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Mon Jul 9, 2018, 01:25 PM

Why Won't Millennials Join Country Clubs?

City Lab

The traditional country club and the activity that is its mainstay—golf—are both having a hard time attracting a younger demographic. In the 1990s, there were more than 5,000 full-service golf and country clubs in the 1990s. In 2010, there were about 4,100, and now that number has dipped below 4,000. A 2014 study commissioned by the National Club Association found that club membership was down 20 percent from 1990.

In the ‘90s, around 9 million adults aged 18 to 34 played golf, according to the National Golf Foundation. Today, that number is closer to 6.2 million. The research firm IBISWorld found that from 2011 to 2016, golf-course and country-club revenue grew by a little more than 1 percent annually.

As clubs like Soho House, The Assemblage, and The Wing prove, plenty of Millennials are open to joining a private-membership club—if it’s lounge-y, diverse, and in an urban setting. “‘Country club,’ that category has a lot of connotations,” said MaryLeigh Bliss of Ypulse, a research firm focused on Millennials. “Really, that golf problem is a big one, but also clubs’ history of not being open to certain groups. Country clubs have that long-term history of being only for high-income white families, and that’s not something Millennials are really looking for.”

“[Country clubs] are not doing a good job of welcoming Millennials, minorities and moms—the three M’s,” Larry Hirsch, president of Golf Property Analysts, told the Dallas Morning News.

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Arrow 56 replies Author Time Post
Reply Why Won't Millennials Join Country Clubs? (Original post)
brooklynite Jul 2018 OP
dchill Jul 2018 #1
shraby Jul 2018 #2
gay texan Jul 2018 #14
Loki Liesmith Jul 2018 #52
House of Roberts Jul 2018 #3
Aristus Jul 2018 #4
dalton99a Jul 2018 #23
maxsolomon Jul 2018 #5
Recursion Jul 2018 #29
maxsolomon Jul 2018 #36
Coventina Jul 2018 #47
maxsolomon Jul 2018 #54
Baitball Blogger Jul 2018 #6
no_hypocrisy Jul 2018 #7
NCTraveler Jul 2018 #8
underpants Jul 2018 #13
uponit7771 Jul 2018 #9
zipplewrath Jul 2018 #10
Blue_Tires Jul 2018 #11
DinahMoeHum Jul 2018 #12
Zing Zing Zingbah Jul 2018 #16
gay texan Jul 2018 #15
FSogol Jul 2018 #27
gay texan Jul 2018 #45
Ohiogal Jul 2018 #32
LeftInTX Jul 2018 #17
phylny Jul 2018 #41
wonkwest Jul 2018 #18
ProfessorGAC Jul 2018 #38
wonkwest Jul 2018 #50
beachbum bob Jul 2018 #19
tonyt53 Jul 2018 #34
Freethinker65 Jul 2018 #20
gay texan Jul 2018 #46
msongs Jul 2018 #21
ProfessorGAC Jul 2018 #40
DetlefK Jul 2018 #22
lagomorph777 Jul 2018 #24
The Genealogist Jul 2018 #25
Fullduplexxx Jul 2018 #26
MicaelS Jul 2018 #28
jmowreader Jul 2018 #30
eissa Jul 2018 #31
Yonnie3 Jul 2018 #33
MichMan Jul 2018 #35
ProfessorGAC Jul 2018 #37
pnwmom Jul 2018 #39
ProfessorGAC Jul 2018 #42
pnwmom Jul 2018 #48
GulfCoast66 Jul 2018 #55
Lee-Lee Jul 2018 #43
Tavarious Jackson Jul 2018 #44
FakeNoose Jul 2018 #49
backtoblue Jul 2018 #51
Books_Tea_Alone Jul 2018 #53
AwakeAtLast Jul 2018 #56

Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 01:29 PM

1. Go figure.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 01:36 PM

2. It seems the younger people are more into action oriented things to do, and golfing is pretty

slow and boring.

Give them mountain bikes, motorcycles, hang gliders, sky diving, mountain climbing, skiing, snowmobiling, and similar pursuits, and they are much happier.

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Response to shraby (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 02:08 PM

14. Put a motocross track on a golf course

And you might attract them....

