By the Numbers

  • YOUNG AND OLD –  By the year 2035, the number of Americans at least age 65 (projected to be 78.0 million) will exceed the number of Americans under the age of 18 (projected to be 76.4 million), the first time in our nation’s history that has occurred (source: Census Bureau).
  • SIX-TO-ONE RETURN – The average American worker who retires next year (in 2020) will have paid $36,000 in Medicare taxes during his/her working lifetime, far less than the $229,000 in Medicare benefits that he/she is projected to receive.  The projected lifetime benefit total is net of Medicare premiums paid by the retiree (source: Urban Institute).
  • ARE YOU BETTER ON YOUR OWN? – The average American worker who retires next year (in 2020) will have paid $135,000 in Social Security taxes during his/her working lifetime, less than the $193,000 in Social Security retirement benefits that he/she is projected to receive (source: Urban Institute).
  • WHAT A DEAL – The first recipient of a monthly Social Security retirement benefit in January 1940 was 65-year old Ida May Fuller of Vermont.  During the 3 years before Fuller retired, she paid $24.75 in payroll taxes (in total, not per year).  Fuller lived another 35 years before dying at age 100 in 1975.  During her retirement, Social Security paid Fuller $22,889 in retirement benefits, i.e., she received $925 of benefits for every $1 she paid into the program (source: Social Security).
  • NOT SAVING ENOUGH – The average 65-year old American male has accumulated retirement savings that will sustain him in retirement for 9.7 years, i.e., to just short of his 75th birthday.  The problem: the average 65-year old American male has a life expectancy to 83 years, or 8.3 years beyond the point when his savings run out.  This study assumed that male retirees would need retirement income of 70% of the individual’s pre-retirement pay (source: World Economic Forum).
  • THIS IS THE MONTH – The month of June has had the greatest number of existing homes sold during each of the last 5 calendar years (2014-2018).  570,000 existing homes were sold in June 2018, an average of 19,000 a day nationwide (source: National Association of Realtors).
  • DEBT-FREE – 40% of US homeowners own their home free and clear of any mortgage debt or home equity loan.  Of the 60% of homeowners with an outstanding debt balance, the median debt total is $126,000 (source: American Housing Survey).
  • DECLINING RATE – Of individual tax returns filed in calendar year 2010, 1.11% were audited or 1 out of every 91 returns.  Since then, the audit rate has fallen for 7 consecutive years to 0.59% for individual tax returns filed in calendar year 2017, equal to 1 out of every 169 returns (source: IRS Data Book).
  • SIMPLER RETURN – An estimated 18 million taxpayers completed Schedule A (“Itemized Deductions”) as part of their 2018 tax return, down 61% in just 1 year (from 46.5 million itemizers in 2017).  The reduction in the use of Schedule A was largely a function of the increased standard deduction created by the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017” (source: Joint Committee on Taxation).
  • MONEY – The top 10% of taxpayers received 47% of the $10.2 trillion of adjusted gross income (AGI) earned nationwide in tax year 2016.  The bottom 90% of taxpayers received the other 53% of AGI (source: IRS).
  • SUBJECT TO A TARIFF? – 35% of the auto parts used by domestic auto makers are manufactured outside the United States, then imported into America (source: Deutsche Bank).
  • LESS WEIGHT, MORE MILEAGE – Every 10% reduction in the weight of an auto improves its fuel efficiency by 6-8% (source: Department of Energy).
  • RECYCLING – Just 15% of plastic is recycled globally, i.e., 85% of plastic ultimately is burned, dumped into a landfill or dropped into the ocean (source: United Nations).
  • BIGGEST CUSTOMER – 80% of Mexico’s exports are shipped to the United States (source: Financial Times).
  • NOT AS MUCH – China’s ownership of Treasury securities peaked at $1.20 trillion in August 2017 but has dropped 7.4% to $1.11 trillion as of April 2019 (source: Treasury Department).
  • THEY MAKE THINGS – US manufacturers employed 12.8 million workers as of 12/31/18, almost identical to the 12.9 million manufacturing jobs in the country as of 12/31/41 or 77 years earlier.  However, 264,000 new manufacturing jobs were added during calendar year 2018, the greatest annual increase since 1997 or 21 years ago (source: Department of Labor).
  • GOTTA START SOMEWHERE – An estimated 40% of this year’s college graduates will be “underemployed” with their first job, i.e., they will take a job for which they are academically overqualified (source: Strada Institute for the Future of Work).
  • COLLEGE – During the 2018-19 school year, American colleges awarded 1.88 million bachelor’s degrees, down from a record 1.96 million degrees from the 2016-17 school year (source: Nat’l Ctr. for Education Statistics).
  • AMERICAN FARMERNet farm income in the United States (i.e., total gross income in excess of total expenses) is projected to be $69.4 billion in 2019, down 44% from its peak level of $123.4 billion in 2013 (source: Department of Agriculture).
  • REALLY BIG COUNTRY – The United States covers 1.997 billion acres in the 48 contiguous states, including state and federally owned land.  There are 122.3 million households in the country, including homeowners and renters.  If divided equally, each household would own 16.3 acres of land (source: BTN Research).
  • SERVED OUR COUNTRY – The 18.2 million military veterans in the United States are split 91/9 between men and women (source: 2017 American Community Survey).
  • NEWBORNS – Our nation’s “general fertility rate,” defined as the number of births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15-44, was just 59.0 births in 2018, a record low for birth data that has been tracked nationally since 1909 or for the last 110 years (source: National Center for Health Statistics).
  • JUST THREE – The top company in the Fortune 500, an annual evaluation based upon total revenues for the previous calendar year, has been held by just 3 different companies over the 64 years that the magazine has published the rankings (source: Fortune).
  • TEN YEARS – June 2019 is the 120th consecutive month of an economic expansion for the United States, tying the record set between March 1991 and March 2001.  The nation has maintained records on the country’s business cycles, i.e., expansions and contractions, since 1854 (source: National Bureau of Economic Research).
  • BONDS – The US bond market (including treasury, municipal, corporate, mortgage and asset-backed debt) was worth $43.1 trillion as of 3/31/19.  Treasury debt ($15.9 trillion) makes up the largest piece of the US bond market (source: Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association).
  • STOCKS – The total capitalization of the US stock market was $31.1 trillion as of 3/31/19, or 72% of the size of the US bond market as of the same date (source: Wilshire).
  • NOT A SECOND TIME – There have been just 2 US presidents in the last 75 years who were elected to a first term in office who failed to win their re-election bid for a 2nd term – Jimmy Carter in November 1980 and George H.W. Bush in November 1992 (source: BTN Research).

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