edited by Jodi Summers

If you want to know about the average American, you need to wade through a wad of demographic information, or find someone who has. We took the easy way out. New Strategist Publications was good enough to compile this list of 50 facts we’d all like to know about the average American. It’s a rather entertaining list, and we’d really appreciate your feedback…

1. The average American makes $735/week.

Current Population Survey


2. The average American has $34 in his/her wallet.

Survey of Consumer Payment Choice


3. The average American spends $69 a day.



4. The average American has a job (58%).

Bureau of Labor Statistics


5. The average American is worried about being able to maintain his/her standard of living (58%).



6. The average American lives in one of the top 50 metropolitan areas (54%).

2010 census


7. The average American is a homeowner (65%).

2010 census


8. The average American lives in an 1,800 square foot house.

American Housing Survey


9. The average American lives in a house built before 1975.

American Housing Survey


10. The average American household is air-conditioned (87%).

American Housing Survey


11. The average American household has a net worth of $96,000.

Survey of Consumer Finances


12. The average American household is $75,600 in debt (including the mortgage).

Survey of Consumer Finances


13. The average American has less than $100,000 in savings (54%).



14. The average American does not directly own any stock. (Only 19% of households own stock directly.)

Survey of Consumer Finances


15. The average American has been to college (56%), but does not have a college degree.

Current Population Survey


16. The average American often or always recycles (64%).

General Social Survey


17. The average American believes the effects of global warming have already begun or soon will (53%).



18. The average American owns a desktop (59%) and/or laptop computer (52%).

Pew Internet & American Life Project


19. The average American used the Internet today (59%).

Pew Internet & American Life Project


20. The average American says he/she is in very good or excellent health (56%).

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System


21. The average American is overweight (63%).

National Health Interview Survey


22. The average American eats at least two snacks a day (65%).



23. The average American drinks alcohol regularly (52%).

National Health Interview Survey


24. The average American goes to the doctor at least twice a year (65%).

National Health Interview Survey


25. The average American has employer-provided health insurance (56%).

Current Population Survey


26. The average American household spends $3,126 a year out-of-pocket on health care.

Consumer Expenditure Survey


27. The average American is taking at least one prescription drug.

Health, United States


28. The average American sometimes or often has trouble sleeping (55%).

General Social Survey


29. The average American is currently married (51%).

Families and Living Arrangements


30. The average American has never divorced (only 21% have ever divorced).

Survey of Income and Program Participation


31. The average American thinks hard work is the way to get ahead (70%).

General Social Survey


32. The average American does not know which political party controls the House of Representatives (62%).

Pew Research Center


33. The average American has a landline telephone (70%).

National Health Interview Survey


34. The average American has a cell phone (87%), but does not own a smart phone (only 35% own one).

National Health Interview SurveyPew Research Center


35. The average American watches 2 hours and 49 minutes of television a day.

American Time Use Survey


36. The average American has two or more children (57%).

General Social Survey


37. The average American favors spanking children, if necessary (69%).

General Social Survey


38. The average American was born in-state (52%).

American Community Survey


39. The average American’s parents were born in the United States (78%)

General Social Survey


40. The average American’s grandparents (all four) were born in the United States (59%).

General Social Survey


41. The average American household owns two vehicles.

Consumer Expenditure Survey


42. The average American household owns at least one pet (62%).

American Pet Products Association


43. The average American pays his/her credit card bill in full each month (54%).

National Bureau of Economic Research


44. The average American believes in God without a doubt (59%).

General Social Survey


45. The average American believes in evolution (56%).

General Social Survey


46. The average American favors the death penalty (68%).

General Social Survey


47. The average American wants the government to spend more on education (74%), health care (60%), and the environment (60%).

National Opinion Research Center


48. The average American thinks the government’s number-one priority should be to help keep and create jobs in America (51%).

Economic Mobility Project


49. The average American says the economy/jobs will be the top issue in the next election (60%).

Kaiser Polls


50. The average American believes the honesty and ethical standards of Congress are low (57%).

Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics


* And a bonus fact from an anonymous source:

51. The average American is a woman (52%).

Want more cool statistics For more about the average American? Check out the 10th edition of The American Marketplace: Demographics and Spending Patterns.





















Join the conversation! 9 Comments

  1. Santa Monica has won “by a landslide” in a ranking for Drunkest Cities in California.

    The honor comes from the site RoadSnacks, which found that there are more bars per capita in Santa Monica than anywhere else in the state.

    The Santa Monica Mirror reported that criteria included five benchmarks: number of bars and pubs per capita, number of wineries per capita, number of liquor stores per capita, each city’s drunk-related tweets within the past week and each city’s divorce rate.

    They counted geo-located tweets, measuring the following raw number of tweets that came from within a city’s general area: #Drunk, #Party, #Beer, #Wine and #Cocktails.

  2. A lack of inventory and an appetite to live in two of Boston’s toniest neighborhoods — the Back Bay and South End — are fueling competition among buyers as multiple offers and sales above asking price have exceeded last year’s levels.

    A Boston Business Journal analysis of MLS Property Information Network data found that properties selling for over their asking price in the South End reached 53 percent so far this year. Of the 79 condos sold from Jan. 1 through April 15, the most recent data available, 42 were sold above asking. One year ago, three dozen of the 115 dwellings sold for over asking — or 31.3 percent.

