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

Manatee deaths in Hillsborough County, 1994: 4

Manatee deaths in Hillsborough, 1995: 6

Percentage of Tampa residents who recycle once a week or more: 56

Number of visitors to Busch Gardens last year: 3.8-million

Rank of Busch Gardens among the top 10 amusement and theme parks in the nation: 9th

Number of amusement or theme parks in the Orlando area in the top 10: 5

Number of residential buildings permitted in Hillsborough County during July, August and September of 1995: 1,224

Residential permits issued in Hillsborough during the third quarter of 1994: 1,202

Average travel time to work, in minutes, in Hillsborough: 22.2

Average travel time to work, in minutes, statewide: 21.8

Percentage decrease in same-store retail spending nationwide, December 1994 to December 1995: -4.1

Percentage increase in retail spending in Tampa, December 1994 to December 1995: +2.1

Compiled by RICHARD DANIELSON with contributions from BARBARA HIJEK.

Sources for Quality of Life Index,

Manatee deaths: Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Statewide, the number of manatee deaths last year was the second highest since the state began keeping count in 1974. A total of 201 manatees died last year, compared to 193 in 1994. The record is 206 manatee deaths in 1990. State officials estimate that approximately a fifth of the manatee population has died in the past two years.

Recycling: Tampa Recycling News, Winter '95, published by the city of Tampa Solid Waste Department.

Theme parks: Amusement Business, citing figures from Dec. 5, 1994, through Nov. 27, 1995. Orlando's theme parks, with last year's attendance in parentheses, in the top 10 list were the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World (12.9-million); EPCOT at Walt Disney World (10.7-million); Disney-MGM Studios (9.5-million); Universal Studios Florida (8-million); and Sea World of Florida (4.95-million).

Building permits: Permits, November 1995, a building permit report by the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission.

Travel time: Florida County Rankings 1994, published by the University of Florida, Bureau of Economic and Business Research, College of Business Administration.

Retail spending: TeleCheck Services Inc. of Houston, the world's largest check acceptance company. The TeleCheck Retail Index is based on a year-over-year, same-store comparison of the dollar volume of authorized checks written by consumers at more than 17,000 of TeleCheck's 150,000 subscribing locations. Figures are not adjusted for inflation. Checks account for 37 percent of retail spending.

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