The State of the Economy, Investing, Housing, and Brazilian Bikini Waxes

Among other surprising factoids, 44% of Americans say they'll never put money in the stock market again.

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By Romano Cagnoni, Getty Images

Sunbathers on Brazil's famed Ipanema Beach

Among other surprising factoids, 44% of Americans say they’ll never put money in the stock market again.

Here, some interesting new stats and survey figures:

2% The expected increase in the property-crime rate for a 1% increase in the unemployment rate. To the surprise of many criminologists, crimes rates have actually fallen over the past few years, even as the unemployment rate has headed in the opposite direction.

12% Percentage of respondents in a new National Foundation for Credit Counseling survey who said they would have no trouble coming up with a 20% down payment for the purchase of a house. Half of those surveyed said they’d never be able to save enough for such a down payment. Government leaders such as U.S. Senator John Kerry have been arguing against a new proposal that would require some buyers to come up with 20% down in order to get low-interest mortgages—saying that the rules would effectively price many buyers out of the market.

12.2% Increase in the number of millionaires in the world in 2010, up to 12.5 million millionaire households. By far, the U.S. has the most millionaires—5.2 million.

12.4% Increase in the average cost of a bikini wax in Brazil, a key economic indicator in the country that enjoys beach weather year-round. No matter the price hike, “domestic demand is too strong” for services such as bikini waxes, says one Brazilian economist. Observers fear inflation, though perhaps not nearly as much as unsightly hair.

27% In a big Charles Schwab poll of American teenagers, 27% of teens now say they have a car, compared to 43% in 2007. Also interesting: 64% of teens say that in light of the recession they are more grateful for what they have, and 58% are less likely to ask for stuff they want. Yet at the same time, teens seem to know less nowadays about basic finance: only 39% say they understand how credit card interest and fees work, compared to 64% in 2007.

31% Percentage of buyers paying for houses in cash, down slightly from a record 35% in March, but still remarkably high.

34.9% Percentage of occupied homes being rented nationally, compared to 33.8% in 2000. More than 500 big U.S. cities have seen a rise in rented homes, including, for example, Irvine, Calif., where just under half of occupied homes are now rented, up from 40% a decade ago.

40% Percentage of Americans who report feeling unconfident in their financial advisers.

44% In probably related news, 44% of Americans in another survey say they will never plan on putting money in the stock market again.

46.5% Percentage of Americans who would struggle to come up with $2,000 in 30 days. If that’s you, you’re described as “financially fragile.”
70% Percentage of respondents in a USAA Bank survey who said they’d refrain from buying a $40 pair of jeans if they only had $20 left in the clothing allowance of their budget. As for the other 30% … budgets shmudgets, I look fabulous in these jeans.