  3. Americans are saving more. The personal-saving rate — which reflects how much people have left after spending and taxes — hit 2.6% in February from 2.2% in January. Incomes grew, allowing Americans to spend, yet save more. The saving rate soared in December as fiscal-cliff fears prompted some companies to distribute bonuses early, but it then plunged in January as payroll taxes rose.

  4. Americans have an unusually strong belief in meritocracy. In other nations, circumstances at birth, family connections, and luck are considered more important factors in economic success than they are in the U.S. This meritocratic philosophy is one reason why Americans have had relatively little objection to high levels of inequality—as long as those at the bottom have a fair chance to work their way up the ladder. Similarly, Americans are more comfortable with the idea of increasing opportunities for success than with reducing inequality. When the American public is asked questions about the importance of tackling each, a far higher proportion is in favor of doing something about ensuring that more people have a shot at climbing the economic ladder than is in favor of reducing poverty or inequality.

  5. Regardless of age, good relationship with friends, family and even pets were found to be universally important and the key driver of happiness. However, as people continue to age and eventually retire, they are able to devote more time to building relationships and enjoying simple everyday pleasures. Those who are married or in a relationship are the happiest. Conversely, lowest levels of happiness are observed among those who are single.

  6. Majorities of Americans say that they are knowledgeable about energy sources, but are they making changes and taking advantage of what is out there to monitor their own usage? Majorities of Americans are doing some basic things like turning off lights, televisions or other appliances when not in use (82%), replacing incandescent bulbs with fluorescent ones (58%), using power strips (56%), looking for ENERGY STAR labels when replacing appliances (55%) and using low watt bulbs (54%). But there are other things majorities of Americans are not doing.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,056 adults surveyed online between February 6 and 13, 2012 by Harris Interactive.

    Less than half of Americans have installed a programmable thermostat (37%), sealed gaps in floors or walls around pipes or electric wiring (34%), installed low-flow faucets (29%), energy efficient windows (28%) or added insulation to an attic, crawl space or accessible exterior windows (27%). And just in one ten U.S. adults (11%) have conducted a home energy evaluation or audit. There are certain regional differences as well. For example, over half of Southerners (55%) change their air filters monthly in comparison to just 27% of Easterners and 28% of Westerners. Three in five Westerners (59%) use low wattage light bulbs compared to just 48% of Easterners and, two in five of those living in the West (40%) have installed low-flow faucets compared to just 25% of those in the East and 23% in the Midwest.

  7. Home improvement retailer Lowe’s plans to introduce a cloud-based home-management system in North America called Iris in mid-2012, which will allow users to monitor and control many aspects of their home from their smartphone, tablet or computer, including thermostats, refrigerators, smart plugs, lighting, door locks, motion sensors and more.

    The Iris system will be wireless and allow users to interact with and control many aspects of their home in real time from any mobile device.

    As “smart” technology continues to proliferate, the mass-release of affordable homeowner-controlled “smart” technology is the next step. Because of Lowe’s size and business relationships, the home retailer has the ability to offer this new technology at a rate many can afford.

  8. Although we think of ourselves as the land of opportunity, millions of America’s children from poor families face constrained futures that will leave many of them no better off than their parents. Based on a massive study at the University of Michigan and a Brookings report for Pew’s Economic Mobility Project, we know that adult children of parents in the bottom 20 percent of the income distribution have over a 40 percent chance of staying in the bottom 20 percent when they grow up. Similarly, they have only a 6 percent chance of getting to the top 20 percent. These numbers suggest two conclusions: parental background is enormously important in determining where kids wind up in the income distribution when they grow up and the land of opportunity may have less than we thought.

  9. Coolest gift: Wii Controller

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About Jodi Summers

Jodi Summers
Sotheby’s International Realty

Jodi Summers Bio

With $100,000,000 in listed inventory, Jodi Summers understands the coastal commercial real estate market. A top producer with Sotheby’s International Realty, Jodi knows finance, rules, regulations, procedures and methods. She is accurate, knowledgeable, timely and aware of how government shapes the cities of Southern California.

Jodi is born in Brooklyn, raised in and around Manhattan – the family business was marketing, Madison Avenue style. Childhood math quiz questions calculated demographic and psychographic percentages or analyzed the allocation of adverting dollars. Word games were for devising slogans.

An honors graduate from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, Jodi moved to California to achieve her goal of living by the beach with a palm tree and a hibiscus bush in her yard.
She thrived as an entrepreneur in the entertainment, media and marketing industries. One of her books, “Marking and Marketing Music,” is in second edition.

“My marketing and communication skills have proven to be a true gift when it comes to promoting real estate,” observes Jodi. “And I am consistently able to get an exceptionally high price per square foot for my sellers.”

Discipline (Jodi holds a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do), organization, motivation, excellent communication skills and knowing & satisfying the needs of her clients have been her essentials for running a successful business. A passion for investment real estate explains her emphasis in asset-yielding properties.

Her team joined Sotheby’s International Realty for the company’s powerful brand and stellar reputation.
“We offer the broad market knowledge needed to assist clients in formulating a sound acquisition strategy,” Jodi amplifies. “Together, we evaluate various markets, property types and neighborhoods to devise a customized approach that meets each client’s specific objectives.”

Jodi is a member of the Action Apartment Association of Westside income property owners, the Santa Monica Conservancy historic preservation society, the Ocean Park Association, the Friends of Sunset Park community group, the Real Estate Investors Club of L.A., and the Culver City Rock & Mineral Club. Members of her team are fluent in Spanish and Italian.

“Our reputation assures your satisfaction.”


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