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I lost my wallet and someone didn't return it. Revenge is a dish best served... with data.
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Here is the data:
Summary: I lost my wallet. That made me curious about what kind of person doesn't return a found wallet. So I got 200 wallets and dropped them in 10 cities to collect data to rank the honesty of the cities and to build a profile of an honest person. We looked at variables such as male v. female, age, high income v. low income, religious v. non-religious, small town v. big town.
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I make videos like this once a month all year long while supplies last:
TWITTER: #!/MarkRober

A few weeks ago, i lost my wallet which made me sad because it is a pain to get everything replaced. Then i thought what kind of person doesn't return a wallet and then i thought i'm a firm believer in the scientific method. I should test some hypotheses, so i got 200 identical wallets in order to drop them in each of the 20 cities. You see here the goal being not only to see which cities were the most and least honest, but to ask questions of anyone who called in to see if i could pick out some patterns among the honest ones, and i wanted to make the wallets look as Real as possible, so in each of them i put a fake id with no picture so as not to buy its people, six american dollars and 200 filipino dollars.

This is a way to make it look like a lot of money when, in reality, this is only worth four bucks. Then i put in an ultrasound picture and on the back we hand wrote a date from four years ago and then this adorable picture of a puppy i found on reddit. The goal was in addition to the id and the money i wanted to make. It look like the wallet had sentimental value to the owner.

I was trying to remove any excuse for someone not to return the wallet such as it looked fake or it wouldn't be worth a hassle if there was only two bucks inside of a blank wallet. So, in our case, if they didn't return it, it would only be because they weren't being honest. Then we had a fake loyalty card and a random business card and then critically a card that looked like it came with a wallet. That said, if found, please call, and then we wrote the phone number and then because it's impractical for me to actually visit 20 cities.

I went on the instagram page for my youtube channel to ask for help and right away. The response was awesome. Once i had selected my 20 helpers, i sent them instructions and shipped them each 10 wallets and then last monday, all across north america operation wallet drop commenced. I asked them after they dropped the wallets to try and get some secret footage if possible, and to do that they came up with some pretty clever methods, i'm actually going to tuck the wallet underneath my car.

So when i drive away it stays in the parking lot, almost immediately calls started pouring in from all of the cities, so when people would call in, we asked them eight questions such as, if they were religious or not, or if there was still money in the Wallet when they found it and if so, of course, we told them just to keep it so after three days of collecting data, here's what we found for starters - and this blew my mind - two-thirds of the wallets were returned and of those that were returned. 96 still had the money inside the average age of one of the callers was 36, which is almost exactly the average age of a person in the u.s. So how old you are doesn't seem to affect honesty. There's a pretty big disparity in which cities were the most and least honest and i'll get to the rankings in just a minute.

But first i wanted to test a hypothesis that a person without a lot of money and considered poor would be less likely to return. The wallet than someone who had a lot of money and to do this i looked up publicly available census data and found the zip codes with the highest and lowest medium income. Then i instructed my friends helping in each city to randomly drop. Half the wallets in the high income area of the city and then the other half in the low income area.

Niche wallet was marked with a unique number on the back of this card. So we knew exactly which city and location if somebody called it in when we tallied it up. 60 wallets, were called in from the high income areas and exactly 60 wallets were also returned from the low income areas, which i thought was pretty cool. So a rich person is no more likely to return a wallet than someone in the lowest income bracket, who could probably use the money? In fact, we had one person calling who was homeless, two people call in who are living in shelters and a fourth person who is a panhandler.

All four of them had full wallets. Another question i wanted to test was: if women were more honest than men, it turns out a majority of the wallets were returned by men, but if you think about it, that doesn't necessarily mean they are more honest because maybe the locations they were dropped, there's typically More men like in front of a sports bar or a hardware store so to control. For this i had all my helping friends in each city drop two of the ten wallets in a men's restroom and then two in a women's bathroom. This way we could control the gender of the wallet finder.

Once again, this came up nearly identical with 23 waltz returned for men versus 24 for women, so gender doesn't seem to play a role in a person's honesty either, and i should mention here one of the questions we asked the callers was if they thought the wallet Looked fake or suspicious at all, and only a very small minority did so. This confirms that, for those who didn't call it was likely because they were dishonest and not because they thought it wasn't a real person's wallet. Another thing we tested was small town versus big city, so you notice four of the cities you've probably never heard of before. That's because they have populations of around a thousand people, whereas the rest were the largest cities in north america, and here we did see a significant difference in the small town, the average rate of return was eight wallets, whereas in the big cities it was six - and I think this sort of makes sense to me, because small towns tend to foster a sense of community where everyone knows everyone versus the anonymity of a big city and now for a rundown of all the cities, i'll break them into three categories.

Starting with the least honest, we've got detroit with three waltz returned and new york city with four. I was really rooting for detroit and hoping they would just surprise everyone, but looks like maybe they're still in the process of their rebuilding efforts. Then, for the middle of the pack at five wallets return, we've got seattle, los angeles, miami, dallas and edmonton. Then, at six wallace return, we've got huntsville alabama and new london connecticut, which is one of our small towns.

