Political Calculations
Unexpectedly Intriguing!
26 November 2021

We're posting this super early in the morning to help get you off to a strong start in solving a problem you already have. That problem? What to do with the leftovers now crowding your refrigerator from yesterday's Thanksgiving dinner!

Sam the Cooking Guy has a solution for what to do with your leftover stuffing: use it in your breakfast omelette! We've queued up the following video to get you going. Just a quick note before you start watching - he does a commercial for SimpliSafe's home security system during it, so when you get to it at about the 4:47 mark, you can skip past nearly all of it by advancing the video to the 6:06 mark:

Here's the quick list of ingredients in the order they're added to the non-stick skillet (at low heat):

  • Salted butter
  • Leftover stuffing
  • Eggs (he uses three eggs beaten with salt and pepper)
  • Cheese (he uses two slices of American singles)

And that's pretty much it. If you want help with the rest of your leftovers, we have some options listed below from previous Thanksgivings....

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25 November 2021

For as long as we've celebrated Thanksgiving at Political Calculations, we've never once provided any information for doing the one thing most Americans' Thanksgiving dinners depend upon. Cooking a turkey.

Sure, we've featured information on how to carve a turkey. We've twice featured information on how to avoid hurting yourself and others when cooking a turkey. And we've featured the Swedish Chef cooking a turkey, although to be fair, no turkey was actually cooked during that production.

So we're going to rectify that situation today by featuring two videos that will take you through the process of cooking a turkey! But before we begin, let's just say that if your turkey is still frozen rock solid, you should skip the videos and find out what restaurants might be open near you instead....

Our first featured video will take you through the basics of what you need to know about the full process of cooking a turkey in about 12 and a half minutes. Please be aware the process in real life takes much longer....

Our second video runs a little over eight minutes and features much of the same information, but is aimed for a slightly different audience. An audience that's somewhat intimidated by not just cooking a turkey, but being judged for how well they might cook it.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, and good luck with your turkey this year!

P.S. We're not done with cooking tips, so check back in tomorrow for an idea of what to do with your Thanksgiving dinner leftovers!

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24 November 2021

In 2020, the average live weight of a turkey raised on a U.S. farm was nearly unchanged from 2019's final recorded average of 32.7 pounds per bird. That stagnation ended what had been a 40 year long trend of growth in the average size of turkeys produced on U.S. farms.

Average Live Weight of Turkeys Raised on U.S. Farms, 1929-2020 with Estimate for 2021

In the chart above, we've shown that new trend of stagnation continuing based on early signs that production factors such as the rising costs of feed, fuel, and labor for producing turkeys in the U.S. will affect the growth of the average turkey much the same as it did during the inflationary 1970s. Should the finalized data for 2021 confirm that's the case when it is released next year, it will indicate U.S. turkey producers are dealing with today's inflation similarly to how they did during that period of relative stagnation for the U.S. economy.


U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service. Livestock Historic Data. [Online Database: Survey - Animals & Products - Poultry - Turkeys - Production - Turkeys Production Measured in Head - Total - National - US Total - 1929-2021 - Annual - Year]. Accessed 14 November 2021.

U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service. Livestock Historic Data. [Online Database: Survey - Animals & Products - Poultry - Turkeys - Production - Turkeys Production Measured in LB - Total - National - US Total - 1929-2021 - Annual - Year]. Accessed 14 November 2021.

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23 November 2021

An estimated 214 million turkeys were raised on U.S. farms in 2021, down 4.5% from 2020's 224 million. That decline continues an ongoing downward trend that has now lasted for 25 years.

Number of Turkeys Raised on U.S. Farms, 1929-2020 with Estimate for 2021

2021 saw the fewest number of turkeys produced on U.S. farms since 1986. Turkey production had soared during the late 1980s and early 1990s thanks to that era's low-fat diet craze, which saw a sharp increase in demand for lean turkey meat.

On a side note, we now have turkey production data going back to 1929!


U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service. Livestock Historic Data. [Online Database: Survey - Animals & Products - Poultry - Turkeys - Production - Turkeys Production Measured in Head - Total - National - US Total - 1929-2021 - Annual - Year]. Accessed 14 November 2021.

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22 November 2021

The cost of providing a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner to 10 people in 2021 is 14% higher than a year ago. The same food that cost $46.90 in 2020 now costs $53.31.

That's according to the results of the American Farm Bureau Federation's annual survey of the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner were released one week before Thanksgiving 2021. In the following chart, we've visualized the Farm Bureau's year-over-year comparison of the costs of the food in their traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner shopping list.

