Top 25 Things Vanishing From America II

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Top 25 Things Vanishing From America II
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Top 25 Things Vanishing From America II
The landscape of America is constantly changing. As culture shifts and new technologies and products are introduced, this is to be expected. But some things are impacted more than others and the once-ubiquitous can even become extinct.

For the second time, WalletPop takes a look at 25 such things that are quickly disappearing from our country. From maple syrup to Catholic schools to newspapers, we count down 25 more things you may not be able to find in the U.S. for very much longer.

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 25
By the 2000 Census, the number of Americans who lacked indoor plumbing was down to 0.6%. Even though that's still an awful lot of Americans using an outhouse or pit toilet -- 670,000 households or 1.3 million people -- it's a huge improvement from 1950 when 27% of households (and over half of rural households) didn't have complete indoor plumbing.
' Full Post on Pit Toilets

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 24
It's a pivotal time for the global Yellow Pages industry. Much like newspapers, print Yellow Pages will continue to bleed dollars to their various digital counterparts, from Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs), to local search engines and combination search/listing services like ReachLocal and Yodle. Factors like an acceleration of the print "fade rate" and the looming recession will contribute to the onslaught. One research firm predicts the falloff in usage of newspapers and print Yellow Pages could even reach 10% in 2008 -- much higher than the 2%-3% fade rate seen in past years.
' Full Post on Yellow Pages
Next: Vanishing Thing No. 23
The Internet has made so many things obsolete that newspaper classified ads might sound like just another trivial item on a long list. But this is one of those harbingers of the future that could signal the end of civilization as we know it. The argument is that if newspaper classifieds are replaced by free online listings at sites like Craigslist.org and Google Base, then newspapers are not far behind them.
' Full Post on Classified Ads

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 22
While Netflix is looking up at the moment, Blockbuster keeps closing store locations by the hundreds. It still has about 6,000 left across the world, but those keep dwindling and the stock was down considerably in 2008, especially since the company gave up a quest of Circuit City. Movie Gallery, which owned the Hollywood Video brand, closed up shop earlier this year. Countless small video chains and mom-and-pop stores have given up the ghost already.
' Full Post on Movie Rental Stores

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 21
Dial-up connections have fallen from 40% in 2001 to 10% in 2008. The combination of an infrastructure to accommodate affordable high speed Internet connections and the disappearing home phone have all but pounded the final nail in the coffin of dial-up Internet access.
' Full Post on Dial-up Access

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 20
According to a survey from the National Center for Health Statistics, at the end of 2007, nearly one in six homes was cell-only and, of those homes that had landlines, one in eight only received calls on their cells.
' Full Post on Landlines

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 19
Maryland's icon, the blue crab, has been fading away in Chesapeake Bay. In 2007, Maryland saw the lowest harvest (22 million pounds) since 1945. Just four decades ago the bay produced 96 million pounds. The population is down 70% since 1990, when they first did a formal count. There are only about 120 million crabs in the bay and they think they need 200 million for a sustainable population. Overfishing, pollution, invasive species and global warming get the blame.
' Full Post on Blue Crabs

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 18
For the better part of three decades, the VCR was a best-seller and staple in every American household until being completely decimated by the DVD, and now the Digital Video Recorder (DVR). In fact, the only remnants of the VHS age at your local Wal-Mart or Radio Shack are blank VHS tapes these days. Pre-recorded VHS tapes are largely gone and VHS decks are practically nowhere to be found.
' Full Post on VCRs

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 17
In the late 1990s, a pretty, irridescent green species of beetle, now known as the emerald ash borer, hitched a ride to North America with ash wood products imported from eastern Asia. In less than a decade, its larvae have killed millions of trees in the midwest, and continue to spread. They've killed more than 30 million ash trees in southeastern Michigan alone, with tens of millions more lost in Ohio and Indiana. More than 7.5 billion ash trees are currently at risk.
' Full Post on Ash Trees

