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Most Americans Hit “Peak Income” More Than 15 Years Ago

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After adjusting for inflation, the majority of Americans are worse off today than they were decades ago. The map below shows that median household income actually peaked at least 15 years ago in 81% of U.S. counties.

Most Americans Reached

This visualization of household incomes is from an interactive map created by the Washington Post that allows users to zoom in on individual counties to see how income has changed over the years.

Some of the more interesting revelations include:

  • Income peaked one year ago for many of the counties that are a part of the shale boom. This includes much of North and South Dakota, as well as parts of Texas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. Income in Washington, D.C. and neighboring Arlington County also peaked then.
  • In 1999, a total of 1,623 counties had their households reach peak income. The majority of these counties are in the Midwest and Southeast.
  • The most southern part of California and parts of New England both peaked around 25 years ago.
  • Many states along the Rocky Mountains such as Wyoming and Montana had counties that peaked roughly 35 years ago.
  • Household income peaked in upstate New York, the northern tip of California, and southern Nevada at the same time that humans were first landing on the moon in 1969.

 

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Ranked: The Largest Gold Reserves, by Country

The U.S. holds the world’s largest gold reserves, totaling 8,133 tonnes. This graphic showcases the top 11 gold reserves by country.

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Bar chart showing Top 11 Countries by Gold Reserves

Ranked: The Largest Gold Reserves, by Country

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Gold remains an important store of value, serving as a hedge and retaining value during economic crises. In 2023, amid uncertainty about US interest rates and continued geopolitical risks, the metal once again demonstrated its importance by hitting a new record in December.

This graphic, by Sam Parker, displays the top 11 countries by gold reserves as of September 2023, based on data from Central Banks, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Gold Council.

Central Bank Gold Demand

Most of the world’s gold is stored in various locations, including central bank vaults, private depositories, and jewelry holdings.

Countries maintain gold reserves for various reasons.

Firstly, gold serves as a stable and dependable store of value, enhancing confidence in a nation’s economic stability, especially during times of financial uncertainty.

Additionally, despite the waning relevance of the gold standard, some countries still deem gold reserves crucial for maintaining currency stability.

Moreover, gold’s tangibility enables countries to diversify their overall portfolio. Currently, almost one-fifth of all the gold ever mined is held by central banks.

The U.S. boasts the world’s largest gold reserves, with 8,133 tonnes stored in 12 Federal Reserve Banks across the country:

CountryTonnes of Gold
🇺🇸 USA8,133 t
🇩🇪 Germany3,353 t
🇮🇹 Italy2,452 t
🇫🇷 France2,437 t
🇷🇺 Russia2,333 t
🇨🇳 China2,192 t
🇨🇭 Switzerland1,040 t
🇯🇵 Japan847 t
🇮🇳 India801 t
🇳🇱 Netherlands612 t
🇹🇷 Turkey479 t

Russia and China—arguably the United States’ top geopolitical rivals—have been the largest gold buyers over the last two decades. The People’s Bank of China was the biggest buyer of gold last year, purchasing 225 tonnes.

Seven of the top countries by gold reserves are also among the top 10 biggest economies.

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