100 facts about the economy|
Big thanks to Paul, the wordslinger and flyer
teacher from Texas for this bit.
1. As of January 2013, there are 16 people left in the world who were born in
the 1800s, according to the Gerontology Research Group. With dividends
reinvested, U.S. stocks have increased 28,000-fold during their lifetimes.
2. If you divide their net worths by their age, Carlos Slim and Bill Gates
have each accumulated more than $100,000 in net worth for every hour they've
3. According to Forbes, if a Google (NASDAQ: GOOG ) employee passes away,
"their surviving spouse or domestic partner will receive a check for 50% of
their salary every year for the next decade."
4. According to the Deutsche Bank Long-Term Asset Return Study, the last time
interest rates were near current levels, in the 1950s, Treasury bonds lost 40%
of their inflation-adjusted value over the following three decades.
5. According to a study by Harvard professor David Wise and two colleagues,
46.1% of Americans die with less than $10,000 in assets.
6. There are 3.8 million fewer Americans aged 30 to 44 today than there were
a decade ago.
7. Related: The population of Americans aged 30 to 44 is about to start
increasing for the first time since 2000.
8. Since 1928, the Dow Jones has increased more than 10% in a single day
eight times, declined more than 10% in a single day four times, and gone either
up or down more than 5% in a single day 136 times.
9. "U.S. oil production grew more in 2012 than in any year in the history of
the domestic industry, which began in 1859," writes Tom Fowler of The Wall
10. "Last year, for the first time, spending by Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) and
Google on patent lawsuits and unusually big-dollar patent purchases exceeded
spending on research and development of new products," writes The New York
11. Start with a dollar. Double it every day. In 48 days you'll own every
financial asset that exists on the planet -- about $200 trillion.
12. There were fewer state and local education jobs in 2012 than there were
in 2005, even though the number of 5- to 18-year-olds has increased by 600,000.
13. Adjusting for inflation, Warren Buffet was a millionaire by age 25.
14. Including dividends, the S&P 500 gained 135% from March 2009 through
January 2013, during what people remember as the "Great Recession." It gained
the exact same amount from 1996 to 2000, during what people remember as the
"greatest bull market in history."
15. "97% of the world's population now lives in countries where the fertility
rate is falling," writes author Jonathan Last.
16. The U.K. economy is 3.3% smaller than it was in 2008. The U.S. economy is
2.9% larger (both adjusted for inflation).
17. In 1980, there were 15,099 Americans aged 100 years or more. By 1990,
there were 36,486, and by 2012 there were 88,510, according to the Census
18. Dell (NASDAQ: DELL ) "has spent more money on share repurchases than it
earned throughout its life as a public company," writes Floyd Norris of The New
19. From 2006 to 2011, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) spent $51 billion on
share repurchases at an average price of $40.80 per share. Shares currently
trade at $16.50.
20. The International Labour Organization estimates a record 200 million
people will be unemployed around the world in 2013. If you gave them their own
country, it would be the fifth-largest in the world.
21. Despite the overall population doubling, more babies were born in the
U.S. in 1956 than were born in 2009, 2010, or 2011.
22. According to The Telegraph, "Four in 10 girls born today is expected to
live to 100. ... If trends continue, the majority of girls born in 2060 -- some
60 per cent -- will live to see 2160."
23. Apple's cash and investments are now equal to the GDP of Hungary and more
than those of Vietnam and Iraq.
24. Netflix surged more than 50% on Jan. 24 from the previous day's low.
$1,000 invested in short-term call options would have been worth $2 million in
less than 24 hours. (Please don't try this at home.)
25. In December, a start-up called Contrail Systems was purchased for $176
million two days after it launched.
26. U.S. charitable giving was $298 billion in 2011, according to the Giving
USA Foundation. That's more than the GDP of all but 33 countries in the world.
27. According to Bloomberg, "The 50 stocks in the S&P 500 with the lowest
analyst ratings at the end of 2011 posted an average return of 23 percent [in
2012], outperforming the index by 7 percentage points."
28. "Globally, the production of a given quantity of crop requires 65% less
land than it did in 1961," writes author Matt Ridley.
29. Thanks in large part to cellphone cameras, "Ten percent of all of the
photographs made in the entire history of photography were made last year,"
according to Time.
30. Internal emails caught a team of Morgan Stanley employees sarcastically
naming a subprime CDO in 2007. "Nuclear Holocaust," "Mike Tyson's Punchout," "Hitman,"
"Meltdown," and "S***bag" were all considered.
31. Since 2008, Americans have donated $19.1 million to the U.S. Treasury to
help pay down the national debt.
32. Fortune magazine published an article titled "10 Stocks To Last the
Decade" in August, 2000. By December 2012, the portfolio had lost 74.3% of its
value, according to analyst Barry Ritholtz.
33. From 2005 to 2012, total student loans outstanding increased by $539
billion, according to the Federal Reserve.
34. According to a study by Environics Analytics WealthScapes, the average
Canadian household is now richer than an average American household for the
first time ever.