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Response to shraby (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 04:48 PM

52. Just starting to get into golf

But I’d rather be rock climbing

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 01:37 PM

3. Most of the golfers I know,

are determined to play a variety of courses. They buy that Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail card and go to a different course every weekend there's good weather. They don't want to play the same course over and over.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 01:40 PM

4. Who knew a membership policy of "We Don't Want You Here" would come back to

bite them in the ass?

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Response to Aristus (Reply #4)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 02:38 PM

23. Bingo

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 01:40 PM

5. Yachting is probably less popular these days, too.

Golf takes an immense amount of time, and it takes an immense amount of money to join a Country Club.

My BIL plays 1x/week, and he gets up at 5 am to do it, and only plays 9, so he's available to help chauffeur his kids around by noon.

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Response to maxsolomon (Reply #5)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 03:13 PM

29. Yachting, yes. Sailing, however, is experiencing a resurgence

And cities are finding that having active and accessible marinas can be an important part of core development.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #29)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 03:52 PM

36. Sorry, meant to equate Golf with another expensive, effete hobby.

But I suppose there's nothing comparable.

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Response to maxsolomon (Reply #36)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 04:25 PM

47. Yachting is effete? That's news to me!

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Response to Coventina (Reply #47)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 06:37 PM

54. I took it back and you're still on about it.

You really don't want Yachting to be effete. You must have a yacht.

Is "exclusive" more accurate?

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 01:40 PM

6. Country Clubs don't embrace diversity.

They're generally patronized by old guys who complain when the membership increases and they lose their tee times. It's not a welcoming environment for most people.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 01:42 PM

7. A lot of Millenials are inclusive, that's why.

I can't see them joining clubs that restrict membership, let alone guest passes, to non-whites. Also there's an issue of sexism. I've known of clubs that take away the membership of widows for fear that they will be predators on the husbands of other members.

Also membership fees to join are cost-prohibitive.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 01:44 PM

8. Look at the decline of interest in golf and how it...

 

Coincides with Tigers fall.

The guy was enormous for the sport and marketing.

Golf is down in many demographics. Not just millenials.

There are many other reasons as well.

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #8)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 02:05 PM

13. Yes that was clearly the peak

Some thing for NASCAR. The 90's was both of their peaks and money flowed into them expecting it to continue.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 01:49 PM

9. 2 yrs 50% of kids under 18 will be PoC, why would they embrace exclusive environments? I don't ...

... understand the long game of some of these institutions but the games that are most inclusive in many categories grow and sustain.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 01:59 PM

10. Student Loans

It's always been a problem with private clubs. They tend to "age" very quickly and struggle to bring in new members because they are designed and run by the older members. It's only gotten worse now with young people graduating with insanely high student loans. There just isn't going to be extra money for social clubs of any sort that have steep membership fees.

The only clubs that are still thriving are basically the "1%" clubs. i.e. the clubs run by and for members of the 1%. Ya know, the Mar-a-lago kinda places.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 02:00 PM

11. Millennials do have a "country club", it's called Reddit/Twitch/etc...

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 02:05 PM

12. Gee, maybe it's 'cause they can't afford 'em ???

Last edited Mon Jul 9, 2018, 05:06 PM - Edit history (1)

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Response to DinahMoeHum (Reply #12)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 02:12 PM

16. Lol, what I was thinking and also they don't like golf. n/t

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 02:11 PM

15. In my day

Country clubs is where all the rich assholes and their kids hung out. Very few of the blue collar folks wanted anything to do with them.

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Response to gay texan (Reply #15)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 03:03 PM

27. Yup, What's the difference between a country club and a porcupine?

The pricks are on the outside of a porcupine.

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Response to FSogol (Reply #27)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 04:22 PM

45. Good one!!!! N/t

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Response to gay texan (Reply #15)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 03:24 PM

32. My thinking, exactly, gay texan.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 02:12 PM

17. I'm a baby boomer and have never joined a country club

Around here, it's for rich people...

When our old neighborhood didn't have a pool, I joined a local swim and tennis club. Does that count?

