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How 9/11 changed America: In statistics
Five years after the 11 September attacks, how has America changed? Click through these graphs to explore long-term trends in selected aspects of life. We include the five years preceding 2001 for comparison. Click the arrows below to see key events.

US defence spending remained fairly steady throughout the late 1990s but since 2002 it has climbed by about $50bn each financial year (Oct-Sep).

Graph of national defence spending. It is level at about 265$bn a year until 2002 when it starts rising, hitting 535 by Oct 2005

Flights within the US were grounded because of the attacks, and incoming international flights were diverted to Canada. Services resumed within a few days but it took years for the market to recover.

Graph of passengers boarding flights in the US. There is a gradual upward trend, with seasonal peaks and troughs, until it drops dramatically in September 2001. The market has only just recovered.

On becoming president, George W Bush's approval rating dipped below that of his predecessor, Bill Clinton. But Mr Bush was seen to have handled the 9/11 crisis well and his rating soared to 86% in late 2001 before falling below 50% as the Iraq war lengthened.

Graph of presidential approval rating, quarterly average as polled by Gallup. Bill Clinton's approval rating hovers between the mid 50s and mid 60s. When George W Bush becomes president his rating dips and then soars after 9/11. However it falls away again from mid-2003 onwards, ending at 41%.

Reports of Muslims being targeted because of their religion was virtually unheard of before 9/11, hovering at around 30 incidents a year. After spiking in 2001, incidents have levelled off at about 150 a year (2005 figures are not yet available).*

Bar chart of reported incidents of anti-Islamic hate crime. There only about 30 incidents per year prior to 2001 when the figure climbs to 481. It has since fallen to about 165 incidents per year.

Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was relatively low on the list of news priorities before the World Trade Center attacks. He has once again fallen down the news agenda as efforts to find him have failed.*

Bar chart of mentions of Osama Bin Laden in US newspapers. The figures climb from a very low base in the mid 1990s (68 mentions in 1996) to over 32000 mentions in 2001, falling to almost 7000 mentions in 2005.

Key Events

Click on the arrows above to view details of key events.

Rescuers at the Nairobi bomb site

7 August 1998: Embassy bombings


The US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania were hit simultaneously by car bombs. More than 230 people were killed and at least 4,000 were injured, most of them African citizens. An al-Qaeda cell was linked to the bombings and awareness of Osama Bin Laden began to rise around the world.

Danage to the side of the USS Cole

12 October 2000: USS Cole hit


Two attackers on a small boat carrying up to 500lb (225 kg) of high explosives rammed into the destroyer USS Cole as it was refuelling in the port of Aden, Yemen. Seventeen American sailors were killed, and at least 40 were wounded. Six people were later charged, of whom two were given the death penalty by a Yemeni court.

George W Bush being sworn in

20 January 2001: Bush sworn in


George W Bush was inaugurated as the 43rd President of the United States after a long and tortuous election process that ended in the Supreme Court.

During his address he pledged: "We will build our defences beyond challenge, lest weakness invite challenge."

Northern Alliance fighters watch US air strikes

7 October 2001: Afghanistan


The US and Britain launched air and missile strikes in Afghanistan, marking the start of the "War on Terror". Special forces entered the country and joined the Afghan Northern Alliance with the aim of rounding up the Taleban and al-Qaeda members and finding Osama Bin Laden. Many of those arrested ended up at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

President Bush signs the USA Patriot Act (Pic: White House)

26 October 2001: Patriot Act


President Bush signed the controversial USA Patriot Act. Supporters of the Act said it was necessary to enhance security within America but opponents said it impinged on individuals' freedoms. A revised version of the Act was passed earlier in 2006.

Aerial bombardment of Baghdad

20 March 2003: Attack on Iraq


After many months of UN diplomacy in an effort to avoid war, bombing of Iraq began. American forces began an air assault on Baghdad while British forces took action in the south of the country with the aim of taking Basra.

Bush supporters wave at a victory rally

2 November 2004: Bush re-elected


George W Bush scored a close victory over his challenger John Kerry, with the state of Ohio deciding the contest. "America has spoken and I am humbled by the trust and confidence of my fellow citizens," Mr Bush said.

Just over 55% of the electorate turned out, 5% higher than in 2000.

*Please note, statistics for hate crime and Bin Laden mentions are annual totals.




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