The Harper's Index, a trademarked feature in every monthly issue of Harper's Magazine, is a curated list of statistics investigating current events and foreign affairs. For each of the following lines, I researched the methodology as well as the limitations behind each number to ensure the sentence is accurate of the larger story being reported. Harper's fact-checking procedures strictly require direct confirmation from original sources.



February Index

Amount the US Treasury has paid congressional staff in legal settlements since 2008 : $5,963,825

Percentage by which the first FBI crime report under Donald Trump contained fewer data tables than the previous year’s : 58

Number of days by which US winters have grown shorter since 1895 : 14

Portion of the global population who cannot see the Milky Way because of light pollution : 1/3













January Index

Percentage of moisturizers sold in the United States as “fragrance-free” that contain a fragrance : 45

Of moisturizers sold as “hypoallergenic” that contain a common allergen : 83

Percentage of black Americans earning less than $25,000 a year who say they have been called a racial slur : 40

Of black Americans earning more than $75,000 : 65

Percentages of Democrats and Republicans who say workplace sexual harassment is a very serious problem in Hollywood : 55,58

In the rest of the country : 45,22

Factor by which George W. Bush’s popularity among Democrats has increased since 2009 : 4

Average number of days the National Rifle Association waits to tweet after a major mass shooting : 6.3

Date on which New York City repealed a law requiring bars to have a license to allow dancing : 10/31/2017

Estimated percentage of bars that had such a license : 0.4

Amount a Canadian man was fined for singing “Everybody Dance Now” too loudly in his car : $117




December Index

Minimum number of times since September 2015 that Donald Trump has referred to Christmas in speeches : 23

Number of those references that suggested the holiday was under attack : 19

Ratio of white millennials who view the Republican Party favorably to those who view the Democratic Party favorably : 1:1

Percentage by which opioid prescriptions outnumber residents in Trinity County, California : 44

Portion of migrants found dead in southern Arizona since 2001 who have yet to be identified : 2/5

Percentage of US births that are paid for by Medicaid : 47

Year in which wild bison were last observed in Germany before a sighting in September of this year : 1755

Estimated hours after the sighting that the bison was killed by a local hunter : 5






November Index

Number of U.S. states in which legislation has been proposed this year to protect drivers who strike protesters : 6

Number of apartments the president of Azerbaijan gave to journalists on National Press Day : 255

Of Azerbaijani journalists who are imprisoned as a result of their work : 10

Portion of Russians who have seen no economic growth since the fall of the Soviet Union : 1/2

Minimum percentage of inmates in local U.S. jails who have been homeless : 15

Daily wage a prisoner in Portland, Oregon, is paid to clear out homeless camps : $1

Average number of people who report being bitten by squirrels in New York City annually : 55