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 16
Amateur radio operators enjoy personal (and often worldwide) wireless communications with each other and are able to support their communities with emergency and disaster communications if necessary, while increasing their personal knowledge of electronics and radio theory. However, proliferation of the Internet and its popularity among youth has caused the decline of amateur radio. In the past five years alone, the number of people holding active ham radio licenses has dropped by 50,000, even though Morse Code is no longer a requirement.
' Full Post on Ham Radio
Next: Vanishing Thing No. 15
Thanks to our litigious society, swimming holes are becoming a thing of the past. '20/20' reports that swimming hole owners, like Robert Every in High Falls, N.Y., are shutting them down out of worry that if someone gets hurt they'll sue. And that's exactly what happened in Seattle. The city of Bellingham was sued by Katie Hofstetter who was paralyzed in a fall at a popular swimming hole in Whatcom Falls Park. As injuries occur and lawsuits follow, expect more swimming holes to post "Keep out!" signs.
' Full Post on Swimming Holes
Next: Vanishing Thing No. 14
The increasing disappearance of answering machines is directly tied to No. 20 our list -- the decline of landlines. According to USA Today, the number of homes that only use cell phones jumped 159% between 2004 and 2007. It has been particularly bad in New York; since 2000, landline usage has dropped 55%. It's logical that as cell phones rise, many of them replacing traditional landlines, that there will be fewer answering machines.
' Full Post on Answering Machines

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 13
It doesn't require a statistician to prove the rapid disappearance of the film camera in America. Just look to companies like Nikon, the professional's choice for quality camera equipment. In 2006, it announced that it would stop making film cameras, pointing to the shrinking market -- only 3% of its sales in 2005, compared to 75% of sales from digital cameras and equipment.
' Full Post on Film Cameras

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 12
Before a few years ago, the standard 60-watt (or, yikes, 100-watt) bulb was the mainstay of every U.S. home. With the green movement and all-things-sustainable-energy crowd, the Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb (CFL) is largely replacing the older, Edison-era incandescent bulb. The EPA reports that 2007 sales for Energy Star CFLs nearly doubled from 2006, and these sales accounted for approximately 20 percent of the U.S. light bulb market. And according to USA Today, a new energy bill plans to phase out incandescent bulbs in the next four to 12 years.
' Full Post on Bulbs
Next: Vanishing Thing No. 11
BowlingBalls.US claims there are still 60 million Americans who bowl at least once a year, but many are not bowling in stand-alone bowling alleys. Today most new bowling alleys are part of facilities for all types or recreation including laser tag, go-karts, bumper cars, video game arcades, climbing walls and glow miniature golf. Bowling lanes also have been added to many non-traditional venues such as adult communities, hotels and resorts, and gambling casinos.
' Full Post on Bowling Alleys

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 10
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 1950, over half of the milk delivered was to the home in quart bottles, by 1963, it was about a third and by 2001, it represented only 0.4% percent. Nowadays most milk is sold through supermarkets in gallon jugs. The steady decline in home-delivered milk is blamed, of course, on the rise of the supermarket, better home refrigeration and longer-lasting milk. Although some milkmen still make the rounds in pockets of the U.S., they are certainly a dying breed.
' Full Post on the Milkman

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 9
In 2006, the Radicati Group estimated that, worldwide, 183 billion e-mails were sent each day. Two million each second. By November of 2007, an estimated 3.3 billion Earthlings owned cell phones, and 80% of the world's population had access to cell phone coverage. In 2004, half-a-trillion text messages were sent, and the number has no doubt increased exponentially since then. So where amongst this gorge of gabble is there room for the elegant, polite hand-written letter?
' Full Post on Hand-Written Letters

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 8
It is estimated that 100 years ago, as many as two million horses were roaming free within the United States. In 2001, National Geographic News estimated that the wild horse population had decreased to about 50,000 head. Currently, the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory board states that there are 32,000 free roaming horses in ten Western states, with half of them residing in Nevada. The Bureau of Land Management is seeking to reduce the total number of free range horses to 27,000, possibly by selective euthanasia.
' Full Post on Wild Horses