35. The 100 largest public pension funds alone have $1.2 trillion of unfunded
liabilities, according to actuarial firm Milliman.
36. According to a study by four economists from Cornell, Carnegie Mellon,
and Vanguard, "the number of investors who check their accounts drops by 8.7%
following a market decline compared to a market increase."
37. The average new American home was 1,535 square feet in 1975 and 2,169
square feet in 2010, according to the Census Bureau.
38. Cambridge Associates estimates that 3% of venture capital firms generate
95% of the industry's returns. It adds that there is little change in the
composition of those 3% of firms over time.
39. Growth in America's energy output since 2008 has surpassed that of any
other country in the world, according to energy analyst Daniel Yergin.
40. Two news headlines published on the same day last September summed up the
U.S. economy perfectly: "U.S. Median Income Lowest Since 1995, " and "Ferrari
sales surge to record highs."
41. According to ConvergEx Group, "Only 58% of us are even saving for
retirement in the first place. Of that group, 60% have less than $25,000 put
away. ... A full 30% have less than $1,000."
42. If you add up annual profits of the entire airline industry going back to
1948, you get -$32 billion.
43. Since 1928, the S&P 500 has closed at a new all-time high 1,024 times, or
4.8% of all trading days.
44. According to California Common Sense, "Over the last 30 years, the number
of people California incarcerates grew more than eight times faster than the
45. One in seven crimes committed in New York City now involves an Apple
product being stolen, according to NYPD records cited by ABC News.
46. In the first quarter of 2012, the number of iPhones Apple sold per day
surpassed the number of babies born per day worldwide (402,000 vs. 300,000),
according to Mobile First.
47. On Dec. 5, 2012, Apple stock lost $34.9 billion in market cap. According
to CNBC's Carl Quintanilla, 417 of the S&P 500's components had a total market
cap of less than $35 billion that day.
48. According to economist Glen Weyl, "Of Harvard students graduating in
early '90s and pursuing careers in finance, 1/3 were making over $1 million a
year by 2005."
49. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, 44% of those
working for minimum wage in 2010 had attended at least some college, up from 25%
50. According to The Economist, "By 2030, 22% of people in the OECD club of
rich countries will be 65 or older, nearly double the share in 1990."
51. According to a study by two Yale economists, if state and local
governments acted like they had in the last five recessions, they would have
added at least 1.4 million jobs since 2007. Instead, they cut more than 700,000.
52. The number of workers aged 55 and up is about to surpass the number of
workers aged 24 to 34 for the first time ever.
53. In 2011, Asia had more millionaires than North America for the first time
ever, according to RBC Wealth Management.
54. According to Enerdata, the U.S. consumed less total energy in 2011 than
it did in 2000.
55. The IRS estimates that illegal tax-evasion reduced government tax revenue
by $450 billion in 2006 (the most recent year calculated). That's roughly equal
to what the government spends annually on Medicare.
56. According to The Wall Street Journal, "The average monthly mortgage
payment on a median-price home in October, assuming a 10% down payment, fell to
$720 at prevailing rates, down from nearly $1,270 at the end of 2005."
57. According to a study by Edward Wolff published in the Bureau of Economic
Research, the inflation-adjusted median net worth of American families in 2010
hit the lowest level since 1969.
58. "Household debt is now 163.4% of disposable income in Canada, close to
the U.S. level at the height of the subprime crisis," writes The Wall Street
59. In 2012, the Greek stock market (ATHEX Index) outperformed the Chinese
stock market (Shanghai Composite) by 48 percentage points.
60. The International Energy Agency predicts that the U.S. will become the
world's largest oil-producer by 2020, overtaking Saudi Arabia.
61. According to CNBC wealth reporter Robert Frank, the population of
millionaires in America is now at or above its 2007 high.
62. According to BetterInvesting, the number of investment clubs has declined
by 90% since 1998 from 400,000 to 39,000.
63. Public filings show that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has owned
stock in just one individual company over the last decade: Altria Group (which
he sold in 2004).
64. Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund run by James Simons, has allegedly
produced average returns of 80% a year since 1988 (before fees), according to
Bloomberg. That would turn $1,000 into $2.4 billion in 25 years.
65. The S&P 500 has returned about 9% a year over the long run, but few years
see returns even close to that. Since 1871, the index has risen or fallen more
than 20% in one out of every three years. Less than one out of every five years
sees a gain of between 1% and 9%.
66. Since U.S. markets bottomed in March 2009, more than $8 trillion of lost
wealth has been recouped.
67. During the Federal Reserve's June 2007 policy meeting, the word
"recession" was used the times; the word "strong" was used 61 times. The economy
entered recession six months later.
68. Last year, Franklin Templeton asked 1,000 investors whether the S&P 500
went up or down in 2009 and 2010. Sixty-six percent thought it went down in
2009, while 48% said it declined in 2010. In reality, the index gained 26.5% in
2009 and 15.1% in 2010.
