At the end of November, my favorite consumer-friendly blog, The Consumerist, reported that there were more payday lenders operating in the United States than there were McDonald’s.
This statistic blows me away and breaks my heart at the same time. Despite the fact that these storefront loan sharks are illegal in several states including in New York, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, right, brother Jim? their popularity apparently rages on.
As Siri just told me, the population of the United States is 319,309,000. With 20,000 predatory lending operations open for business, that means there is one payday lender for approximately every 16,000 people. Compare that to McDonald’s. With a little more than 14,000 locations, that’s one Big Mac factory for every 22,807 people.
This got me to thinking. How much awful per capita is really out there?
- It’s the holiday season, and the National Fire Protection Association reports that approximately 230 Christmas tree-related home fires occur each year. That’s one pine-scented inferno for every 1.38 million Americans.
- There are 153 movies on the Rotten Tomatoes website that have a 0% ranking. Not one single person has uploaded a positive review. That means there is one of these horrific movies like Jaws: The Revenge, The Fox and the Hound 2, and S. Darko for every 2.08 million Americans.
- There are currently 23 legal brothelsin Nevada, the only state where some form of prostitution is legal. That’s one house of ill repute for every 13.8 million Americans.
Yep , when it comes to spreading awfulness among the population, it seems payday lenders have the upper hand. I could only find one other awful statistic to make their permeance even somewhat palatable.
- Candy manufacturers make 9 billion individual pieces of candy corn every single year. That means that there are 28 pieces of candy corn for every single American.
Or course, it’s worth pointing out that there is a counterbalance to all that payday lending awfulness. According to Callahan’s Peer-to-Peer, there are 20,968 credit union branches in the United States. With one credit union branch for every 15,200 Americans.
The good guys win one … candy corn for everybody!