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 7
According to an American Bankers Assoc. report, a net 23% of consumers plan to decrease their use of checks over the next two years, while a net 14% plan to increase their use of PIN debit. Bill payment remains the last stronghold of paper-based payments -- for the time being. Checks continue to be the most commonly used bill payment method, with 71% of consumers paying at least one recurring bill per month by writing a check. However, on a bill-by-bill basis, checks account for only 49% of consumers' recurring bill payments (down from 72% in 2001 and 60% in 2003).
' Full Post on Personal Checks
Next: Vanishing Thing No. 6
During the peak in 1958, there were more than 4,000 drive-in theaters in this country, but in 2007 only 405 drive-ins were still operating. Exactly zero new drive-ins have been built since 2005. Only one reopened in 2005 and five reopened in 2006, so there isn't much of a movement toward reviving the closed ones. (Update: The number of drive-ins dropped to only 384 by the end of 2008.)
' Full Post on Drive-in Theaters

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 5
Despite what's been in the news lately, the measles and mumps actually, truly are disappearing from the United States. In 1964, 212,000 cases of mumps were reported in the U.S. By 1983, this figure had dropped to 3,000, thanks to a vigorous vaccination program. Prior to the introduction of the measles vaccine, approximately half a million cases of measles were reported in the U.S. annually, resulting in 450 deaths. In 2005, only 66 cases were recorded.
' Full Post on Mumps/Measles

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 4
Perhaps nothing on our list of disappearing America is so dire; plummeting so enormously; and so necessary to the survival of our food supply as the honey bee. 'Colony Collapse Disorder,' or CCD, has spread throughout the U.S. and Europe over the past few years, wiping out 50% to 90% of the colonies of many beekeepers -- and along with it, their livelihood.
' Full Post on Honey Bees

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 3
While the TV evening newscasts haven't gone anywhere over the last several decades, their audiences have. In 1984, in a story about the diminishing returns of the evening news, the New York Times reported that all three network evening-news programs combined had only 40.9 million viewers. Fast forward to 2008, and what they have today is half that.
' Full Post on Today's News

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 2
According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 85% of homes in the U.S. get their television programming through cable or satellite providers. For the remaining 15% -- or 13 million individuals -- who are using rabbit ears or a large outdoor antenna to get their local stations, change is in the air. If you are one of these people you'll need to get a new TV or a converter box in order to get the new stations which will only be broadcast in digital.
' Full Post on Analog TV
Next: Vanishing Thing No. 1
Since the 1930s, the number of family farms has been declining rapidly. According to the USDA, 5.3 million farms dotted the nation in 1950, but this number had declined to 2.1 million by the 2003 farm census (data from the 2007 census hasn't yet been published). Ninety-one percent of the U.S. farms are small family farms.
' Full Post on The Family Farm

More: More Popular Features
For decades, large corporations employed typists by the thousands, all-but-anonymous key wranglers who worked in typing pools turning scrawls into professional letters, memos and reports. However, progress has left most of the typing jobs in the dust. The computer, which makes correcting mistakes so easy, has led to the expectation that many mid-level executives will handle their own correspondence.
' Full Post on Professional Typists

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 24
There was a time when parochial schools seemed almost omnipresent, when the daily migration of kids in plaid clothes seemed to fill every street. However, with enrollments plummeting and one school after another closing its doors, the torrent of Catholic school kids has become a trickle, and it looks like the days of Catholic education may well be numbered.
' Full Post on Catholic Schools

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 23
Ka-ching -- it's a synonym for making money -- the sound of the cash register ringing up a sale. Lots of people still say it, but some of them don't know its origins because they have never heard the real thing. Cash registers that go "ka-ching" have been replaced by silent computers or self-checkout machines whose nasal artificial voices annoy more than help when they whine, "Don't forget to take your change."
' Full Post on the Ka-Ching Sound