Our current neighborhood has a pool and tennis courts. (Not fancy or anything...not enough parking) We belong to an HOA and pay $170/yr. HOA's are popular around here, cuz of the neighborhood pools. (Texas..hot as hell)



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Response to LeftInTX (Reply #17)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 04:02 PM

41. Same.

My husband's father and stepfather both joined country clubs. My husband would rather play public courses and he does. We're not sinking our money into a country club when they're on the decline.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 02:15 PM

18. As a Millennial-ish in the tech world

 

Golf just doesn't work culturally anymore.

People with money will always seek exclusivity, but in my world, that exclusivity tracks with the article. It's all urban. Certain bars, lounges, etc. Networking happens with activity trips instead of 18 rounds. "Hey, let's going skiing in Tahoe for a weekend. Let's join an urban soccer league. Let's hit up these exclusive restaurants."

Country clubs are perceived as an older, white phenomenon and not something people of this generation with money are looking for.

Upper middle class Millennials, in my experience, want to be able to flash their cash around a bit. Best food, best car, best clothes, best watches, best vacations, etc.

No one is on a golf course.

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Response to wonkwest (Reply #18)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 03:56 PM

38. Good Luck With That Perspective

Skiing in Tahoe is your revolutionary push back against golf?
That's just hilarious!

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #38)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 04:37 PM

50. Well, not mine, lol

 

I just used it as an example (although I do go skiing in Tahoe once or twice a season).

It has to do with projecting an image. Unless someone can figure out an amazing pair of knickers that allows tech people to flash their success, golf isn't going to work.

Also, and I'm generalizing a bit here, Millennials with tech money seem to be more activity based. This is a generation raised on an unending stream of stimulation. Personally, I cannot imagine the boredom that golf must entail. Walking around, talking, hit a ball, walk around, talk some more. At least hiking can be a physical challenge and lead to seeing beautiful sights.

But it doesn't have to be physical. Video game tournaments, bar trivia, paintball, board game nights, amusement parks, etc. That's how this generation - even the monied ones - socialize.

Golf and a country club is something their grandpa would do.

I have a fairly extended social circle, and I cannot think of a single person I know who golfs.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 02:15 PM

19. They can't even afford to buy a house....

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Response to beachbum bob (Reply #19)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 03:49 PM

34. Bingo!

 

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 02:17 PM

20. Because they are filled with shallow pretentious homogeneous aging members

Unless you must do business with such types, why would you ever pay to belong to one. If you have money why limit yourself to one, or several, country clubs when you have so many travel options and alternative high dining and recreational activities at your disposal.

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Response to Freethinker65 (Reply #20)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 04:24 PM

46. Bingo!!!! N/t

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 02:31 PM

21. George Carlin as it right as usual - turn golf courses into homeless housing

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Response to msongs (Reply #21)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 03:58 PM

40. No He Wasn't

He did that bit before the golf industry doubled in 10 years because of a middle class black kid
I liked George, but a prophet, he wasn't

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 02:37 PM

22. First diamonds, then cloth-napkins, now country-clubs... When will the Millennials have mercy?

First they kill the diamond-industry.
Then they come for cloth-napkins.
Now they are targeting country-clubs.

Millennials are ruthless destroyers!!!

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 02:43 PM

24. Not enough millionaire millenials to go around?

I'm sure it has nothing to do with the immense void of economic inequality in this country.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 02:59 PM

25. I've personally always thought of country clubs as sort of archaic, myself

There are a coup,e of county clubs where I live. I've been to a coup,e as a guest. My experience is that they are the domain of pretentious older white people. They are stuffy, boring, very white. I Can't imagine why a young person, full of life and vitality, would want to belong to something like that. Plus, how can they afford to be a member of something like that, when they are saddled with college debt by age 22.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 03:00 PM

26. Good riddance let them go the way of the telegraph .

Golf courses are a waste of real estate

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 03:03 PM

28. I hate golf courses.

Like Rodney Dangerfield said in Caddyshack.

"I'll buy up your crummy snobatorium and build condos on it."

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 03:17 PM

30. Being in a country club requires looking up from your phone once in a while

There are a lot of good points here, but this one must also be considered: Millennials are the Hermit Generation. Most of them don't join clubs. We could change "country club" to Elks, Eagles, Lions, Masons, Shriners, veterans groups, whatever, and get the same result. My brother is in the Marine Corps League. He's 52 years old and he's the youngest person in his chapter.