Cost of a Traditional Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner, 2020 vs 2021

In the chart, we've ranked the cost of the individual items and groupings used by the Farm Bureau for their traditional turkey dinner menu from high to low according to their 2021 cost as you read from left to right. We've also tallied the cumulative cost of the meal, with the totals for each shown on the far right side of the chart.

Ranking the data this way lets us see that the increase in the cost of turkey is responsible for most of the year-over-year increase. Rising by $4.60 from 2020's $19.39 to 2021's $23.99 for a 16-pound bird, turkey alone accounts for nearly 72% of the year-over-year increase in the total cost for the meal.

Why are turkeys so much more costly in 2021? Here's a partial explanation:

Last Friday, the USDA's Turkey Market News Report showed that smaller 8- to 16-pound frozen turkeys were selling for $1.41 per pound, up from $1.15 the year before, a 22 percent increase. Large frozen turkeys were selling for a couple cents less. Meanwhile, fresh small birds were more expensive — $1.47 per pound — though the year-over-year increase was less, only 15 cents. Exacerbating the issue is that the total number of turkeys for 2021 is also down: six percent lower year-to-date in 2021 than in 2020.

Justin Benavidez, assistant professor of agricultural economics with Texas A&M's AgriLife, told the nearby KRHD News that this decreased production was the primary cause of the price increase. "This is actually one of those rare situations where the pandemic didn't have much to do with the supply and demand of turkey," he was quoted as saying.

But Gregory Martin, a poultry educator with Penn State Extension, didn't entirely agree, instead pointing to larger inflation concerns. "Prices are going to go up simply because of the cost to get the birds in the store," he told Lancaster Farming.

We'll be looking closer at American turkeys all this week!


American Farm Bureau Federation. Farm Bureau: Survey Shows Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Up 14%. [Online Article]. 18 November 2021.

American Farm Bureau Federation. Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey: 2021 Year to Year Prices. [PDF Document]. 18 November 2021.

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After being beaten back by rising inflation concerns, the S&P 500 (Index: SPX) rebounded to reach a new record high closing value of 4,704.54 on Thursday, 18 November 2021, but retreated below that level to end the week at 4,697.96.

From the perspective of the alternative futures spaghetti forecast chart, the trajectory of the S&P 500 is riding just within the upper end of the redzone forecast range.

Alternative Futures - S&P 500 - 2021Q4 - Standard Model (m=-2.5 from 16 June 2021) - Snapshot on 19 Nov 2021

We suspect that investors are refocusing their forward-looking attention on 2022-Q2 since the Federal Reserve is now expected to initiate a new round of Federal Funds Rate hikes to address the persistent inflation that has developed since January 2021. The CME Group's FedWatch Tool is anticipating two, maybe three rate hikes in 2022 for the Federal Funds Rate set by the U.S. Federal Reserve. The FedWatch Tool predicts a greater than 50% probability for at least two quarter point rate hikes, the first in June 2022 and the second in September 2022, but is now giving just under a 50% probability of a third quarter point rate hike in December 2022.

Here are the market moving headlines from the third week of November 2021:

Monday, 15 November 2021
Tuesday, 16 November 2021
Wednesday, 17 November 2021
Thursday, 18 November 2021
Friday, 19 November 2021

We're shifting gears for the rest of the week with our annual week-long celebration of Thanksgiving, starting with a look at the inflation in the cost of a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner for 2021.

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19 November 2021

Power laws show up in a lot of different places. That includes things like stock prices and income distributions, which is why developments in maths related to the topic of power laws catch our attention.

That brings us to a story from earlier this year that we've recently caught up with. We came across it via a university's PR news release with the clickbait title "Financial crashes, pandemics, Texas snow: How math could predict 'black swan' events".

We don't think much of that type of PR sensationalism, so we set it aside to review later. After all, we've seen the PR departments at universities function much like those scam scientific journals that will literally publish gibberish if you pay them. Usually after we get to reviewing such pieces, we end up sweeping the stories into the garbage. Where most of them belong.

This one turned out to have some meat behind it. It relates to when and how Taylor's Law may be successfully used to estimate the variance of a population based on the mean of smaller samples measuring it.

Named after ecologist Lionel Roy Taylor, who developed it after realizing the total variance of the animal population in a region (such as moths) is proportional to a power of the mean of the sampled population of animals counted at the same time at several different sites within it (such as the counts of moths captured overnight in traps spread over the region).

