Smartphones more important than sex, and other strange facts about Americans

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In an intriguing commentary about current U.S. culture, Americans would rather go without sex than live without their smartphones, according to a survey published in February by statistics portal Statista.

That is only one the extraordinary facts that challenge our perception of the “superiority” of our culture compared to the rest of the world.

Another revelation is that 58 percent of Americans sleep with their pet — either a cat or dog — and more than one-quarter of the population (27 percent) lives by themselves in a one-person household. In the 1970s, that number was 17 percent.

The Weirdest People in the World” is another study, this time by behavioral scientists from the University of British Columbia, which counters the prevailing scientific theory that all humans possess similar psychological traits. They found that people in Western societies tend to be more self-serving, especially Americans, who are quite isolated in believing that it is good to get a bigger slice of the “pie,” something looked down upon in other cultures.

Other parts of the study created a buzz in anthropology circles.  Reviewing the top six psychological journals of 2008 revealed Westerners made up nearly 96 percent of subjects in psychological studies, with 70 percent of them Americans.

The conclusion was that most behavioral studies relied on only 12 percent of the world’s population. Americans may think they are the king of the societal “hill,” but the rest of the world thinks they are just downright weird.

More interesting facts:

  • Even though 44 percent of Americans sleep with their phones, only 20 percent cannot imagine a life without sex
  • The correlation between lipstick sales and hemline lengths can be an accurate measure of the strength of U.S. economy
  • FEMA uses a “Waffle House index” where the food chain’s menu and opening hours are an indication of the severity of damage after a storm
How Americans Measure Economy


Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.