47 Members of Congress Still Have Student Loan Debt (and Other Surprising Statistics)
How much do CEOs make compared to regular employees? How many CEOs of major corporations are women? What percentage of jobs do small businesses provide? Have incomes risen or fallen in recent years? You'll find answers to those questions and many others in the sometimes surprising statistics listed below.
Sometime the numbers seem to tell a story. For example, the minimum wage fell in real terms in the last 50 years while the economic output per person more than doubled. We are more deeply in debt than ever, even while incomes are falling. Most people are unhappy at work, yet an article about good jobs gets 1,000 times as many shares as one about businesses you can start with nothing. Most young Americans think they'll be rich, even though the US is nowhere near the top of the list of countries for median household wealth.
What does it all mean? We'll leave the interpretations to you, and we invite you to share your comments.
A Few Surprising Statistics About...
Drop in median household income in the US from 2007 to 2013: 8%
US per-capita GDP (in constant 2009 dollars) at the end of 1964: $19,593
US per-capita GDP (in constant 2009 dollars) at the end of 2014: $50,902
Growth in real GDP (per capita) from 1964 to 2014: 260%
Percentage of Americans who say it's important for the United States to be in first place in the world economically: 50
Ranking of the US for median household income: 6th
Ranking of the US for median net worth: 19th
Norway's per-capita income versus that of Liberia: 163 times as high
Total annual gross domestic product of the 48 lowest-GDP countries in the world: $63 billion
Google's revenue for 2014: $66 billion
Federal minimum wage at the end of 1964 ($1.25), adjusted for inflation: $9.27
Federal minimum wage at the end of 2014: $7.25
Change in real minimum wage from 1964 to 2014: - 22%
Average pay for CEOs of S&P 500 companies versus average production and nonsupervisory worker in 1983: 46 times as high
Average pay for CEOs of S&P 500 companies versus average production and nonsupervisory worker in 2013: 331 times as high
Percentage of CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies that are held by women: 4.8
Unemployment rate at the beginning of 2010: 9.8%
Labor force participation rate (those of working age who are employed) in 2010: 64.8%
Unemployment rate at the beginning of 2015: 5.7%
Labor force participation rate (those of working age who are employed) in 2015: 62.9%
Percentage of employees worldwide who are "not engaged," or "actively disengaged" at work, which Gallup defines as lacking motivation or being "unhappy and unproductive at work and liable to spread negativity to coworkers:" 87
Average annual turnover rate for employees in the United States: 15%
Number of small businesses in the US: 23 million
Percentage of employees in the US that work for a small business: 54
Percentage of companies with employees that are still around after four years: 50
Of the companies with employees closed within four years (50%), the percentage that closed reasons other than lack of profitability: 34
Total percentage of companies with employees that failed outright within four years: 33
Number of social media shares in the first six months for our article on businesses you can start with nothing: 20
Number of social media shares in the first three months for our article on businesses that hire remote workers: 23,200
Hopes and Realities
Average starting salary for US graduates with a bachelor's degree: $45,000
Percentage of Americans aged 18 to 29 who believe they'll get rich: 54
Percentage of US households earning more than $200,000 annually: 4
Percentage of US residents between 18 and 34 who are living with their parents: 29
Debt and Spending
Your projected share of future government spending if you live in the US, are age 22, make $45,000 per year and have a bachelor's degree: $1.79 million
Current government debt per resident in the US: $58,604
Average mortgage debt in US: $147,591
Average credit card debt for households carrying debt: $15,611
Average amount college graduates who borrow owe upon graduation: $28,400
Members of congress who still have student debt: 47
Percentage of Americans who have debt in collections: 35
Percentage increase in Christmas spending by U.S. consumers from 2008 to 2014: 27
Politics and Money
Net worth of the poorest member of congress (Republican David Valadao): - $3.7 million
Net worth of the richest member of congress (Republican Darrell Issa): $357 million
Money spent per Wyoming voter for political TV ads and campaigns in 2014 U.S. midterm elections: $0.08
Money spent per Alaskan voter for political TV ads and campaigns in 2014 U.S. midterm elections: $12.35
Average net worth per adult of people living in the US: $301,000
Median net worth per adult of people living in the US: $44,900
Did Those Last Two Surprise You?
If you found the last two statistics surprising or even confusing, you might need to read a short tutorial on the "median" versus the "mean" (average), which brings us to our last bit of data...
Ratio of Americans who do not understand statistics: 5 out of 4
Your Turn: Were you surprised by some of these statistics, and in what ways do you think they're significant?
Steve Gillman is the author of "101 Weird Ways to Make Money" and creator of EveryWayToMakeMoney.com. He's been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror, and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).