Wednesday 14 July 2010

Measure of Spread

My recent post on the standard deviation (a measure of spread) happened to coincide closely with a really nice post from Professor Robert W. Jernigan over at Statpics on how the average CEO's salary compared to the average salary in the US has changed between 1965 and 2005. The "graphs" on the two tables represent the average salary as a paper cup in each stack (the little brownish blob), and the average CEO salary is shown by a stack (pyramid?) of champagne glasses. The actual numbers he gives are from 25:1 in 1965 to 275:1 in 2005. The image is actually from an Art Exhibit in Detroit on "The American Dream".

Those who actually pay attention when I gripe know I hate the casual use of the word "average" without detail, but I assume this refers to the common "arithmetic average" salary in the US. If that is what is used, it means that the truth is actually more severe than the picture shows. Every time the CEO gets a big salary jump, they drag the average up a little more beyond what the "typical" or median income is.

Without much time this morning to search, I still found a quick indicator of wealth distribution in 2005 at this site.
Here is a breakdown of how household incomes fall percentages from top to bottom according to U.S Census Bureau statistics for 2005.

* Top 1%: Earns $350,000 or more
* Top 1.5%: Earns $250,000 or more
* Top 5%: Earns $167,000 or more
* Top 20%: Earns $92,000 or more
* Top 25%: Earns $77,500 or more
* Middle 20%: Earns $35,000 to $55,000
* Middle 33%: Earns $30,000 to $62,500
* Bottom 25%: Earns $0 to $22,500
* Bottom 20%: Earns $0 to $18,500
* Bottom 10%: Earns $0 to $10,500

And apparently it has gotten worse since. Just found this at a site called "Fair Econonmy" :

CEO-WORKER DIVIDE: CEOs in the United States, despite our current hard economic times, continue to pocket outlandishly large pay packages. S&P 500 CEOs last year averaged $10.5 million, 344 times the pay of typical American workers. Compensation levels for private investment fund managers soared even further out into the pay stratosphere. Last year, the top 50 hedge and private equity fund managers averaged $588 million each, more than 19,000 times as much as typical U.S. workers earned.
Hope you are getting your share.

1 comment:

mwildcard said...

Interesting...I read this post the day that Thomas Sowell wrote and published this article:

The spread may be large, and the gap between the top and bottom percentages has widened, but very very few real PEOPLE have stayed in the same bracket as they were two decades ago.