Here's the basic math formula for Taylor's Law:

Variance = A*(Mean)B

In this power law equation, A and B are constant values, the mean is that for the different samples of the population, and the resulting variance applies for the total population. This expression becomes a linear equation when using logarithms:

log(Variance) = log(Constant A) + (Constant B)*log(Mean)

It had been assumed that Taylor's Law would only work well when dealing with a population whose variance in either space or time is described by a normal Gaussian distribution, the kind represented by a standard bell-curve in statistics. Joel E. Cohen, Richard A. Davis, and Gennady Samorodnitsky however have demonstrated in a 2020 paper that Taylor's Law holds for heavy-tailed distributions.

The difference in the variance between a normal-tailed distribution and a heavy-tailed distribution in statistics is that more extreme variances are more likely to be seen in heavy-tailed distributions. The variation of stock prices is a good example, because big changes in them are observed much more frequently than are predicted by normal variance distribution statistics. That has real world meaning because the failure to recognize that fact has resulted in some of the investing world's biggest failures.

Adem Tumerkan: Normal vs Heavy-Tailed Distribution

Cohen, Davis, and Samorodnitsky see how their work might be extended beyond its native field of ecology:

Until now, Taylor's Law was thought to have no place in these heavy-tailed systems. It helped plot our paths along the normal circumstances of daily life, but when it came to extreme occurrences like the present pandemic, Taylor's Law seemed irrelevant.

But a few years ago, Cohen and colleagues at Columbia University made a striking discovery—a way of looking at heavy-tailed variables that yields surprisingly orderly connections between the mean and the variance. "It was as if we took all of the pieces of a car, put it in a box, and the car still ran," Cohen says. "This combination of variables gave us the same result regardless of how they were connected."

A collaboration of excited mathematicians culminated in this new study, which collects many more examples of the phenomenon and concludes with mathematical proof that extreme, heavy-tailed events are indeed well described by Taylor's Law.

This does not mean that any individual extreme event can be predicted with a simple mean-to-variance formula. But the research effectively breaks Taylor's Law out of its shell, giving scientists good reason to test whether market fluctuations and natural disasters obey the same Taylor's Law that governs insect populations and the progression of cancerous growths.

Cohen hopes that this work will stimulate further basic research on the mathematics of heavy-tailed distributions and that scientists will use it to better understand the extreme events wherever heavy-tailed distributions lurk. "Advances like these are the mathematical analogue of bioimaging," he says.

"They make it possible to see what was previously invisible."

Potentially. It will be exciting to see.


Joel E. Cohen et al. Heavy-tailed distributions, correlations, kurtosis and Taylor's Law of fluctuation scaling, Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences (2020). DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2020.0610. [Ungated PDF Document].

J.N. Perry. Taylor's Power Law for Dependence of Variance on Mean in Animal Populations. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series C (Applied Statistics). Vol. 30, No. 3 (1981), pp. 254-263. DOI: 10.2307/2346349.

Adam Tumerkan. Hunting and Profiting from 'Fat Tails' - Be Long HighVol Assets. Seeking Alpha. [Online Article]. 20 July 2017.

Previously on Political Calculations

Image Credit: Adem Tumerkan.

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18 November 2021

Three months ago, we took the first snapshot of the expected future for quarterly dividends per share for the S&P 500 (Index: SPX) through the end of 2022. Here's what that future looks like as of the close of trading on 11 November 2021:

Past and Projected Quarterly Dividends Per Share Futures for S&P 500, 2020-Q4 Through 2022-Q4, Snapshot on 11 November 2021

The past and projected data shown in this chart is from the CME Group's S&P 500 quarterly dividend index futures. The past data reflects the values reported by CME Group on the date the associated dividend futures contract expired, while the projected data reflects the values reported on 11 November 2021. This matches the timing of when we took our latest snapshot of the index' expected future earnings per share.

Since our last snapshot, the levels of the S&P 500's expected quarterly dividends per share has increased across the board for each quarter but 2022-Q2, which is unchanged at $15.54 per share. In the near term, cash dividend payouts expected during 2021-Q4 have risen from $14.87 to $15.36, while 2022-Q1's projected dividends have risen from $16.03 to $16.20. In the more distant future, dividends in 2022-Q3 rose from $15.17 to $15.51 per share, while 2021-Q4's dividends per share increased from $15.12 to $15.51.

