IN 1993, as in previous years, you couldn't read a newspaper without encountering numbers of one sort or another. For your end-of-the-year convenience, here are some you might have missed:
* Of the 257 million Americans, 115 million read the daily paper, 125 million the Sunday.
* It was just a coincidence that the armistice ending World War I occurred 75 years ago on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. The haggling among the parties ended at 5:12 that morning in Paris. The signers already had agreed to permit six hours for notifying troops on both sides. For convenience, they chose 5 a.m. as the hour of signing. If they had chosen a minute before 5:12, the war would have ended on the 11th minute, too.
* The South Pole is about 35 degrees colder on average than the North Pole. The South Pole record is 129 degrees below zero.
* Fifty-eight percent of the 92 million U.S. households have pets (including fish and horses). Thirty-seven percent of the households have 52.5 million dogs; 31 percent have 57 million cats. So there are more cat pets than dog pets, but more dog households.
* More than 20 million discarded cats and dogs were killed in U.S. shelters in 1992. One owner said she didn't want her dog because "He just doesn't match the furniture."
* World population has reached 5.5 billion. Forty percent of all human beings live either in China or India. So far there have been an estimated 70 billion human beings. But for every pound of us there are 300 pounds of bugs.
* If the world were a village of 1,000 people, 700 would be illiterate, 500 would be hungry, 60 would receive half the income.
* Every day around the world there are 100 million There are more cats than dogs, but more dog households.
acts of intercourse, 900,000 conceptions, 300,000 births and 150,000 abortions. The balance are probably miscarried. (Somewhere in the world, a woman gives birth to three and a half children every second. She must be found and stopped.)
* Of the 6 million pregnancies each year in the U.S., more than half are unplanned and more than a quarter end in abortion. More than 85 percent of boys who impregnate teen-age girls will eventually abandon them.
* With parental consent, females can marry at 13 in New Hampshire, at 14 in South Carolina. Either sex can marry at 14 in Alabama, Texas and Utah.
* The average U.S. wedding costs $16,000. The average U.S. income is $36,000. The average age is 36.5 years.
* According to a Time magazine survey, 92 percent of U.S. married people say they are in love, 3 percent say they're not. Among singles, 53 percent say they're in love, 45 percent say they're not. The rest aren't sure.
* Globally, almost 50 million people die annually. That's verging on a million a week, 136,000 a day. Nearly 5,800 die in the U.S. each day.
* Smoking kills 4 million people worldwide per year. Smoking is one of the leading causes of statistics.
* 1.3 million people die in U.S. hospitals each year -- 70 percent after removal of life-sustaining equipment.
* Five percent of Americans over 65 (1.6 million) live in nursing homes. Forty-three percent of all who live past 65 will spend some time there.
* Of 300,000 attempts, the U.S. has 31,000 suicides per year, 3 percent higher than the homicide rate. Ninety-five percent of these suicides are not terminally ill.
* Sixty percent of adult Americans never read a book.
* Twenty percent of Americans believe the second coming of Jesus will occur around the year 2000. At the first coming, world population was about the same as current U.S. population.
* On an average day the U.S. Postal Service delivers 525 million items to 118 million mail boxes. That's 41 percent of the world's mail. First class mail in Germany is 67 cents, in Japan 47, in Canada 42. Americans send about 2.2 billion commercial Christmas cards. A humorous Baltimorean in Hamilton has an air-mail box on top of a 10-foot pole. (In England the Royal Mail delivers the post; in America the post office delivers the mail.)
* Twenty million U.S. workers have night jobs -- 20 percent of the full-time work force. At 3 a.m. on any given night 10 million Americans are deliberately awake.
* Explaining the probability of winning the Maryland Lotto, statistician Alan Karr claims: "You are more likely to be killed crossing the street to buy the ticket." Watch out this afternoon.
* Travel in Europe can be quite expensive. On average, Brussels will cost you $527 a day, Paris $476, Rome $451. Travel and tourism in the U.S. brings in $1 billion a day and accounts for 6 million jobs. It is the No. 1 industry in 13 states, second or third in another 24.
* Maryland now has two telephone area codes. California has 13.
* There are two kinds of people: those who finish what they start, and so on (Robert Byrne). And so, on to '94!
Joseph Gallagher is a priest of the Baltimore Archdiocese.