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.

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jarboejl's picture

#40  Philidelphia, Altanta, Cleveland, Detroit...big fucking shocker!

bnbdnb's picture

If the rich actually spent their money, all of it, we would have massive inflation. Scary.

SelfGov's picture

Scary but true.

If the TARP money were loaned to tax payers instead (the 99%), same thing would have happened.

0ppenheimer's picture

And our government's solution? INCREASE federal intervention in credit markets to further lax lending practices and encourage the population to take on more debt.

The Road to Serfdom indeed. 

pods's picture

The great thing about that is the old adage that you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink.

Well, at least for now they can't.


chunga's picture

Here is a little humor for a Friday. Only one thing.

It ain't funny...

tOO BiG To fAiL LOan MOdIFiCATioN FOrm r.1.A.002.B.XXXX

(Link goes to Hamlet pdf embeds - blog haters do not click)

JPM Hater001's picture

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

When they say "40% of houses are underwater" they really mean 100% in Stockton and 10% of everyone elses.

RobD's picture

Stockton is not the end of the word but you can sure see it from there.

walküre's picture

We are talking about Mexico, right?

Toburk's picture

You wish.


Mexio's unemployment rate is what?  5.5%?

Hat Trick's picture

One item here is kinda bogus as a "revelation".... Yes, the 6 Walmart heirs have more wealth than the bottom 30%. However, if you have one dollar in your pocket, and no debt, you have more "wealth" than 24%. That's because 24 percent actually have a negative net worth; they owe more money than they have in assets. (Sadly, I'm one of those people :( ...HA) That number doesn't seem very outrageous when you look at it in those terms. Otherwise, some interesting facts.

DFCtomm's picture

Here is another shocking statistic. I pay more in federal income tax than nearly fifty percent of the population, COMBINED!

privatebanker55's picture

If you beat up the numbers enough, they will tell you anything you want them to....don't buy into this, the definition of wealth is always relative...the statistic regarding poverty in US is based on 89,000 per annum in household income....that's not poverty.

Sean7k's picture

The report said the percentage of Americans living below the poverty line last year, 15.1 percent, was the highest level since 1993. (The poverty line in 2010 for a family of four was $22,314.)

From the article itself:  Many middle-class Americans are dropping below the low-income threshold — roughly $45,000 for a family of four.

Where did you get YOUR numbers?

nope-1004's picture

Did the above banker fudge the numbers and spew false info?

Just can't shake that way of life, can ya?


karzai_luver's picture

give the slime a break damnit, he is only sampling banksters in that 89K stat.


SheepDog-One's picture

The 'poverty line' is $89,000 salary? Fuck outta here.

SoNH80's picture

$89 K is "poor" in Greenwich, Connecticut.  Can't even pay your Racquet Club dues.

besnook's picture

it is based upon 21000/year for a family of four.

Confused's picture



Admittedly, I didn't look very hard. But I call bullshit on $89K a year. Maybe for your private banker friends.

Flammonde's picture

Of course the heart of our economic problems is the Federal Reserve.  

I disagree.  The problem is the people and the people they permit to represent their "interests." Representative government fails consistently due to human nature.  This is the trap of popular acclaim.

Children if offered a vote would choose ice cream over homework.  They would elect a teacher that promised more ice cream.  Indeed they would if given a chance abolish homework all together and the school as well.

Gubbmint Cheese's picture

Just balance your m'fing checkbook B..

Dr. Engali's picture

Banzai :

 Thanks for the chuckle in an otherwise depressing post.

PhattyBuoy's picture

Who is the "sugar plumb fairy" ...

NumberNone's picture

That Michelle is one ugly dude.  

Alex Kintner's picture

Sweet nuts there. Jus sayin'.

Kaiser Sousa's picture

#52: kill all mother fuckin bankers with extreme mother fuckin prejudice...

A Lunatic's picture

I'm thinking this is probably the last time the neighbor will let you use their internet.

Kaiser Sousa's picture

Like William Money said..."we all got it comin kid"....
no fear here homie.....

yogibear's picture

Way to go Obama! You almost doubled the debt in less than 4 years. Your next 4 year debt binge should be a real hoot!

Obama going for 30 trillion at the end of your 8th year? Grand Marshal bankster, Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve can pull some levers to speed up the printing press.

Krugman will be in his glory as the US goes past 30 trillion,

Bernanke and the federal reserve banksters can help to make the US dollar a joke.