About the Numbers

Dividend futures indicate the amount of dividends per share to be paid out over the period covered by each quarters dividend futures contracts, which start on the day after the preceding quarter's dividend futures contracts expire and end on the third Friday of the month ending the indicated quarter. So for example, as determined by dividend futures contracts, the "current" quarter of 2021-Q4 began on Saturday, 18 September 2021 and will end on Friday, 17 December 2021.

That makes these figures different from the quarterly dividends per share figures reported by Standard and Poor, who reports the amount of dividends per share paid out during regular calendar quarters after the end of each quarter. This term mismatch accounts for the differences in dividends reported by both sources, with the biggest differences between the two typically seen in the first and fourth quarters of each year.

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17 November 2021

Every three months, we take a snapshot of the expectations for future earnings in the S&P 500 (Index: SPX) at approximately the midpoint of the current quarter, shortly after most U.S. firms have announced their previous quarter's earnings.

Since our last update three months ago, Standard and Poor has updated their projections to indicate stronger earnings growth going into 2022.

Forecasts for S&P 500 Trailing Twelve Month Earnings per Share, December 2017-December 2022, Snapshot on 11 November 2021

S&P is also forecasting slower earnings growth during 2022.


Silverblatt, Howard. Standard & Poor. S&P 500 Earnings and Estimates. [Excel Spreadsheet]. 11 November 2021. Accessed 12 November 2021.

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16 November 2021

Arizona is seeing an upswing in the number of COVID cases in the state. As best as we can tell using the back calculation method, the new uptrend for cases began with a change in the rate of incidence of exposure to the viral infection approximately between 8 October and 11 October 2021. The following chart shows the latest trends for the number of COVID cases, hospital admissions, and deaths indexed to the approximate date of when those infected were initially exposed to the variants of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus being transmitted within the state.

Arizona's Coronavirus Pandemic Experience, 15 March 2021 - 15 November 2021

The state's detailed data for hospital admissions and deaths is still as yet too incomplete to tell if they will follow the pattern for the uptrend in cases. The impact of the COVID vaccines combined with improved treatments however has clearly made COVID less serious than it was during 2020.

The period of 8 October through 11 October 2021 was characterized by what might be considered several mass exposure events within the state. Here's a sampling of sporting events that drew thousands in attendance to each:

That's just the sporting events in the state during that period, without including things like tailgate parties or other social gatherings that could constitute significant exposure events.

We were curious to see if Arizona's COVID data could provide more insight into where cases are now arising in the state. The following image is a snapshot of COVID cases by ZIP code in the state, where the darker red the color, the greater the number of cases in the last month.

Arizona Recent COVID-19 Cases by Zip Code (15 October 2021 - 15 November 2021)

The map is fascinating because with a few exceptions it shows the higher levels of new COVID cases in ZIP codes are taking place in regions that might be considered to be the suburbs and exurbs of the Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas. Here's the short list of the ZIP codes that became the darkest red during the past month:

  • 85706: 793 cases
  • 85142: 792 cases
  • 85338: 792 cases
  • 85345: 771 cases
  • 85326: 763 cases
  • 85122: 717 cases
  • 85009: 713 cases

It would be interesting to see if those testing positive for COVID-19 infections in these ZIP codes share any common characteristics. Arizona's public data for infections at this level however doesn't provide enough detail to tell.

Previously on Political Calculations

Here is our previous coverage of Arizona's experience with the coronavirus pandemic, presented in reverse chronological order.


Political Calculations has been following Arizona's experience with the coronavirus experience from almost the beginning, because the state makes its high quality data publicly available. Specifically, the state's Departent of Health Services reports the number of cases by date of test sample collection, the number of hospitalizations by date of hospital admission, and the number of deaths by date recorded on death certificates.

This data, combined with what we know of the typical time it takes to progress to each of these milestones, makes it possible to track the state's daily rate of incidence of initial exposure to the variants of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus using back calculation methods. Links to that data and information about how the back calculation method works are presented below:

Arizona Department of Health Services. COVID-19 Data Dashboard: Vaccine Administration. [Online Database]. Accessed 15 November 2021.

Stephen A. Lauer, Kyra H. Grantz, Qifang Bi, Forrest K. Jones, Qulu Zheng, Hannah R. Meredith, Andrew S. Azman, Nicholas G. Reich, Justin Lessler. The Incubation Period of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) From Publicly Reported Confirmed Cases: Estimation and Application. Annals of Internal Medicine, 5 May 2020. https://doi.org/10.7326/M20-0504.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19 Pandemic Planning Scenarios. [PDF Document]. 10 September 2020.

