Old joke: Man walks into a working class bar where seven men are hunched over beers. The average net worth in the bar is now seven billion dollars. Who is the man? Answer, Bill Gates. You would think that by now people would understand the difference between the mean, or average, and the median, the point in a linear array of items midway between those below and those above, on some scale of measurement.
Well, good old MSN has screwed it up, and not, I think, by accident. They have a story on their website about a list of twenty-one jobs that pay the average wage of roughly $24 an hour, or more than $48,000 a hear. Pretty good looking jobs, I must say. The only problem is that the median wage is a bit more than $13.50 an hour, or $27,500 a year. Fully half of all the full-time employed men and women in the United States make less than that. HALF. The average is pulled way above the median by the high wages of people at or near the top of the income pyramid [including me, when I was working as a senior professor, and all the other senior professors at American universities.]
Now, that isn't so hard to understand, is it?