Thursday, March 22, 2012

The 1% v. the Average American, Visualized

From Credit Card Expert, via The Big Picture, we have the following infographic, which shows us that the 1% really are very different from everybody else:

I'm surprised by a couple of things - for one, the 1% have WAY more savings and net worth than the average American - WAY more than might be suggested by the difference between 50% and 99% (yes, I'm well aware that median ≠ mean, but close enough for our purposes). Why is this? Because income and wealth are distributed according to a power law, which is why taxes have to be highly progressive, if we are going to prevent the accumulation of wealth in the hands of a select few and leave everyone else with lackluster public education, crumbling infrastructure, and the like.

In addition, the average credit score of the 1% strikes me as awfully low, given their income. Here's the distribution of FICO scores in the United States:


To me, something looks amiss with the credit score statistics in the infographic, but other than that, it all makes sense.

So, what does being in the 1% give you? Mainly, access to a lot more money. In theory, this should free the 1% from money problems and enable them to spend their time and energy on other issues, such as their family, health, etc. - and we see a little bit of that reflected in the above infographic, as the 1% are more likely to be married and have children. The 1% are also twice as likely to have inherited money as the average American - perhaps it takes money to make money, as they say.

P.S. Sorry for the short absence - I've been in Seattle for the past several days, and am trying to get back into the swing of things here in DC. I'll be in DC for a couple of months straight, and then I have more travel planned in the second half of May. It's been/will continue to be a busy winter/spring!

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