As usual, True Facts illuminate the obvious


TIME NOW for another edition of True Facts: facts that women know to be true, even if it has been one of those days. In honor of the U.S. Census and Tax Day, we thought we would pull together some polling numbers and research statistics that demonstrate stuff women already know. We invite you to think about how you would have spent the money they tossed down the drain documenting the perfectly obvious.

* Divorce, McDonald's and and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 are among the 25 top life-changing forces that affected children in the 20th century, says a report in Contact Kids magazine.

The magazine, published by the Children's Television Workshop, also listed as significant influences the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown vs. Board of Education, fluoride, the Internet, malls, MTV and, coincidentally, CTW's "Sesame Street."

* Meanwhile, the vote, access to college and the birth-control pill were listed as the most significant factors in changing women's lives during the 20th century in an opinion poll commissioned by Virginia Slims.

* Will you be institutionalized as an older person? According to social scientists, that is less likely to happen if you have a daughter.

* A survey done for Kraft Foods referred to the person responsible for meal planning, preparation and cleanup as the "family nurturer," a squishy new term for "household engineer," and the latest verbal incarnation of "Mom."

* Marriage brings as much happiness as an additional $100,000 in annual income.

Dartmouth College economist David Blanchflower studied 100,000 people during a 25-year period and found that when the amount of happiness generated by a lasting marriage was compared with the happiness produced by financial circumstances, a statistical calculation showed that it was worth a hundred grand.

* On Oct. 12, the Earth's human population topped 6 billion. Of that number, more than one billion are between the ages of 15 and 24 -- the largest generation of young people entering their reproductive years in the history of the world. Responding to these numbers, Douglas Gould & Co., a communications firm, concluded that it was time for the largest sex education class in human history.

* A team of researchers at Penn State and Dickinson College reports that a majority of middle schoolers of both sexes find boy-girl relationships enjoyable and challenging. However, boys fall in love faster, have fewer "intimacy skills" and take breaking up harder than girls do, something that is true throughout their lives.

* A Kaiser Family Foundation study reported that kids spend almost the equivalent of a work week -- 38 hours -- watching TV, playing video games, listening to music and surfing the Internet each week.

But an equally alarming finding was this: Among kids 8 and older, 65 percent have a TV in their bedroom and say the TV is usually on during meals. Nearly that many, 61 percent, say parents have set no rules about TV watching.

* Apparently, children are not a hindrance to their parents' sex lives. According to a survey conducted for Adam & Eve, a mail-order distributor of erotica, 60 percent of the respondents with children under age 18 at home are sexually active. However, only 38 percent of those without children in the home described themselves as sexually active.

In an unreported finding, 100 percent of the couples having sex reported shutting their bedroom door first.

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