The difference between average and typical


Here is a case study in statistics—showing why what is statistically average is not necessarily typical.

If all the wealth in the United States were divided equally, every American household would have $301,000.  But only a minority of Americans have that much net worth.  The more meaningful measure is the median, the point that divides the wealthiest half of Americans from the poorest half.  That midpoint is $45,000, a much lower figure.

Some of the reasons middle class Americans have less than their counterparts in other advanced countries is that we have greater debt and less equity in our homes, and also have to pay more for higher education and medical care, which reduces the ability to save.

For details, click on Middle class Americans: Not so rich as we think by Tami Luhby for CNN Money.

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One Response to “The difference between average and typical”

  1. Holden Says:

    I’m a firmly middle class, well educated American with a family and I still find it hard to “live the american dream” but also save any money or really get ahead!

    My wife and I drive economic cars that we paid off years ago and we don’t live extravagantly. But we also pay dearly out of pocket for insurance and for the student loans on my two college degrees it took to get my decent paying job!

    I wonder sometimes what I’m doing exactly? I figure I’ll eventually get ahead in my 40s I guess. So I spent my 20s building up, my 30s paying it back, and finally reap some rewards in my 40s- just in time to pay for my kids to go to school if i’m lucky enough to afford it!


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