50 Economic Numbers About The US That Are "Almost Too Crazy To Believe"

Tyler Durden's picture

The Economic Collapse Blog does a terrific job of periodically putting together a compilation of the scariest data points about the US economy. Today is one such day, and the list of 50 economic numbers presented is indeed, as the author puts it, "almost too crazy to believe"... Almost. As noted: "At this time of the year, a lot of families get together, and in most homes the conversation usually gets around to politics at some point.  Hopefully many of you will use the list below as a tool to help you share the reality of the U.S. economic crisis with your family and friends.  If we all work together, hopefully we can get millions of people to wake up and realize that "business as usual" will result in a national economic apocalypse." Or, far more likely, 99% of the population can continue watching Dancing with the Stars, as what little wealth remains is terminally transferred to those who are paying attention right below everyone's eyes.

From the Ecopnomic Collapse Blog:

The following are 50 economic numbers from 2011 that are almost too crazy to believe....


#1 A staggering 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be "low income" or are living in poverty.


#2 Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be "low income" or impoverished.


#3 If the number of Americans that "wanted jobs" was the same today as it was back in 2007, the "official" unemployment rate put out by the U.S. government would be up to 11 percent.


#4 The average amount of time that a worker stays unemployed in the United States is now over 40 weeks.


#5 One recent survey found that 77 percent of all U.S. small businesses do not plan to hire any more workers.


#6 There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million extra people to the population since then.


#7 Since December 2007, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8% once you account for inflation.


#8 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.6 million Americans were self-employed back in December 2006.  Today, that number has shrunk to 14.5 million.


#9 A Gallup poll from earlier this year found that approximately one out of every five Americans that do have a job consider themselves to be underemployed.


#10 According to author Paul Osterman, about 20 percent of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages.


#11 Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs.  Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.


#12 Back in 1969, 95 percent of all men between the ages of 25 and 54 had a job.  In July, only 81.2 percent of men in that age group had a job.


#13 One recent survey found that one out of every three Americans would not be able to make a mortgage or rent payment next month if they suddenly lost their current job.


#14 The Federal Reserve recently announced that the total net worth of U.S. households declined by 4.1 percent in the 3rd quarter of 2011 alone.


#15 According to a recent study conducted by the BlackRock Investment Institute, the ratio of household debt to personal income in the United States is now 154 percent.


#16 As the economy has slowed down, so has the number of marriages.  According to a Pew Research Center analysis, only 51 percent of all Americans that are at least 18 years old are currently married.  Back in 1960, 72 percent of all U.S. adults were married.


#17 The U.S. Postal Service has lost more than 5 billion dollars over the past year.


#18 In Stockton, California home prices have declined 64 percent from where they were at when the housing market peaked.


#19 Nevada has had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation for 59 months in a row.


#20 If you can believe it, the median price of a home in Detroit is now just $6000.


#21 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18 percent of all homes in the state of Florida are sitting vacant.  That figure is 63 percent larger than it was just ten years ago.


#22 New home construction in the United States is on pace to set a brand new all-time record low in 2011.


#23 As I have written about previously, 19 percent of all American men between the ages of 25 and 34 are now living with their parents.


#24 Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.


#25 According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980.  Today they account for approximately 16.3%.


#26 One study found that approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.


#27 If you can believe it, one out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.


#28 The United States spends about 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.


#29 It is being projected that the U.S. trade deficit for 2011 will be 558.2 billion dollars.


#30 The retirement crisis in the United States just continues to get worse.  According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 46 percent of all American workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement, and 29 percent of all American workers have less than $1,000 saved for retirement.


#31 Today, one out of every six elderly Americans lives below the federal poverty line.


#32 According to a study that was just released, CEO pay at America's biggest companies rose by 36.5% in just one recent 12 month period.


#33 Today, the "too big to fail" banks are larger than ever.  The total assets of the six largest U.S. banks increased by 39 percent between September 30, 2006 and September 30, 2011.


#34 The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have a net worth that is roughly equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans combined.


#35 According to an analysis of Census Bureau data done by the Pew Research Center, the median net worth for households led by someone 65 years of age or older is 47 times greater than the median net worth for households led by someone under the age of 35.


#36 If you can believe it, 37 percent of all U.S. households that are led by someone under the age of 35 have a net worth of zero or less than zero.


#37 A higher percentage of Americans is living in extreme poverty (6.7%) than has ever been measured before.


#38 Child homelessness in the United States is now 33 percent higher than it was back in 2007.


#39 Since 2007, the number of children living in poverty in the state of California has increased by 30 percent.


#40 Sadly, child poverty is absolutely exploding all over America.  According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 36.4% of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty, 40.1% of all children that live in Atlanta are living in poverty, 52.6% of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty and 53.6% of all children that live in Detroit are living in poverty.


#41 Today, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps.


