999 |
Exactly two days before my wedding next summer, I will turn 32. My family affectionately acknowledges this fact by calling me the "spinster bride. " I happen to prefer "late bloomer," thank you very much. It seems we late bloomers are in vogue. According to a recent report on marriage from the Institute for American Values, the percent of marriageable people (i.e., over 18) who are actually married has dropped. In the 1960s, seven in 10 were married, compared to five in 10 in the 1990s.
October 28, 1990 |
Bill Kearns, director of personnel for the Lower Merion School District, is expecting a dramatic increase in teacher openings. But prospective educators shouldn't rush out to get their resumes printed. Those slots are not expected to open for another 10 or 15 years. Kearns this month completed his annual professional staff profile, and it shows that the bulk of the staff - encompassing teachers, counselors, psychologists and librarians - is in the 40-to-50 age range, with nearly another third over 50. And, because teachers traditionally retire before reaching Social Security age, Kearns thinks the district will be in the market for 40 to 60 teachers a year beginning at the turn of the century.
September 18, 1986 |
Sister Anita Quigley, 31, attended Catholic schools throughout her childhood in Havertown, but it wasn't until she graduated from Rosemont College and began working that she seriously considered the religious life. "Something innate and intangible said there is something else to this life than making money," she recalled recently as she sat on the enclosed porch of the Drexel Hill convent of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, a modest stone home on a quiet residential street.
November 11, 1992 |
If it's 5:30 p.m., there's a good chance Theresa Dickerson is sitting in her car in a dusky parking lot, poring over her school books and chewing on a dinner of potato chips or a slice of pizza from a street vendor. After a full day of work as a school aide at William H. Loesche Elementary School, she has less than an hour to bone up for a full night of classes at Community College of Philadelphia. "It's hard to find a decent meal," she said. "I don't have time to stop. " She's worked for the city school district for two decades and already raised a daughter old enough to be a college student herself.
October 22, 2006 |
For the first time in 150 years, households headed by single adults and unmarried couples now outnumber married-couple families. In 1960, married-couple households represented more than 78 percent of American households. As late as 2000, married couples were 52 percent of all households. But in 2005, according to the recently released American Community Survey, households with a married couple at their core made up less than 50 percent of all households. That's a psychologically significant number, of course.
August 15, 2008 |
It's easy to be impressed by the China we've seen during the Olympics - the glittering, modern buildings; the futuristic maglev trains; the epic public works projects. On the surface, China has the physical capital of a rising world power. But the structure of China's human capital presents a very different picture. Over the next 40 years, China is headed for intense and rapid demographic change: Between now and 2050, China's population will shrink and become very, very old. There are no easy ways to manage this catastrophic problem.
December 11, 1992 |
Cadillac has capped the teeth of its last dinosaur and changed its name from Cadillacis Broughamensis to Cadillacis Fleetwoodicus. But the extensive aesthetic dentistry and the new model name couldn't fool us experienced automotive paleontologists. We knew, as soon as we drove it a few blocks, that the new Fleetwood was the same lumbering leaf-browser that was driven into the Le Brea Tar Pits by a drunken pterodactyl about 1 million B.C. Seriously, the new Fleetwood may have a new name, a fresh body and contemporary electronics and safety gear, but it is, essentially, an other- generational behemoth aimed at retirement-age motorists and the limousine trade.
March 20, 1988 |
The way Annette Drum tells it, she didn't have a choice. In the last seven years, the rent she paid for her Willow Grove apartment had jumped from $325 to $510; in the winter her heating bills have averaged $100. So Drum recently did something she hadn't done in 50 years - she went out and got a job. Drum used to teach elementary school in Kensington, but that was when she was 27 years old. She's now 85. "If you want to eat, you go out and work," she said. For Drum, who remembers when a trolley ride from Kensington to Willow Grove Park was 5 cents, the working world had changed a bit. But she still drives to work in Hatboro and puts in approximately 20 hours each week doing telemarketing for Delta Market Research.
July 20, 1987 |
Members of the baby boom, for whom America built new schools, trained more teachers and expanded suburbia, are expected to make still more demands on society as they get older. Looking ahead to the next century, policy analysts are thinking of ways to meet the needs of this postwar generation of 70 million that will lift the average age of Americans to a new high. One specialist in aging foresees such demand for health care that hospitals, one-third of their beds now empty, may have to add 50 percent more beds by the year 2000.