69. The share of an average U.S. household budget going toward gas in 2012
was nearly 4%, tying for the highest level in almost three decades, according to
Energy Information Administration figures cited by The Guardian.
70. "Of the Americans who earn over $150,000, 82 percent had a bachelor's
degree. Just 6.5 percent had no more than a high school diploma," writes
Catherine Rampell of The New York Times.
71. According to a survey by Paola Sapienza and Luigi Zingales, effectively
all economists agreed that stock prices are hard to predict. Only 59% of average
Americans felt the same way.
72. According to the IMF, if Japan's female labor-participation rate rose to
levels of Northern Europe, its per-capita GDP could be permanently increased by
73. Credit card debt as a percentage of GDP is now at the lowest level in two
74. The Energy Information Administration predicts that U.S. oil imports will
fall to 6 million barrels a day next year -- their lowest level in 25 years.
75. According to economist Stephen Bronars, the new 39.6% federal tax bracket
will only affect 0.7% of taxpayers but will hit 9.5% of aggregate personal
income, as top earners earn a disproportionate share of the national income.
76. From 2001 to 2007, new-home construction outpaced household formation by
more than 3 million homes.
77. According to Gallup, 51.3% of Americans consider themselves "thriving,"
45.1% say they are "struggling," and 3.6% say they're "suffering."
78. An average couple will pay $155,000 in in 401(k) fees over their careers,
according to Demos, reducing an average account balance from $510,000 to
79. Related: 84% of actively managed U.S. stock funds underperformed the S&P
500 in 2011.
80. According to The Wall Street Journal, 49.1% of Americans live in a
household "where at least one member received some type of government benefit in
the first quarter of 2011."
81. According to New York Times writer Binyamin Appelbaum: "Average months
between US recessions since 1854: 42. Months since last recession: 42."
82. With bond yields near all-time lows, Richard Barley of The Wall Street
Journal writes, "For a one-percentage point rise in yields, 10-year U.S.
Treasury holders now face a drop in price of nearly nine percentage points."
83. "By 2050, workers' median age in China and Japan will be about 50, a
decade higher than in America," writes Robert Samuelson.
84. Of the 3.1 million students who graduated high school in 2010, 78.2%
received their diplomas on time, according to the National Center for Education
Statistics. That was the highest percentage since 1974.
85. The U.S. birthrate declined 8% from 2007 to 2010, according to Pew. At
63.2 per 1,000 women of childbearing age, the 2011 U.S. birthrate was the lowest
since records began in 1920.
86. According to Wired magazine, "In a 2006 survey, 30 percent of people
without a high school degree said that playing the lottery was a wealth-building
strategy. ... On average, households that make less than $12,400 a year spend 5
percent of their income on lotteries."
87. According to David Wessel of The Wall Street Journal, Americans "spend
about half of their food budgets at restaurants now, compared to a third in the
88. We are used to hearing how much faster the earnings of the top 1% grow
compared with everyone else's, but we often forget that it used to be the other
way around. From 1943 to 1980, the annual incomes of the bottom 90% of Americans
doubled in real terms, while the average income of the top 1% grew just 23%,
according to Robert Frank.
89. According to Vanguard founder John Bogle, the average equity mutual fund
gained 173% from 1997 to 2011, but the average equity mutual fund investor
earned only 110%, thanks to the tendency to buy high and sell low.
90. According to David Leonhardt, median family incomes have fallen
substantially over a decade for the first time since the Great Depression. "By
, family income was 8 percent lower than it had been 11 years earlier, at
its peak in 2000."
91. The rise in domestic energy-production has already shaved $175 billion
off our annual import bill compared with five years ago, according to energy
analyst Daniel Yergin.
92. Federal nondefense discretionary spending -- all spending minus defense
and entitlements -- is on track to hit its lowest level as a share of GDP in
more than 50 years, according to data from the Congressional Budget Office.
93. Bonds have become so richly valued that UBS is reportedly reclassifying
brokerage clients who are overweight bonds as "aggressive" investors -- most
likely to avoid future lawsuits if and when bonds lose value.
94. According to The Economist, "Over the past ten years, hedge-fund managers
have underperformed not just the stock market, but inflation as well."
95. According to Bloomberg, "Americans have missed out on almost $200 billion
of stock gains as they drained money from the market in the past four years,
haunted by the financial crisis.
96. In the 1960s, wages and salary income made up more than 50% of GDP. By
2011, it was less than 44%, as dividends, interest, and capital gains made up a
growing share of the nation's income.
97. S&P 500 companies held $900 billion in cash at the end of June, according
to Thomson Reuters. That was up 40% since 2008.
98. "More than 50 million Americans couldn't afford to buy food at some point
in 2011," writes CNNMoney, citing U.S. Department of Agriculture data. In June
2012, 46.7 million Americans received food stamps.
99. Japan's working-age population is on track to decline from 62.6% of its
population in 2012 to just 49.1% by 2050.
100. The unemployment rate for those with a bachelor's degree is just 3.7% --
less than half the nationwide average.