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11 Wild Statistics About Turning 30
written by Sam Greenspan

Today's my 30th birthday.


A photo from my 30th birthday party on Saturday.
When I was visiting my parents in Cleveland a few weeks ago, my mom gave me this book she found at a used book store. It's called "Book of Ages: 30"... and, basically, it simultaneously makes you feel great and terrible about turning 30.

The book is full of statistics and anecdotes, half of which make you say "That's great, I'm way ahead of the game" and half of which make you say "Are you kidding me? Bill Gates made $234 million at age 30?! I should just call it a life."

But, between my alternating thoughts of joy and self-loathing, the book provided some great bits of info about turning 30. Here are 11 statistics about entering your fourth decade that I found eye-opening, intriguing and/or ultra, ultra depressing.
  1. The average person has had 7.5 jobs, and you'll have 2.4 more by age 35. I've had more than 7.5 jobs... it's closer to 20. (Dot-com era, man. I made great money hopping from company to company during college.) Not counting temp work, I've only had three in adult life, though.

    Of course, none of us compares to Homer Simpson, as quoted in the underrated modern-era episode "Papa's Got a Brand New Badge": "You know, I've had a lot of jobs -- boxer, mascot, astronaut, imitation Krusty, baby proofer, trucker, hippie, plow driver, food critic, conceptual artist, grease salesman, carny, mayor, drifter, bodyguard for the mayor, country-western manager, garbage commissioner, mountain climber, farmer, inventor, Smithers, Poochie, celebrity assistant, power plant worker, fortune cookie writer, beer baron, Kwik-E-Mart clerk, homophobe and missionary."


  2. New Cleveland Indian Jason Knapp. I'm old enough to be... well, not his father, seeing as I was not knocking people up at age 11. But definitely old enough to be his funny uncle.
    At age 30, you're older than 42 percent of Americans. You never really think about how old you are until the Cleveland Indians trade away a Cy Young award-winning pitcher for four prospects... the most promising of whom is pitcher Jason Knapp, born August 31st, 1990.

    My dreams of an Indians World Series victory in my lifetime now officially hinge on someone born in the '90s.

  3. You're 26 percent less likely to make a New Year's resolution in your 30s... but if you do make one, you're 26 percent more likely to stick to it. I totally believe this. I've definitely found my follow through (on all endeavors) has gotten better as I've gotten older.

    Although I just looked back on the list I posted of 11 of My New Year's Resolutions for 2009 -- and I'm only doing so-so on getting these done. Still haven't signed up for a class. That was a weird resolution for me to make. Maybe I'll just watch a YouTube tutorial video on knitting or something.


  4. I don't want a gun, but when we rented a cop car for filming at work, I did have a brief "Nooooooooo!" moment with a fake gun.
    45 percent will own a firearm in their 30s. The decade in your life when you're most likely to own a firearm is your 30s. I won't be joining them. Gun ownership has always held zero appeal to me.

    I remember having a moment about six months ago where I realized, "You know, I could own a gun if I wanted to." Really, it had never even clicked in my head.

    So I'm going to be part of that slight majority that doesn't own a gun during their 30s. Unless society plummeted deeper into shit in the next decade... or I move to Texas or Florida.

  5. 96 percent of gay people have realized they're gay by age 30. So it's extremely unlikely that I'm going to wake up one day in the future and go, "Ohhh! THAT'S why, despite the worst dialogue in film history, I've seen '300' seventeen times."

  6. 0.036 percent of people are in elementary school at age 30. Billy likes to drink soda.

  7. One out of 33 men and one out of 25 women are virgins at age 30. I find this one confusing. I'm going to draw some generalizations here (which will, no doubt, be dissected and pounded in the comments).

    Generalization one: People who are virgins at age 30 generally do so for religious reasons.

    Two: Deeply religious people tend to get married to other deeply religious people relatively quickly in adult life.

    Three: After those deeply religious people get married in their 20s, they have 14 seconds of awkward wedding night sex and lose their virginity.

    Four: Maybe monks, Catholic priests and Break.com fans can account for the 1/33 virgin men... but where are all those women coming from?


  8. I did not get married young.
    81 percent of women and 71 percent of men have been married by age 30 (and 16 percent of each have been divorced). When I was at my 10-year high school reunion, I noticed a huge trend amongst my classmates regarding marriage in your 20s. People who moved back to Cleveland after college (or never left Cleveland for college) were married by age 28. People who left Cleveland to live in a giant city (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc.) were not married.

    There were a few outliers in both directions but, in general, this rule proved true. And other friends of mine have confirmed the same pattern at their reunions.

    I don't have much of a grandiose point here... I could espouse on the tired city folk versus middle America debate that seems to surface every election season, but I won't. Instead, I'll simply say this to my younger readers: Where you choose to live post-college is a monumental decision that doesn't just shape your professional life. So make the choice very carefully. And you need to take the option of moving back in with your parents "to save money" right off the table.

  9. The most common way to die at age 30 is by accident. 29 percent of people who die at age 30 die in an accident. It's followed by suicide at 12 percent, homicide and cancer tied at 10 percent, then heart disease at seven percent.

    Or, according to the assholes who made the Wii Fit, 100 percent of people die because they have a bad center of balance.

  10. 30 is the average age of retirement for NFL players. And the modal age of death for people living in the domed city in Logan's Run.

  11. The odds you'll make it to your late 30s are 99,003 out of 100,000, or 99.003 percent. In other words... come August 3rd, 2019, I'll be making a list called 11 Wild Statistics About Turning 40. And the list will probably turn out better than this one did, because I'm writing this still unbelievably hung over from my all-day 30th birthday party on Saturday.

This list was originally published on Monday, August 3, 2009 at 12:01:00 AM under the category Personal.
It currently has View Comments.

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