American Powerball Maths: $1.3 Billion Divided By 300 Million Is Actually $4.33

Powerball Maths: $US1.3 ($2) Billion Divided By 300 Million Is Actually $US4.3 ($6)3 ($6)

There's a lottery meme spreading amongst American Facebook users claiming that if the current US Powerball jackpot was divided evenly, every American would get $US4.3 million. But that's not right at all. Why? Simple maths. When we take $US1.3 billion and divide by 300 million we get $US4.33. As in, four dollars and 33 cents. Not $US4.33 million. So while it's a nice dream that the lottery winnings would make every person in the country wealthy, it's not even close to being true.

At time of writing, the Facebook post currently has 403,336 likes and 809,789 shares. And that's not even counting the number of people who have just ripped the image and posted it to their Facebook page anew.

In fact, the image that's currently going viral looks as if it was altered to include a different handle, @Livesosa. There's a ghostly image behind it that I can't quite make out.

Powerball Maths: $US1.3 ($2) Billion Divided By 300 Million Is Actually $US4.3 ($6)3 ($6)

Whoever originally made the meme, it's pretty unstoppable. Expect to see this one on your American friends and family's social media accounts this week, if you haven't already.

The meme even has its own counter-meme now:

Powerball Maths: $US1.3 ($2) Billion Divided By 300 Million Is Actually $US4.3 ($6)3 ($6)

Nevermind the fact that the population of the United States is actually closer to 319 million. Which means that if the Powerball jackpot were divided evenly amongst the entire population everyone would get about $US4.09.

Maths was never my strong suit. But I certainly know how to use a calculator. Or Google. There are literally millions of better ways to give away $US1.3 billion than handing it over to one person. And maybe dividing it evenly would be smart. But you're not going to get much more than enough for a cup of coffee.

h/t Chris Scott on Twitter

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    Well, if their population was 300, rather than 300,000,000, then the maths would be right.

    My guess is they took the correct number, 1,300,000,000 and then just took the 300 number and forgot the million that they had just written. :-\

    That winning amount is also before payment of income tax. So $4.09 before tax!

    People are idiots!

    Someone once posted on facebook a meme that said something like "This month has 5 Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, this only happens once every 5,000 years".

    Think I deleted them after telling them it happens several times a year...

    I guess nobody realises that there are several definitions of 'billion'.
    Presumably the meme was calculated by someone of old british, or german/french schooling.

      Even using "long form" billion, you only add another three digits to the left of the decimal place: $4,333 (four thousand, three hundred and thirty three dollars).. still not enough to eliminate poverty and still a long way from 4.3 million.

      I think some people possibly thought of that, noted that the difference in the two meanings is only a factor of 1000, and concluded that either way, the maths was still wrong

    And even if it were true, there would be no reason to get excited as very quickly prices would rise so that everyones relative wealth (buying power) would be the same as before.

    They should donate the money to the education system

    1.3b is 1,300 million, divided by 300 million. you could even simplify it again and do 13/3. alternately you could do 300 million times 4.3 million and see how large of a number you end up with. its 1,290,000,000,000,000.

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