Alison's Writing Portfolio · On Culture & Trends · On Lifestyle · On Places & Travel

Silverjet Folds, Mass Luxury Finished? –The Huffington Post, 5/30/08

The all-business class airline Silverjet folded today, provoking these thoughts from me on the demise of "mass luxury" for the Huffington Post.

A bit more info for those geekily and freakily interested in income statistics. When I was Editor-at -Large at the late, lamented American Demographics magazine, one of the side benefits was the uncanny nerdy ability to spout statistics about the US population. It’s a skill I no longer have, alas, which I believe makes me less fun to have at cocktail parties.

If I thought people were engaging in too much self pity over not having a housekeeper or a new car, I liked to break out my favorite downer stat: how little money most Americans live on. I think most people of a certain socioeconomic group assume that most two-income households easily crack $50,000 a year, but, that’s not true: median income today is well shy of $49,000. And because I have always either lived or spent a lot of time in New York City, I was often assured that these rules simply didn’t apply to New York where everyone simply had to earn more just to survive.

Hogwash. I had to look back to 2003 to get the kind of data I wanted, but back then, in the US, median household income was $43,564, and about 14% earned $100,000. In New York City, median income was actully lower $39,937, and only about 15% earned over $100,000.

Oh, that includes the outer boroughs though. So just in Manhattan (or New York County) it’s higher: median $47,415, and about 24% earned $100,000 or more, but that still means that the vast majority of people in Manhattan ain’t rolling in it –it’s just that the ones that are are making out really well.

You can read much, more more on this page at the Census Bureau’s website.