More or Less: Behind the Stats. Ethnic minority deaths, climate change and lockdown. Interview with Kit Yates discussing back calculation. BBC Radio 4. [Podcast: 8:18 to 14:07]. 29 April 2020.


15 November 2021

In last week's edition of the S&P 500 chaos series, we made a point of recognizing the S&P 500's recent winning streak, which lasted just one more day after we commented on it. Alas, it ran into a wall of unexpected inflation, which snapped the streak to a close.

Alternative Futures - S&P 500 - 2021Q3 - Standard Model (m=-2.5 from 16 June 2021) - Snapshot on 12 Nov 2021

From our perspective, it's interesting to see the upper end of the redzone forecast range marked the top for the index' streak, although we recognize that's a coincidence. We do wonder though what the redzone forecast range would look like if we had anticipated how the outlook for investors would change when President Biden's proposed tax rate hikes died on Capitol Hill.

Getting back to the streak itself, Schaeffer's Investment Research's Rocky White was impressed enough to recount the history of the S&P 500's previous 8-day or longer winning streaks with record-high closes:

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) just did something it hasn’t done in nearly 25 years. On Monday, it closed at an all-time high for the eighth day in a row. The streak came to an end with yesterday’s down day. The table below shows data on each streak and how the index did going forward.

In the short term, the S&P 500 was down a week later in three of the past four occurrences. So, if we struggle in the short-term, it should not be a surprise. Three months later, however, the index was higher after all seven previous instances. This week I’ll look at how these future returns compare to typical market returns and similar streaks for the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC), which also had eight straight days of all-time highs.

Schaeffer Research: 8 Straight New All-Time Highs (S&P 500), 1928-2021

White continues reviewing the historic record to see how investors fared after the S&P 500 or its predecessor indices ran a record-high setting streak:

The table below shows how the S&P 500 performed after each of these streaks ended. There are limited data points, but an end to the streak has not been an indication of buying exhaustion; stocks have tended to do well even after the streaks ended. Perhaps one thing to be wary of is the two signals that occurred within a year just before the Great Depression and then you have two signals within a year in 1964, after which stocks struggled. We haven’t had two streaks of eight recently but earlier this year we had a streak of seven straight all-time highs. Any one signal of all-time high streaks may be nothing to worry about, but if they become more prevalent, perhaps it can signal a major top.

Schaeffer Research: S&P 500 After All-Time High Streak Ends and S&P 500 Since 1928 (to 9 November 2021)

In other words, pretty much anything can happen. What will happen will be paced by the random onset of new information, such as what we saw in the market-moving headlines of the past week:

Monday, 8 November 2021
Tuesday, 9 November 2021
Wednesday, 10 November 2021
Thursday, 11 November 2021
Friday, 12 November 2021

The CME Group’s FedWatch Tool is now projecting a greater than 50% probability of a quarter point rate hike in June 2022, followed by another in September 2022, and a third in December 2022. That’s a lot of change in just the past week.

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12 November 2021

Winter has returned to the IIE team's corner of the world, which has put us into the mind of venturing out to the nearest double-black diamond sledding hill and going on some breakneck runs.

But who wants to carry a sled out all the way out to their version of Suredeath Hill? It's hard enough climbing up to the top with all the snow and ice, much less having to drag a heavy sled up the hill too.

That's why we were excited to come across U.S. Patent 5,573,256, in which inventor Brent Farley solves the problem with his innovation of sled pants, the sled you can strap onto the outside of your snow trousers. Here's the description of the related art from the patent, which exactly explains what problems Farley's sled pants are intended to solve:

In areas where sledding and tobaganning down a hillside is part of winter enjoyment, it is particularly burdensome on the individual to drag or carry a sled or tobaggan (hereinafter "sled(s)") to the top of a hill or carrying the sled is known to be tiresome and detracts from the enjoyment of the sledding activity.

Depending upon the geometry and configuration of the sled, the work associated with dragging or carrying the sled can differ. For example, some individuals prefer to go sledding with a simple sheet of cardboard; while others use a saucer or dish-like sled and some use a conventional sled with runners as their sled of choice.

Until now, a sled capable of being attached to the body of the user and worn before, during, and after a downhill sled run, has not been invented.

But now it has and what a thing of glory it is! Here are all the figures from the patent illustrating Farley's concept of sled pants:

U.S. Patent 5,573,256: Figures 1 through 5

We were sold and went shopping for it, but sadly, did not find it for sale anywhere. We did however find the next best thing, consisting of just the seat portion of Farley's innovation being marketed under the name "Ski Buns", but alas, Amazon reports the product is unavailable at this writing.

