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

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There’s a lottery meme on Facebook claiming that if we just divided the current Powerball jackpot evenly, every American would get $4.3 million. But that’s not right at all. Why? Simple math:

When we take $1.3 billion and divide by 300 million we get $4.33. As in, four dollars and 33 cents. Not $4.33 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.

The Facebook post currently has 253,266 likes and 574,007 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.


Whoever originally made the meme, it’s pretty unstoppable.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

The meme even has its own counter-meme now:


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 $4.09.

Math 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 $1.3 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