#42 In 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income.  Today, government transfer payments account for more than 18 percent of all income.


#43 A staggering 48.5% of all Americans live in a household that receives some form of government benefits.  Back in 1983, that number was below 30 percent.


#44 Right now, spending by the federal government accounts for about 24 percent of GDP.  Back in 2001, it accounted for just 18 percent.


#45 For fiscal year 2011, the U.S. federal government had a budget deficit of nearly 1.3 trillion dollars.  That was the third year in a row that our budget deficit has topped one trillion dollars.


#46 If Bill Gates gave every single penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for about 15 days.


#47 Amazingly, the U.S. government has now accumulated a total debt of 15 trillion dollars.  When Barack Obama first took office the national debt was just 10.6 trillion dollars.


#48 If the federal government began right at this moment to repay the U.S. national debt at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 440,000 years to pay off the national debt.


#49 The U.S. national debt has been increasing by an average of more than 4 billion dollars per day since the beginning of the Obama administration.


#50 During the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that Bill Clinton took office.

As for the culprit, there is no surprise here - all central planning, all the time.

Of course the heart of our economic problems is the Federal Reserve.  The Federal Reserve is a perpetual debt machine, it has almost completely destroyed the value of the U.S. dollar and it has an absolutely nightmarish track record of incompetence.  If the Federal Reserve system had never been created, the U.S. economy would be in far better shape.  The federal government needs to shut down the Federal Reserve and start issuing currency that is not debt-based.  That would be a very significant step toward restoring prosperity to America.


During 2011 we made a lot of progress in educating the American people about our economic problems, but we still have a long way to go.


Hopefully next year more Americans than ever will wake up, because 2012 is going to represent a huge turning point for this country.

Indeed it will - in it America will pick yet another president that it so rightfully deserves.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Killtruck's picture

That's some scary shit.


NotApplicable's picture

And he gets paid damn well to do so!

redpill's picture



I've already sent 500 soon-to-be-worthless FRNs his direction, can you all send him 100 or 50 please?

Xkwisetly Paneful's picture

America where the obese car and home owners are considered poverty stricken.

As long as they contnue to define poverty as the bottom 1/6th,

any economic downturn will result in >=1/6th of the population being poverty stricken.

spiral_eyes's picture

this post is not balanced enough.

there are plenty of points in america's favor.

i thought real hard and managed to find two of them.


Xkwisetly Paneful's picture

No other socio economic system or all others combined have done as much for the advancement of mankind since 1776. It is not even remotely close either.

 But thanks for playing.


tmosley's picture

*Implying that we have had the same socio-economic system the entire time.

We havent.  We had a limited free market (the limitation being slavery), then a high level free market (ie minimal government intervention in the economy), then a mixed market, with ever increasing government intervention in the economy.

Government intervention stole my flying car.

smlbizman's picture

i just heard on bloomberg that we can use the 100 watt bulb.....their presentation made me feel like i should get down on my knees and thank this politico who granted us this freedom to have a choice in lighting....im so thankful that this time of year the christmas spirit has moved our heros to give us permission to use what ever light bulb we want {temporarily}.....and as fucking stupid as this next statement is ,you know i'm right....

you may be a terrorist if you have an incandescent light bulb...


sqz's picture


Your first point is very well taken.

However, your point about extent of government intervention is simply incorrect. It is not the extent, it is the nature.

During what is considered the Golden Age of Capitalism (1945 to 1971) by many economists, where the world saw the longest period of unparalled global growth, government intervention was large. Protectionism was high and, much more importantly, capital controls globally were enormous. After the Great Depression, finance was simply not allowed to run amok and against the interest of the real economy, so it was strongly constrained. It was made "boring" and invisible.

The focus by central banks and economists was also first and foremost on job creation. This combination by fiscal and monetary authorities meant that wealth recirculated strongly within national economies. This in turn fostered large corporate and employee investment and led to the lowest real unemployment rates the West has ever seen.

In short, it is not government intervention that is the problem. The core issue is governments acting exclusively to rollover the short term interest of a country by using debt as their vehicle, to create a rent system for financial market participants, as well as furthering political ambitions and goals (such as a military hegemony), instead of investing in their long-term natonal interests.

The medium and long-term upshot of this, assuming the West is simply unable to adapt fast enough (highly likely), is that more and more people will emigrate in droves and intially move to small countries with strong balance sheets (e.g. Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Scandinavian countries) and longer term to the Emerging Markets. This will exacerbate the current trend for the ever dwindling working population relative to supported population and further increase wealth inequality in the West. In other words, the West - led by the US - has already lost in the long term by their actions from the past. With debt for forty years, the future has been stolen from your country.

The fact the US is and will be a safe haven for a while from the Eurozone mess, will not save its outlook, which is bleak indeed.