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 22
The salmon is deeply, deeply in trouble. 'New York Times' writer Taras Grescoe says he's no longer eating salmon, pointing to the grocery stores of America, where 90 percent of the salmon is farm-raised and, he believes, unhealthy both to the eater and the environment; there's evidence that parasites in the enormous net-cages run by salmon farms are treated with pesticides, and that salmon are being fed soy.
' Full Post on Wild Salmon

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 21
Back in the days before playgrounds, dog parks, and play dates, city kids played in a space unmatched for variety, challenge and mystery -- the alley. Today, hardly any housing developments incorporate alleys. The narrow pathways seem now to be a threat to our security, an intrusion on the privacy of our back yard, and an additional cost to the city budget.
' Full Post on Alleys

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 20
Amid ever-increasing evidence of the cancer risk involved with grilling and the slow expansion of laws regulating the use of outdoor cookers, it seems like charcoal is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. However, before we bid farewell to one of America's signature culinary experiences, it might be worthwhile to consider whether the quest for eternal life is worth the loss of summer pleasure.
' Full Post on Charcoal

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 19
At one time, going door to door with a snow shovel was the first step a child took toward an entrepreneurial future. These kids were a godsend to the elderly and infirm, who paid them a pittance but took comfort in knowing they had played a part in the teaching the kid the meaning of capitalism. Today, however, many of us hire professionals to tend our lawns, because the pool of willing teenagers has dried up.
' Full Post on Kids & Odd Jobs

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 18
In 2006, floor traders handled 86 percent of shares traded in a single day. A year later, that number plummeted to 20 percent. The elimination of human errors, especially those that rack up expensive fines, and increased speed and efficiency are reasons why technology looks so much better compared to the sweltering, yelling, frantic hand gesturing of the trading pits.
' Full Post on Stock Exchange Trading Pits

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 17
It's hard to find a manual transmission these days. In 1980, J.D. Powers and Associates estimates that more than 35 percent of all cars sold had a stick shift. By 2005, that number had dropped to 6 percent. Four years later, finding a car with a manual transmission is a big challenge -- you have to go either high end or very low end. 2008 was the last year that any manufacturer of full-size trucks offered a manual transmission.
' Full Post on Stick Shifts

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 16
About 12.5 million U.S. households report not spending the average $55 per month required to have cable or satellite TV delivered to their television sets, according to information provided by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). In other words, not very many people limit their viewing to over-the-air TV anymore.
' Full Post on Homes Without Cable

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 15
The company match for employee 401(k)s is disappearing -- just at the point where we need it most. The Pension Rights Center has been keeping track of the phenomena. As of early March, 138 of the nation's largest and most prominent companies have ditched the 401(k) match. That's too bad because not only do matches put more money in employees' pockets, they also motivate us to save more.
' Full Post on 401(k) Matches

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 14
If you're under 40, it's likely you're on your own when it comes to arranging your dental care. In your daddy's day, every self-respecting company included full benefits as part of its package. That cushy treatment is in the rear-view mirror. If you have a dental plan as part of your job, smile! You're one of the lucky ones.
' Full Post on Dental Coverage

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 13
When was the last time you went to a butcher? Not the person stashed at the back of the grocery store, far from the light of day, but an honest-to-goodness butcher in his own storefront. If you're living in America, chances are you've never been to one at all. They've become as antiquated as five-and-dimes and general stores.
' Full Post on Butcher Shops

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 12
Most of us have been privileged to know someone who was able to fix our cars on their driveway. These shade tree mechanics would take on auto repair jobs as simple as changing motor oil, or as complex as replacing an entire engine. They often charged reasonable and negotiable rates for their work. But today's motor vehicles are carefully engineered puzzles of sensors, relays, circuits, and space age connectors which demand tools and knowledge not always readily available to Joe average.
' Full Post on Shade Tree Mechanics

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 11
As the housing bubble inflated, you saw hundreds of programs about how to buy a house with zero- percent down. Don't expect to find that strategy will work for you today. While you may still find some foreclosure deals that allow zero-percent down if the bank wants to cut you a deal to get rid of its inventory, you won't find that type of deal on traditional resales.
' Full Post on No-Down-Payment Loans

