Rich people are tall

Jeff Bezos owns 151.9 billion dollars.

A lot more than you and me. But how extreme is the difference exactly?

Wealth inequality is an important social theme, but it’s difficult to get a clear picture of it.

Dutch economist Jan Pen came up with a solution: Pen’s parade.

In this parade, wealth is expressed in height. A person of average wealth has an average height. In the Netherlands, for example, 231,900 euros in assets equals 174 centimeters.

In Pen’s parade, the entire population passes by in exactly one hour. From poor to rich, so from smallest to largest.

The first minutes take place underground: the people with debts.

From minute 12, 2-centimeter dwarfs parade past.

After 39 minutes, we see homeowners. They are already taller than a meter.

The average Dutchman only passes after 44 minutes. (In other words, the mean is higher than the median.)

In the last minutes, heights increase rapidly. A small number of giants close the parade. In the very last minute, they’re on average more than 33 meters tall. 

Pen’s parade makes abstract financial information concrete with a few simple elements.

Space, time, movement and people.

If you add those, your information becomes much easier to process.