Friday, November 1, 2013

The Typical American

The "Typical American"

One way I like to get my head around the "typical American" is to create a composite person based on the average/mean, median, and modal data from the US Census and other sources.  This blog post is one I will update occasionally with more information on our Typical American.  As a composite person, a number of these characteristics are unlikely to combine in an actual person, but they are helpful in comparing yourself to the average or typical American.

Some Basic Statistical Terms:
  • mean:  is the fancier term for the average of a set of numbers.  
  • median:  is the middle occurrence in a list of numbers.
  • mode:  is the most common occurrence.  

Sex:  There are more females than males in the US.  So, that means our mode is female, and thus our Typical American is a woman.

Age:  Along with sex, age is one of the demographics collected on every US Census since the first in 1790.  According to the 2010 US Census, the median age is 37.2 years.  So, our lady is 37.2 years old.  Thus, she would have been born in late 1972.

Name:  Our Typical American even has a name: Jennifer.  Using data collected by the Social Security Administration, the Washington Post created this nifty animated GIF of the most popular girls' name nationally and by state.  In 1972 and 1973 the most popular name for American girls was Jennifer.

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