Surly Bear's picture

And as bad as it is the probability is we will reelect most of not all of congress as well as the President so I ask you...is it that bad?


Xkwisetly Paneful's picture

All sounds great but at the end of the day,

Doubled the supply of labor in the 70's by adding women,

now 40yrs later realizing the effect on wages.

and of course no one needed two incomes to survive in the 70's either.



trav7777's picture

"Sadly, child poverty is absolutely exploding all over America. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 36.4% of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty, 40.1% of all children that live in Atlanta are living in poverty, 52.6% of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty and 53.6% of all children that live in Detroit are living in poverty."

Gee, help me out...what do these cities have most in common?

Thadeous's picture

Too many WASP's...?


What did I win?

gmrpeabody's picture

A set of Samsonite luggage as a parting gift.  LOLs

Jumbotron's picture

And a box of Rice-A-Roni because after all...

It's a San Francisco Treat !!!

Hugh_Jorgan's picture

Please. America knows nothing about poverty.


Go to Africa if you find shocking poverty.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Actually America does know about poverty. Crushig poverty. It's not even too deeply hidden actually. Trailer parks and homelessness and hunger is rampant in the US.

In fact, in most metrics, the US has been slipping like crazy into what was called 3rd world numbers..... children starving, poverty line living, life expectancy.... on and on....

DOne for...



blunderdog's picture

One of our problems is that we mistake things like big teevees for "food security."  Heh.

Oh regional Indian's picture

indeed Blunderdog. They've managed to shift perceptions so far from reality that it's mind-boggling.


boiltherich's picture

OOOOHHH OOOOHHH I know I know, pick me!  (hand shoots up) RACISM. 

tmosley's picture

Liberal governments.

You were probing for "black citizens", because you want to attribute EVERYTHING to race.  You know, like a simpleton.

trav7777's picture

BZZZZT.  they have liberal governments in Portland and everywhere in the NE.

Thanks for playing!  You win a swift kick in your dumb ass!

DaveyJones's picture

corrupt governments who convince stupid citizens from other jurisdictions that it's some social groups fault?

CompassionateFascist's picture

Every single one of these White CosmicLibs who junked Trav is living in an urban high rise. The day the EBT cards stop working, they will curl up into a ball and kiss their asses goodbye.

msamour's picture

Hey Dufus, I live in the Canadian country side. The thing about assuming, his you make an ass of yourself...

GMadScientist's picture

Whatever helps you sleep at night, Wal-Mart shopper.

Shocker's picture

There is so much going on today, and no one is talking about it. Its pretty insane. We are worried about what is on TV tonight





SilverDOG's picture

Xkwisetly Paneful,


Inflation you 'tard.

Get your head up, off the "pane full" of blow.



flattrader's picture

Uh, perhaps no one you know.

Plenty of families needed two incomes.

But, please don't let me disturb your "Leave it to Beaver" world.

goldsaver's picture

During what is considered the Golden Age of Capitalism (1945 to 1971) by many economists


Wrong. The exponential growth of the economy during those years was due primarily to two factors, the end of WWII and the subsequent requirement for rebuilding the European and Japanese infrastructure that resulted in massive consumer products and raw materials been allocated and the deficit financing of such massive growth with inflation and debasement. When you account for the massive destruction of the purchasing power of the consumers and the real take home incomes, that era was not as rosy and had nothing to do with protectionism and government intervention. Add to that the fact that you conveniently leave out the hangover after the mess (post 1977) that has required two income families just to make ends meet and the current debt bubble at all levels. Saying that government intervention does not negatively impact the free markets by using that period as an example is like claiming that a 400 pound man got a heart attack due to the side salad he had for lunch.

onthesquare's picture


and you may find yourself behing the wheel of a large automobile

and you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife

and you may ask yourself

well...how did I get here?

Transformer's picture

That is the fucking question alright.


tmosley's picture

Odd that one would call the era of mixed markets the era of capitalism.  They might look the same at first glance, but they are not.

Of course, at that time, we had central banks and governments spending more than they had, and we paid for it with the stagflation of the 70's, stagflation that very nearly collapsed into hyperinflation as we abandoned the gold standard.  

You see, it is easy to live well for a few decades by consuming the inheritence left to you by your parents.  Not just the cash, but managing their companies, and generating a revenue stream.  The problem comes when the new generation takes prosperity for granted, and spends more than they take in, until eventually they get to the point that they are consuming more than they have in income from those inherited businesses.  Then they start consuming the capital, and taking out loans, until one day there is nothing left but a giant unpayable debt.  It looks like today is that day.

Big government and central banks are the MBAs of nations.  They screw with the balance sheets to produce a few quarters of outperformance, collect their bonuses, then abandon the company to deal with the ruin they brought upon them.