Add to that what country clubs are there for - to operate upscale golf courses - and you've got a bigger problem.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 03:22 PM

31. My son works part-time at the local country club

while going to school full-time. He says members are like a completely different breed. In their own homogeneous, rich world where they don't have to interact with the peasants unless ordering another drink. The only non-whites are those who wish they were. It's definitely not something he or his peers would ever entertain joining.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 03:25 PM

33. I've worked a lot of wedding parties in country clubs.

Over the last decade I've noticed changes in some clubs.

Dress codes are more relaxed and often limited to one area where the senior members hangout.

Money is going for new pools and workout rooms rather than golf course upkeep, one added a supervised play area for members kids. Priorities are changing.

Formerly only a member's immediate family could do wedding parties, now many only require a member's sponsorship (non-financial). At some, members are given a finders fee if they bring in the business.

I've not seen any push diversity as an answer to their difficulties nor do anything that would attract significant numbers of millennials.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 03:50 PM

35. If no young diverse meillenials are ever interested in joining.......

….because it is full of old white people, how will it ever become younger and more diverse?


Maybe if they joined, it would change the demographics of the membership more to their liking.


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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 03:54 PM

37. Dumb

I'm a wealthy boomer and I never even considered joining a country club.
The premise is stupid

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 03:58 PM

39. Out here millennials would much rather go hiking or boating, instead of

Last edited Mon Jul 9, 2018, 04:59 PM - Edit history (1)

walking on manicured grass.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #39)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 04:06 PM

42. And?

Mom, you and I agree on a lot, but I don't get the golf hate.
Here's who I've played with the past 25 years:
Truck driver
Plumber
AC salesperson
Power Plant operator
Food packaging plant line operator
Medical records worker
Truck Spotter
Multi Modal Crane Operator
Cop
Social Worker
High School Teacher (x3)
High School Guidance Counselor
Not exactly the snooty elite, is it?
The game is not really about snobby asswipes!

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #42)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 04:33 PM

48. This isn't golf hate. I'm just saying what young people in the NW do. They like to be

out in the woods or out on the water (preferably with a dog). Not on the links.

We own golf clubs and my husband introduced our kids to the sport. But none of them got interested in pursuing it.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #42)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 07:04 PM

55. In a Country Club?

I totally agree with your point that all types play golf. I did until it became a choice between golf and a boat to fish the gulf. No brainer for me. And I played as a blue collar worker with other blue collar workers.

But joining a CC is a whole different kettle of fish.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 04:08 PM

43. It's not just country clubs- civic organizations, veterans groups

 

Younger veterans are not joining organizations like the VFW and American Legion like other generations did.

Same goes for all sorts of civic groups, from the Lions Clubs to Kiwanis to any others. The membership demographics are growing older and many local branches are closing due to lack of interest.

I think much of all of this is the fact we are so connected online anymore. People don’t need to join organizations to interact with people, we do it constantly on our screens.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 04:08 PM

44. I have 2 millenial children

They work too much to have time to golf. If they are not working, they're growing their own food.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 04:34 PM

49. The millennials that I know personally

...are paying off student loans or trying to save up for a down payment on a house. (A few lucky ones can do both.) I don't know a single millennial who plays golf, but I do know several who are into outdoorsy activities. They're more likely to go camping, hiking, boating, biking, etc.

"Playing golf" sounds like hanging out with old Dads, it costs a lot of money and it's not interesting or fun.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 04:45 PM

51. I worked for a country club once

Ran the bar and saw some of the most misogynistic, snobby racist assholes. Money certainly does not buy "class".

It didn't take long for me to leave for a different job.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 05:03 PM

53. Here in my little affluent corner, Lifetime Fitness has replaced the country club

The country club set of people as well as millennials join Lifetime Fitness at upwards of $5000 a year for a family membership. It is a monster club, beautiful and complete with private beautiful outdoor pools with drink service, restaurants, smoothie bars, massage, personal trainers, etc... Wealthy families here in bergen county stopped joining their town swim clubs and belong here instead. No outside guests allowed ever, even by invitation.
Saying your family belongs to Lifetime (it is a chain) has replaced country clubs here

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 07:40 PM

56. With income inequality

The number of wealthy people goes down, not up. Guess they forgot that.

Womp womp!

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