I’m not surprised people don’t know the answer to this question, but it’s interesting that they overestimate so badly:
Any idea what proportion of American families make more than $250,000 a year? Or, to potentially make it easier, any idea what proportion of families in your state make more than $250,000 a year?
Don’t feel bad if you don’t know – most people don’t. The actual number, nationwide is somewhere less than 3% of families earn more than $250,000 a year. What did the survey respondents say when asked this question? The average response was close to 17%! – meaning your typical survey respondent thinks that almost 1 in 5 families in America earn that kind of money, when the answer is closer to 1 in 50!
That seems to imply that most people are underestimating how well-off they themselves are compared to other Americans. A family earning about $200,000 a year is better off than the vast majority of the country’s families, but might perceive itself as merely around the 80th percentile.