Elon Musk vs Average American: How Do They Compare?
Entrepreneur Elon Musk doesn’t exactly mirror some of his Technorati contemporaries; rather than a man that fits the corporate glove, at times he seems more of a maverick or a soothsayer depicting what lies ahead. He’s been belittled by critics for what they say are outlandish ideas regarding artificial intelligence and how it might destroy humankind, and is sometimes called a dreamer when he states that under his guidance, scores of humans will in the not too distant future be living on his Mars colonies after hitching a ride on his company’s Interplanetary Transport System. He’s talked about the need for a Universal Basic Income when the robots have finally risen, and makes no qualms about stating he will lead us into this brave new world. With that in mind, how does he compare to you?
The 46-year old Musk was born on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, South Africa. He shares his birthdate with the notorious King Henry VIII, as well as actor John Cusack and French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau. If you follow Musk, you could say he shares some traits with all three of these men. At once a rebellious leader; a believer in futuristic social contracts, and also somewhat a celebrity figure among rather dry tech kingpins.
Musk has Dutch and British ancestry. This puts him with a rather large group in the U.S. who claim to have either Dutch or British ancestors. When Business Insider put together a list of where Americans claim to have ancestry, Germany came top, with a little over 49 million Americans (49,206,934) saying that’s where their bloodline goes back to. Black or African Americans were next at a little over 41 million (41,284,752) and Irish third at 35.5 million (35,523,082) people. As part Dutch, he joins another 4.8 million (4,810,511) Americans. It seems his mother is part English, part German, which links Musk with nearly 27 million (26,923,091) English Americans, and we already know how many German Americans there are. Some sources also point out that there are many more English Americans, but people no longer identify with that lineage and simply say that they are full-blooded Americans. Musk is also ‘white’, as are around 73 percent of all Americans.
Musk was by all accounts a bit of nerd and a computer whizz when he was just a child. His precociousness didn’t go down too well with some of the more dunderheaded kids in school, and Musk was the victim of severe bullying. According to a report by the National Center for Educational Statistics, Musk joins 20.8% of American kids that are bullied. Musk was studying in South Africa, though, not America. In the book, "Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future,” it states that young Elon was thrown down some steps by bullies and had to be hospitalized, so this was more than just name calling. The U.S. government website, StopBullying, tells us that 29.2 percent of bullied middle school kids have experience physical violence against them. But, in the words of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” And Elon powered past bullying.
He became a self-taught computer programmer by the age of 12. While autodidactism is rare in most areas of expertise, in 2016 a Stack Overflow Poll found that 69.1% of software developers were self-taught. They just didn’t do it as early as Musk, we might expect. Young Elon sold his first game at 12 and made a handsome 500 dollars. This is impressive, but not as impressive as 7-year old child prodigy Muhammad Hamza Shahzad, who became a certified programmer at 7. He is British, though, so Musk can still hold his head high in the U.S.
Before moving to Canada, Musk was educated in private schools, so you could say he got a head start. If you’ve seen our show on private and public schools, you’ll know he joins just 10 percent of kids in these sometimes posh schools, or 5.1 million students. He graduated high school, and so joins about 95 percent of private school kids that graduated, and around 80-83 percent of all Americans that graduate today. In 1997, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics, a degree which around 8,000 Americans received in 2015. According to APS, in 1997, the number was about half of that. Musk also started a PhD at Stanford University, but like many tech entrepreneurs, he dropped-out in pursuit of his dream. According to a Michigan EECS Professor, Musk joins another 50 percent of PhD students that don’t make it to the end in the U.S.
Musk formed the company Zip2 and sold it for millions, and then started X.com and PayPal. After selling Zip in 1999 Musk became a millionaire many times over, at the age of 28. Only 3 percent of the 323-plus million people in America are millionaires, and of those, the average person has to wait until they are 32 to reach that point. Musk received $22 million in one shot. As for other Americans with degrees, Musk is somewhat out earning them. While the average American has savings of $6,676, excluding property, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, advanced degree holders on average earn $72,824 a year.
Musk teamed up with Peter Thiel to form PayPal, and soon the pair were billionaires. He debuted on the Forbes Billionaires List in 2012, with a reported worth of $2 billion. At 41, he was perhaps an old Billionaire compared to his compatriots Mark Zuckerberg – billionaire at 23 – or SnapChat’s Evan Spiegel – billionaire at 25. Still, it’s thought it takes the average billionaire around the world until the age of 63 to amass their fortune. According to Forbes, in 2016 there were 540 billionaires in the United States, with a total fortune of $2.399 trillion. Musk’s worth today is thought to be $19.3 billion, slightly more than the average Americans in his age group who would have 84,000 dollars if they sold everything they owned. To get an idea of this wealth, if Elon spent one million bucks every day it would take him a little over 52 years (52.294024) to finish off his present cash pile if he never earned another penny. He’d be 98, and probably have a lot of gadgets, houses, planes and cars.
He already owns five multi-million dollar properties, picking up his last one in Bel Air, Los Angeles in 2016. According to Variety, this last house cost him $24,250,000. It has 7 bedrooms, 7 full bathrooms, 4 half bathrooms, and is 20,248-square-feet. It also boasts public entertainment rooms, a two-story library, a home theater, a large gym, and a 1,000-bottle wine cellar, according to Variety. The average American house on the market now is going for $385,200 and is 2,687 square feet in size. Musk has two cars, a Ford Model T and a beautiful looking Jaguar Series 1 1967 E-type Roadster. We found one of these on sale online at time of writing, costing $289,500. It’s thought that the average household in the U.S. owns 1.9 personal vehicles, and while that might make our man Musk a little average for once in this show, the average cost of a car in America in 2016 was $25,449. We should add that he also owns aircraft.
Musk has been married and divorced, which is quite average for America as around 40 to 50 percent of married Americans will separate. According to data from the National Survey of Family Growth, 70% of men that married between 2006 and 2010 have a probability of their relationship lasting a decade. Musk separated after 8 years. He had one child that died of sudden infant death syndrome. The CDC tells us that in 2015, 39.4 deaths occurred due to SIDS per 100,000 live births. Musk went on to have five children, all boys, via in vitro fertilization. In 2017, the fertility rate in the U.S. is 62 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. According to the New York Times, this is a record low. Musk was dating actress Amber Heard after her and Johnny Depp split, although gossip magazines tell us now he is single again. He is in good company, as a survey in 2016 found that the average American will have 7.2 partners.
For those who are interested, Elon is 6ft 2in (188 cm) and 220 lbs (95 kg). The average height of an American man is 5’9”, (178.8 cm) and the average weight is 195 lbs (88 kilos). He seems like a decent fella, but word has it, he can be a nightmare to work with.
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