In Fed We Trust's picture

This is where it goes parabolic

Under Obamas 2 nd term.

10 to 15 not so big,

15 to 30


VISA. Its alll in the bag.

jmcadg's picture

Ron Paul?
Come on America, make the right choice.

Bear's picture

I would vote for Ron Paul in a minute, you would vote for Ron Paul and I suspect many others here at ZH ... but then ask you next door neighbor what he thinks of Dr. Paul and he would probably say 'who?' ... the problem in America is now a dearth of common sense or basic understanding of economics. An old white man has no chance against the slick talking current resident of the White House unless America wakes up.

Athena's picture

If you have no debt and $10 in your pocket, you have more wealth than 25% of Americans.

bnbdnb's picture

I disagree. Pay minimum amounts on low interest credit and keep a good credit score and you could have millions of wealth and die owing millions more.



In a credit system, its in my best interest to milk it.

pods's picture

You don't have children do you?


falak pema's picture

can I buy you a tête à tête meal with that?

BluPoint's picture

Trillion is the new Billion.  Get with it gang... your so out of touch.

Downtoolong's picture

Don’t worry, Zynga and Facebook will save us, as a new virtual economy evolves on a foundation of bullshit, gossip, and playing games for hours on end.

BluPoint's picture

Trillion is the new Billion.  Get with it gang... your so out of touch.

I got the Bull by The Horns - HELP's picture

After lurking in all other sites such as ZH (Seeking Alpha, Market Watch, Business Insider, Azizonomics etc) I conclude that a lot of disaffected (The lost their savings gambling the markets) people are venting their spleen on these sites, but still have no idea.


Because the market is now centrally planned by the BIS and its Henchmen, the Central Banks, it is impossible to use history as a guide, and charts for that matter. The top houses and traders have read all the books, most new traders have, and as a result they (and their algos) know how to shake out Retail, and even wholesale traders.

Most of the bears are probably paid shills to strike fear in peoples hearts, forcing them to liquidate their underwater holdings.

People forget that money equals a commodity to exchange it for. With all this liquidity and money printing, the dollars will be winding up in the hands of people who are snapping up hard commodities, before the owners realise that the money is devalued.

For this reason I have gone to Cash (To buy items at deflated desperate prices) and prime farmland (to earn income from people who have to eat). In Australia you can only own guns if you have a farm or  member of a sporting shooter association. I bet eventually the sporting shooters will lose their right, but farmers will have a genuine reason (Stock shootings, vermin shootings and pest control) IF the SHTFH (Hard-causing a fine gut wrenching spray) at least I know I will be able to defend my interests. (My great Grandfather and Great Grandmother on both sides were burned alive in their home in Ukraine WW2 and I am learning from history)

BTW I have contacts in Australian Real Estate, in prime areas of Melbourne, and the market has dropped 40% in price offers but vendors are not selling. Once they are forced to sell (unemployment or panic), they will be underwater big time. In Australia, we have full recourse loans, so consumer spending is going to take a dive. Short Australian Banks and Retail. Australian Banks have heavily relied on offshore financing of Mortgages, and their funding costs are huge. I used to work in the Big 4 banks and their IT systems are inadequate for them to report quickly and efficiently.

blunderdog's picture

People forget that money equals a commodity to exchange it for.

No--this is a common mistake.  What people forget is that money is a synthetic abstraction we use to simulate a commodity which can be infinitely multiplied by the holders of certain specialized legal positions.

Calmyourself's picture

Your statement is only true if money is hard, backed by assets you choose gold, silver, wheat whatever.  What we have now is a simulcrum of money otherwise known as currency.

blunderdog's picture

Semantics arguments don't help. 

Is there such a thing as a "US dollar"?  That's an ontological question. You apparently believe there is no such thing.  (This is a valid perspective, shared by all the nominalists.  The idea is that "money" is nothing more than a word and describes no real-world correlate.)

"Currency" refers to the markers we use to quantify "money."  You can't substitute that word for "money" without redefining what money is.

I'm not the biggest fan of Plato, but there's clearly no better illustration of a widely-shared Platonic idea than "money."

Calmyourself's picture

I was not attempting to help.  Ontologically speaking it matters not what I think what matters is that it is impossible to trade that dollar back to its originator for a value of anything.  The dollar is a dream built on confidence when the dream dies the dollar dies. 

blunderdog's picture

Well if you're not using your FRNs, I'll take them off your hands.  In your mind, they're not worth anything anyway, right?