As if classifying people by iPhone model wasn’t enough, Peter Coy of Bloomberg BusinessWeek recently derived the Wealth Number.
Coy bases Wealth Numbers on powers of 10. For instance, since a million is 106 millionaires get classified as 6.
Similarly, a billion is 109 therefore billionaires receive 9.
Here’s one response:
I don’t need to know my wealth number to know I can’t even afford to put guac on my burrito bowl 🙄 @ChipotleTweets— Name cannot be Fill in the ____ (@Redvampire101) September 30, 2019
This statement expresses an important sentiment.
Don’t we experience enough indicators through our race, neighborhood, job, educational status, etc.?
Adding yet another indicator of wealth seems like feeding a fed horse.
The Modal Method of Classifying People
What’s more, the Planet Money podcast recently found the Modal American.
Podcast host Kenny Malone and New York Times Economic Writer Ben Casselman wrestled with the research for months.
Eventually they found that 3M people share a lot in common.
What are these people like?
For one they are white, married men aged 39 to 54. Also, while they do not hold a college degree they do have a household income from $75K to $165K.
But how is this helpful?
Let’s dive in.
Why We Need These Wealth Classifications
Sometimes these wealth classifications alienate people, it’s true.
We need them regardless because they prove useful to our understanding of wealth.
For example, we could say someone is extremely wealthy but by saying the person is an 11 we mean the person is as rich as it gets.
In the same way, when we talk about the modal American it’s helpful because we find people that actually exist. If we were to only stick to averages we might find the average family in New York has 1.73 kids.
But who do you know with 1.73 kids?
Still, if you feel like the endless classifying bothers you, read Mind Your Own Yard for Your Own Wellbeing.