MATH FAIL: Powerball Can’t End Poverty

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Memes might be good for a laugh… but don’t count on them for math. 

A viral post from Instagram meme creator Esteyban that is now being widely shared on Facebook claims the $1.3 billion Powerball jackpot is enough to turn every American into an instant millionaire. 

“Poverty solved!!” the meme optimistically declares. 

Credit: Esteyban
A meme circulating on Instagram and Facebookclaimsthe Powerball jackpot can end poverty.

Just one problem: The numbers are a little bit off. 

Instead of giving everyone $4.33 million, as the post calculates, divvying up the jackpot among 300 million people would result in a payout of $4.33 each. If you use the actual population — 322.8 million — we’d get just $4.02 each, plus a fraction of a cent. 

Since $1.3 billion is the jackpot for those who choose to have it paid out over 30 years, that adds up to a hair over 13 cents per person per year.

Since the meme was created, the jackpot jumped to $1.4 billion — or enough to give everyone roughly an extra penny per year.

Don’t spend it all in one place. 

Instagram user Esteyban has deleted the original post and owned up to the math mistake. 

“Sometimes it takes a little humility and humor to start a conversation about an important topic,” he wrote. 

The next Powerball drawing is on Wednesday night. 

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