So it looks like we'll be dragging the old sled back out after all.

To close on a side note, the U.S. Patent and Trademark issued U.S. Patent 5,573,256 on 12 November 1996, exactly 25 years ago! This is the first time we've celebrated an invention on the anniversary of its patent being issued.

From the Inventions in Everything Archives

The IIE team has previously covered the following inventions that seem especially appropriate to revisit for the season:


11 November 2021

A little over a week ago, President Biden loaded up Air Force One and several other jets with cabinet members, staffers, and quite a few other gas-guzzling vehicles to travel to Glasgow, Scotland for a two-day climate conference aimed at reducing global carbon dioxide emissions. At the conference, Biden made the point of targeting methane emissions, including emissions from livestock, which generally means "cow flatulence".

That brings up the question of how big of a problem is that? Specifically, how many cows are there producing methane emissions on Earth, and of those, how many are in the United States?

We dug up the numbers, which we've presented in the following chart!

World Population of Cattle and Calves, 2021

There are over one billion cattle and calves on Earth. The nation with the largest number of cattle is India, with 305.5 million. Brazil is second with 252.7 million and China is third with 95.6 million. The U.S. ranks fourth in the world, with 93.6 million cattle and calves, as of 1 January 2021.

We then dug out the historic cattle inventory for the United States, which has annual data going back to 1867, and decade census data going back to 1840. Here's a chart showing the historic population of cattle and calves in the U.S. over that time.

Cattle Population in United States, 1840-2021

The population of cattle and calves in the U.S. peaked at 132 million in 1975. Since then, the population has decreased by 29% to reach 2021's surveyed population of 93.6 million. The U.S. accounts for 9.3% of the world's population of cattle.


Cook, Rob. World Cattle Inventory by Country. Beef Market Central. [Online Article]. 5 November 2021.

U.S. Census Bureau. United States Census of Agriculture: 1954. Volume 2. Part 6. Table 1. Cattle - Number Shown by the Census on Specified dates of Enumeration in Relation to Cyclical Changes Indicated by Annual Estimates of January 1 Inventories by Agricultural Marketing Service, for the United States. [PDF Document]. 6 February 1954.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service. Livestock and Poultry: World Markets and Trade. Cattle Stocks - Top Countries Summary. [PDF Document]. 12 October 2021.

U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service. Livestock Historic Data. [Online Database: Survey - Animals & Products - Livestock - Cattle - Inventory - Cattle, Incl Calves - Inventory - Total - National - US Total - 1867-2021 - Point in Time - First of Jan.]. Accessed 9 November 2021.

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10 November 2021

October 2021 saw a deceleration in the rate at which carbon dioxide is being added to the Earth's atmosphere has been falling in recent months. Much of that decline can be attributed to disruptions in production related to measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Asian nations followed by a fossil fuel shortage in China.

That change indicates both that many of the nations in southeast Asia are seeing falling rates of infections, allowing their various lockdown restrictions limiting their economic output to be lifted. It also indicates China is having some success in overcoming its fossil fuel shortages.

The following chart shows how that deceleration fits into the overall pattern since the coronavirus pandemic first became widely apparent in December 2019.

Trailing Twelve Month Average of Year-Over-Year Change in Parts per Million of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, January 2000 - October 2021

Since December 2019, a net reduction of 0.68 parts per million of atmospheric carbon dioxide has been recorded in the trailing twelve month average of the year over year rate of change in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels measured at the remote Mauna Loa Observatory. We estimate this change represents a net loss of $22.6 trillion to the world economy since December 2019.

Looking forward, China is seeing a new surge in SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infections, which is already prompting new restrictive lockdowns in the northern region of the country, which has spread to at least 31 provinces. China's government is signaling it expects a "complicated and severe situation" for cases in the months ahead. Disruptions to economic production in China are expected from the lockdowns.


National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. Earth System Research Laboratory. Mauna Loa Observatory CO2 Data. [Text File]. Updated 5 November 2021. Accessed 5 November 2021.

Previously on Political Calculations

Here is our series quantifying the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Earth's economy, presented in reverse chronological order.

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About Political Calculations

Welcome to the blogosphere's toolchest! Here, unlike other blogs dedicated to analyzing current events, we create easy-to-use, simple tools to do the math related to them so you can get in on the action too! If you would like to learn more about these tools, or if you would like to contribute ideas to develop for this blog, please e-mail us at:

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