09 January 2007

Stunning statistics

Living in rural Alaska and working in the news business, I frequently come across remarkable and stunning statistics about life in this region of the state - astronomically high rates of suicide and poverty, for instance, and depressingly low rates of education and health care. This happens so frequently it is easy to forget the significance of those numbers.

But sometimes perspective wakes me up:

One thing is for sure: New Stuyahok is suffering, with five alcohol-related deaths in one year. That's one for every 110 residents. If Anchorage faced a similar plague, alcohol would have killed nearly 2,500 people last year.
That's nothing short of stunning - disastrously so.

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