So as the calendar turns from the rebirth of spring to the sweltering heat of summer in this part of the world, here are five statistics to mark the occasion:
1. Summer is not most people’s favorite time of the year.
I guess New Englanders don’t like the backdoor cold fronts of the spring, while Southerners dislike the sweltering heat of summer.
2. Seventy-two degrees is usually just right.
A National Opinion Research Center poll last year asked those who had central AC what temperatures they set their thermostats to during the day and at night. During the day, the most popular answer was 72 degrees. During the night, the most popular answer was 72 degrees.
There’s a wide range in the data, with some people going as low as 55 degrees and some going as high as 76 degrees. Indeed, 13% of all of those with central AC said they slept in a temperature of 67 degrees or less during the summer. About 40% to 45% of people indicated that they kept their thermostats above 72 degrees during the day and at night.
What most Americans do agree upon is that having air conditioning is preferable to not having it. A 2019 CBS News poll inquired about whether Americans preferred having the windows open or the windows closed with the AC during a hot summer day. The clear winner was windows closed with the AC on at 65%, compared with 30% who said windows open.
3. Not going on vacation this weekend? Same here.
If people don’t end up traveling for vacation, it will be because of prices. Gas, flight and hotel and lodging prices were listed as much more important factors in making summer vacation plans than figuring out time off or fear over the coronavirus.
4. Most people just want to take a load off during summer.
If summer is known for taking vacations, then what do we actually want to do on those vacations? Well, it seems that most of us just want to be lazy.
That same Washington Post poll found that 76% of Americans said relaxing was a thing they liked to do on vacation. Next up (and within the margin of error of that result) was eating at restaurants (75%). Going to the beach or pool was in third place at 65%.
No other option hit a majority.
5. Summer vacation ends at a lot of different points.
Just as quickly as summer has begun, I hate to tell you that it will end just as quickly. When I was a kid, Labor Day marked that point. That’s when school, much to my undying hatred, began anew. Polling shows that more people think Labor Day marks the end of summer than the fall equinox.
That year, 2% of students nationwide went back to school by August 2. Nearly half (43%) were back in school by the middle of August. This included the majority of students in the interior South (i.e., Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas).
This might explain why I always felt that back-to-school ads were airing too early in the summer. It turns out that for many kids, summer simply ended earlier.