The World in Money


Above is a map of the world displaying each country’s currency projected on top of the country’s territory. There are 180 currencies in the world – the British pound is the world’s oldest currency that’s still in use, dating back to the 8th century! Despite all these currencies, the exchange market is dominated by only a few (shown in the bar chart below). The US dollar and Euro makeup between 60-70 percent of the market and additionally about 30 percent of the world use the USD/Euro or have their currency pegged to one of them.

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Working Class Affordability 2017

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The above map was created on ( showing how much a working class family can save or be indebted living in various cities across the United States. The software allows you to select different criteria – such as the number of working adults in the household, how much they earn, the number of children, amount spent on food, and size of the house in square feet – the algorithm then produces a map (such as the one above) that displays where the most and least affordable places for your family to live. The size of the bubbles are a larger dark shade of red for unaffordable locations or are a larger dark shade of green for affordable locations. For example, the map above is generated for a family of four with two incomes – a home appliance repairer and a manicurist/pedicurist with a low-cost food plan living in a 1500 sq ft home. This family would need an additional $91.2K annually to afford to live in New York City or additional $83.3K to live in San Francisco. Conversely, the family could save $10.1K annually if they lived in Glendale, Arizona.

US City Commute Patterns 2008

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Above is a graph displaying the percentage of people that commute by public transit on the x-axis and the percentage commuting by car on the y-axis for various cities around the United States. The size of the bubble relates the workforce population of each city. There doesn’t appear to be a relationship between the size of the city’s population and the percentage of those taking public transit, but if one looks at city density a relationship is clear. Of the top 20 cities in the US by population, the highest density in order are: New York City, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Miami, Philadephia, and Washington DC. With exception of Miami (commute data not listed), all of top 6 highest density cities also have the highest fraction of their workforce commuting by public transit.

BRIC Comparison


Above is a comparison of GDP per capita (nominal) figures for BRIC countries – that is, Brazil, Russia, India, and China. The data displayed ranges from 1980 through 2016. A few things stand out, both Brazil and Russia’s economies were overvalued post-2007 financial crisis, driven by high oil prices that have regressed back to the mean and inflated currently values. China economy has leveled off in recent years and India is still much poorer than the other three BRIC economies, yet show promise moving forward.

European Union Unemployment Rate 2017

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Above is a map displaying the unemployment rate for European Union member states as of May 2017. What sticks out is the slow economic recovery for the southern European states post-financial crisis, such as: Greece (with an unemployment rate of) 22.5%, Spain 17.5%, Itlay 11.3%, and Croatia 10.7%. Contrast this with the unemployment rate in the United States during the same period of 4.3%. The EU average unemployment rate stands at 7.8%, nearly twice as high of the US! An economic analysis of labor policies in most EU countries leads to this result as there is less fixability in the labor force among other factors. Despite this performance for the European Union as a whole, some countries are performing above average and are on par with the US in employment rate such as: Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, UK, Poland, and others.

SF Bay Area Median Home Price Apr 2017

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Above is a map displaying the median home prices for cities in the SF Bay Area as of April 2017 on Zillow. The most expensive cities in order are: Palo Alto 2.5 million, Cupertino 1.8m, Mountain View 1.5m, Sunnyvale 1.5m, Redwood City 1.3m, San Francisco 1.2m.

Below is a chart displaying the median home price changes for the four largest cities in the Bay Area since Jan 2012. Home prices have doubled in the past five years with cities such as Oakland up 123%, Mountain View up 112%, and Palo Alto up 103% over the period.Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 10.24.56 AM.png

Country Exports to the US

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The map above displays each country in the Americas largest export to the United States. It is color coded by various categories listed in the legend. Note that Cuba is grayed out with “No Data” as the US does not trade with them due to the long-standing embargo. Latin America’s two largest economies (Brazil and Mexico) export industrial goods to the US – Planes, Spacecraft, and Cars – while most other countries in South America export natural resources (Sugar, Gold, and Oil). The Caribbean typically exports food products and textiles: bananas, fish, t-shirt, sweaters, etc.

Europe Income Brackets

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Above is a map of Europe color-coded into three income brackets – Dark green: greater than 40k euros per capita, Light green: between 20k and 40k euros per capita, and red: less than 20k euros per capita. Note the values are calculated in Purchasing Power Standards (PPS) a metric used by Eurostat for cross-country comparisons. PPS tires to correct for cost of living and price level differences, especially among nations with different currencies. For comparison to the United States, 40k euros converts to 44k dollars (2017 prices). US GDP per capita is 55k dollars, with the highest continental state: New York at 72k USD and lowest: Mississippi at 35k USD. This means the area’s in dark green in the map above (among the highest in Europe) would rank on the lower end of US states, around 40th out of 50.

Total World Wealth, 2016


Wealth is a different concept than income. Income is what you earn with your labor (your job) and wealth is the assets you own minus your liabilities (or debt). Said differently, the accumulation of income and property passed from generation to generation over time is wealth. Income inequality has been growing in the United States over the past 30 years and is a hot button issue, but wealth inequality is a different and even more extreme situation – especially at the global level: The richest 1% of adults in the world hold 50% of global wealth, while the top 10% hold 85%!

The total wealth of the world is estimated to be $255 trillion dollars by Credit Suisse in 2016. Of this, $84 trillion (33%) was located in the United States. Other wealthy countries include: Japan $24 T, China $23 T, UK $14 T, Germany $12 T, and France $11 T. One way to picture this distribution is with the map above colored in three tiers – The US has 1/3 of world wealth, Japan-China-UK-Germany-France combined have 1/3 of world wealth, and the remainder of the world, some 188 countries, have 1/3 of world wealth.

What are the assets that make up this wealth? Real estate is a large fraction of the total. Numbers are difficult to find but of the $84 trillion dollars of wealth in the US, $27 T (32%) of the value was real estate (2014 estimate). Another large fraction is located in financial assets: ownership of stocks, bonds, etc. This market is also concentrated with stock exchanges in the United States or Europe representing 80% of the global allocation of mutual fund assets.

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