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Quality of Life Index // OUR TIMES AS TOLD BY STATISTICS

Number of schoolchildren expected to visit the Florida Aquarium during its first year: 120,000

Percentage growth in payrolls for businesses other than farms in the Tampa metro area, May 1994 to May 1995: 4.1

Tampa's rank among the nation's top metro areas for growth of non-farm payrolls: 10

Annual deficit for the Florida Orchestra as of May 31, 1994: $1,386,868

Estimated annual surplus for the Florida Orchestra one year later: $20,000

The rank of Tampa International Airport, out of the nation's 28 biggest airports, in a recent survey of frequent travelers on the best place to spend a layover: 25

Average price per gallon of regular, self-service gasoline in Tampa, 1994: $1.08

Average price per gallon of regular, self-service gasoline statewide, 1994: $1.12

Percentage of Hillsborough County high school seniors who demonstrated that their math skills were ready for college when they took entry-level placement tests: 78

Percentage of high school seniors statewide who demonstrated college-ready math skills when they took placement tests: 69.7

Sources for the Quality of Life Index

School children: The Florida Aquarium.

Non-farm payroll growth: Florida Trend, October 1995, citing an analysis by the Dr. Phillips Institute for the Study of American Business Activity, College Administration, UCF, with data from the U.S. Department of Labor. Orlando's non-farm payrolls grew 6.4 percent during the same 12 months -- the nation's second fastest rate. Fort Lauderdale's non-farm payrolls grew 4.8 percent, good enough for the seventh fastest rate in the nation.

Florida Orchestra: Noteworthy, fall 1995, an occasional newsletter from the Florida Orchestra.

Tampa International Airport: Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Sept. 13, 1995, reporting on a poll of 1,100 frequent travelers. The poll was conducted by the PLUS ATM network -- the automated teller system -- for Travel Holiday magazine. Poll responses asked about the convenience and accessibility to distractions ranging from eating and drinking establishments to shopping and people-watching. Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta ranked as the best airport in the nation to spend a layover. Following Tampa in the least-popular category were airports in Las Vegas (the boarding area slot machines notwithstanding), Salt Lake City and San Diego.

Gas prices: "1994 Florida Motor Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Report," April 1995, published by the Florida Department of Community Affairs, Florida Energy Office.

Math skills: Florida Department of Education statistics for 1993-94.

Compiled by RICHARD DANIELSON with contributions from STEPHEN HEGARTY and BARBARA HIJEK.

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