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 10
You may still be offered zero-percent balance transfers if your credit score is above 720, but those offers are dwindling rapidly. As credit defaults rise, expect credit card interest rates to rise as well. Many credit card companies are pulling back dramatically and some are pulling out.
' Full Post on 0% Balance Transfers

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 9
I'm not one who believes that the old days were better days, but I do sometimes long for a time when people in commerce were more aware of who provided the money that paid their salary, and acted at least slightly appreciative.
' Full Post on Customer Service

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 8
Buh-bye, Dora the Explorer and your fairy princess castle. Catch you later, phthalates in baby bottles. There's a new sheriff in town. Make that the CPSIA-riff. As of February 10th, penalties go into effect for any retailer or manufacturer knowingly selling toys or any other children's products containing levels of toxins above government standards.
' Full Post on Known Toxins in Children's Products

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 7
Lately, maple syrup prices have skyrocketed. Last year was a terrible year for maple syrup, but what happened in 2007 was the real killer: Canadian reserves were exhausted (did you know there were maple syrup reserves? There are!) and prices went up 30 percent. So last year, when the season turned out terrible, prices went up steeply, 70 percent for some grades, driving the delicious syrup out of the family pantry and off restaurant menus.
' Full Post on Maple Syrup

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 6
Does your neighborhood have sidewalks? If you do, you're one of the lucky ones. Although, he doesn't have statistics to back it up, WalletPop blogger Geoff Williams thinks the neighborhood sidewalk is a dying breed. There are none in his subdivision (built in the 1990s) and virtually none in his area for miles. He has found that anywhere that's been built up in the last 20 years seems to lack neighborhood sidewalks. He hopes it's a trend that doesn't continue.
' Full Post on Sidewalks

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 5
Fax machines are becoming obsolete as folks use e-mail, Blackberries, texting and other technology to communicate. The interlinking of e-mail, information, directories, etc., is so smooth that e-mail almost disappears as a separate function. In the next five years, more than half of all bills will be sent by e-mail as more and more companies move towards paperless systems.
' Full Post on Fax Machines

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 4
Do you feel as if you're worth less than you were just one year ago? Speaking in a monetary sense, nearly all of us Americans are. Net worth, the result of that calculation which subtracts liabilities from assets to reveal true equity value, has taken a nose dive for most Americans. For some of us, the change has been negligible. For others of us, the change has been particularly devastating.
' Full Post on Your Net Worth

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 3
Even back when 'ER' arrived, the 10 PM drama was in some trouble. Three years earlier, in 1991, the 'Atlanta Journal Constitution' observed, "Viewers are turning away from late-night heaviness. There hasn't been a hit 10 PM drama introduced since 'LA Law' debuted five years ago." In 1994, networks were going with inexpensively produced news series like 'Prime Time Live,' 'Turning Point,' 'Dateline NBC' and '48 Hours.'
' Full Post on the 10 PM Drama

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 2
There's nothing quite so gut-wrenching as watching the mighty titans of news fall. The list of papers entering bankruptcy or threatening to close outright reads, to me, at least, like the obituary of old friends. 'The New York Times' just mortgaged its own building to shore up its finances. The 'Philadelphia Inquirer,' the 'Miami Herald,' and the 'San Jose Mercury News' have all suffered debilitating layoffs.
' Full Post on the Daily Newspaper

Next: Vanishing Thing No. 1
Heritage Community Bank, Silver Falls Bank, Sherman County Bank, Columbia Community Bank ... the names of small community banks either closed by the FDIC, or struggling, reads on like a somber trip down the memories of a bucolic past. With our economic crisis, will we lose the small community banks that are so much a part of our heritage, their very names reflect it? The biggest risk for small community banks could be the small business loan. If home values plummet further, the ripple effect could mean small businesses failing at record rates.
' Full Post on Community Banks
More: See Last Year's Vanishing Things
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