Next, at seven wallets, we've got san francisco, winnipeg and washington dc. The final category is the honest abe cities with parma, idaho and las vegas at eight wallets, and i should mention for vegas. Instead of high income and low income, we put half on the strip and then half in the suburbs and for what it's worth all five dropped on the strip were returned and then at a remarkable nine wallets return. We've got two more small cities with nashua, idaho and hill city, south dakota and then portland oregon, making fred and kerry proud.

And finally, there were two cities with an astounding 100 return rate both for big cities with chicago which i didn't see coming and then salt lake city and before you just chalk salt lake city, up to those gosh darn super nice mormons in salt lake of the Eight people we were able to interview only three said they were religious and only one attended church. In fact, about 40 of the people who turned in wallets said they were not religious, and this is close enough to the average for a large city that it's fair to say that whether or not a person was religious seem to have no outcome on their honesty. According to our data - and i should also mention that, while our two canadian cities finished right in the middle of the pack, my canadian friend saw this on his facebook page right after dropping his wallets and going the extra mile with a blanket facebook post to find A random wallet owner is just about the most canadian thing ever. We also dropped 10 wallets in disneyland and we were hoping to get a large number back, but we only got four calls from individuals and then two from security who were super confused when they had identical wallets turned in, at which point they made it very clear.

They would not be calling us back if more wallets came in because they hate science, so we had to throw disneyland out as a data point, because we just don't know how many got turned into security. So those were the findings and i'd say from all this. I learned two things. The first is that it's a really good idea to put your phone number somewhere in your wallet.

That's probably one of the reasons we had such a high rate of return. Also i found out, if you find a wallet, you can drop it in any us post office box and then we'll return it to the address found on the driver's license free of charge. I tested this out and it totally works, and the second thing is that in general, people are way more honest than i originally thought. Having just lost my wallet, i was anticipating a return rate of maybe 20 so to get two out of every three wallets back.

Blew my mind in one city, a convenience order loved what we were doing so she kept putting the wallet back in the bathroom to see if someone would steal it and after six times of somebody bringing the wallet back with all of the money inside, she gave Up trying lately, it seems like so much of what you see online is meant to stoke outrage at some group of people versus ourselves, because that's what gets shared and that begins to warp our perspectives that the only good people out there are those within our own Group, but this cold hard data shows that across any age or gender or socioeconomic background across the whole religious spectrum, through middle america and along the coast, there are lots of good people everywhere and not only that, but they constitute a majority. These people didn't call up for some reward or facebook likes or because they knew someone was watching. They did it because it was simply the right thing to do and i think that's pretty cool and something worth remembering. Thanks for watching you.

14 thoughts on “200 dropped wallets- the 20 most and least honest cities”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Roin games says:

    In the title it should be saying people not city because it would be that because There is only THAT people that picked it up

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Thrust Vector says:

    Suggested follow-up. Partner with Visa to provide bogus $500 gift cards and put them in the wallet. Repeat the experiment, then track usage attempts in addition to rate of return. It's easy to be honest when there's $6 involved…but I do think the stats will skew hard south with real money on the line.

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Nate Leeds says:

    You live in Detroit you have a 248 number which means you live in somewhere in Michigan!

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jay Neil says:

    Phoenix is the 5th largest city in the United States, and 10th largest metropolitan areas in the US. So no, you didn’t drop them off in ALL of the largest cities in the US.

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Imapro373 says:

    how could you not expect chicago? honest abe is on all Illinois residents plates lmao

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars ziggysnipe's studio says:

    I wasn't expecting to see grant in this video brings back memories of the king of random

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Paulwal says:

    SUPER well done…was very cool to see!
    LOL "…cause they 🚫 science".😂

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars consers says:

    im watching this in sep 2021… and my heart dropped the second i saw the king of random..😞 i miss him

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Narice Hope says:

    Ayyy I was Born in New London Connecticut. ironically my birthday (6/17) was the date included on the photo. 😅

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars T K says:

    I believe that the wallets on the las vegas strip were returned because people go to lv with friends so that can be a factor as well

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars SHORTS channel #shortsyoutube #shorts says:

    20million subscribers pending.. Challenge : to track airliner (24/7)to keep flying safe using a simple n yet cost effective equipment. Battery life at least 1 year. Can be commercialized on design eventually. A win win situation for all.

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars miechelle_antoinette says:

    Thank you for this ..nice to have some positive data on humankind. At times like this we need it!

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Camille Valencia says:

    At my job where I work in the front a lot of people actually return wallets and other items that they found outside. I’ve never seen a single person who lost their item not be able to find it. It’s very surprising each time but it’s really nice to see.

  14. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars YellowNote89 says:

    I'm Oregonian, and I'm astounded all wallets were returned. Not used to this…

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