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.


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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