Lost1's picture

That this concept is lost on the "Smart People" is what really blows my mind. We haven't seen a capatilist system in my lifetime. If I understand free markets correctly bad actors would be culled from the herd not given golden parachutes and a new CEO job down the street. These guys and the bad behavior would be weeded out of the system. As for the fed, I see this as a symptom of the underlying problem the inability of governments to control spending.

StychoKiller's picture

"What do you give the Govt that's taken everything?"

"Dreams Come Due, Government and Economics as if Freedom Mattered", ISBN: 0-671-61159-3, by John Galt

The book is dated, but many of the things it talks about are still valid today.


SamAdams1234's picture

I know... the 11th commandment: THOU SHALL NOT DIP INTO PRINCIPAL.

buyingsterling's picture

1945-1971 - a blissful 26 year period? Or the final stretch required to bury the dollar, which de-pegged in forex from gold in 1971? Lots of government intervention in those years is what did it,  along with a growing money supply we added on the great society and Vietnam. Federal intrusion in the money supply is what makes possible both the welfare and warfare states - both in full bloom by 1971. If you can't print money, you can't afford an empire or a welfare state.

Capital controls are one thing, but most of the rest of the government's invervention distorts decisions and mis-allocates capital.

adhoc99's picture

Well, this is one of the dumbest things I've ever read. You have no evidence to back your assertion that it was government intervention in the form of capital controls and protectionism that fueled growth in the 50s and 60s. And what is your evidence that the standard of living was so much higher in 1970 vs. 1950, or that economic development today lags vs. your golden era? I have plenty of evidence that our standard of living is higher now vs. 20 or 30 years ago. Look at the car you own - how does it compare to a 1970 or 1980 model? Did auto consumers of the 1970s benefit from protectionism? To tend to more mundane things - look at the beer selection at your local grocery store? How does it compare to the selection in 1980? Is your life better now for the existence of eBay, Amazon.com, Google, even ZeroHedge? Were these things creating in your glorified Emerging Economies? Are you really dumb enough to believe that (supposed) 10% growth on $3,000 of income is better than 2% growth on $40 k of income? Do you really believe that Scandanavia, Austria, or Canada can really be called a country alongside the U.S.? The problem with this crap is that you get some great posts and some thoughtful comments, and then you get  this kind of sophomoric, idiotic BS, complete with a tittering cheering section. So much waste of potential.

Teamtc321's picture

In 77' a new chevy silverado retailed for 6750.00 and they run oh about 50.000.00 today.  

Hi Ho Silver's picture

Yeah, but you can get that '77 chevy silverado for $850 on craigslist.

Teamtc321's picture

Wow, thank's for the tip. How does that rail feel on your pic? Hi ho silver bullet's away...........

BeerBrewer09's picture

Yeah, but you can get today's Silverado for 0% for 72 months or 0% for 60 months and not make a payment for the the first 4 months. YEEEHAWWW

adhoc99's picture

GDP per capita was about $9200 in 1977, so the silverado was about 74% of per capita income then. MSRP of silverado today is $32 k, vs. per capita income of $47 k today, for a ratio of less then 70%. Even if you adjust for wealth skewing/distribution, I'm sure the ratios are comparable at worst. And, I doubt your 77 Silverado had air conditioning or power windows, let alone air bags or anti-lock breaks and other modern amenities you take for granted. But I suppose I'll get trashed on here for looking up facts, being able to do math and drawing reasonable comparisons. It's like an Animal Farm around here.

jonjon831983's picture

Guessing post WW2 one of the only remaining systems that remained "intact" was the US based Capitalism... everything else was destroyed (aka blown up and killed) and in shambles.  Growth is probably easy where there is virtually no competition.

G-R-U-N-T's picture

I agree with much of what you say sqz...My son who is highly skilled in IT and whom has been all over the world is off to Uruguay in the next couple of weeks to market their emerging market. One of his clients is from there and says there is tremendous IT opportunity. Also, it is one of the least corrupt in S.A...

We get beaten to death by politicians, an ignorant populace, whom haven't a clue of what it takes to create genuine wealth and as we get squeezed the more the idea of migrating is seen as a viable option.



YBNguy's picture

The comment vote-down bandit is at it again...

StychoKiller's picture

Yessss!  Bwahahahaha!  (What?  At least I didn't try ta kill ya!) :>D

Yardfarmer's picture

not that it really makes any difference, but your savior will only serve to split the moron republican vote and assure the pseudo pickaninny marionette another term unless they invade Iran, call the whole thing and declare martial law as they seem to be preparing to do. the idea of participating in yet another sham election should be the occasion of immense misgiving at the very least. but any acknowledgment of inevitable would only leave the screen heads, internet voyeurs and keyboard jockeys nothing to contemplate but their own feckless and ineffectual impotence. go absorb yourself in yet another useless celluloid phantasy and await the arrival of "the One". you could be waiting a long time but you would still be in possession of your precious illusions. you just got fleeced.