200 dropped wallets- the 20 MOST and LEAST HONEST cities

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 hypothoses. 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 bias 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 4 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 a 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 hassle If there was only 2 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 he came with the 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 from a YouTube channel to ask for help and right away the response was awesome. Once I’d 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. (music) 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 gonna tuck the wallet underneath my car so I Drive away it stays in the parking lot Almost immediately calls started pouring in from all of the cities so when people call in we ask 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 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 percent still had the money inside. The average age of one of the caller’s was 36 which is almost exactly the average age of a person in the U.S. So how old you are it 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 in considered poor would be less likely to return the wallet than someone who had a lot of money. And to do this I looked at 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. In each while it 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. And 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 is homeless, two people calling who are living in shelters, and a fourth person who is a panhandler. All four of them had full wallets. Another question I wanted a test was if women were more honest than men it turns out a majority of the wallets were returned by men but 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 dropped 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 wallets 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 caller’s 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 towns 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 wallets 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 and at six well. It’s 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 Macon Fred and Carrie proud and finally there were two cities with an astounding 100% return rate vote for big cities with Chicago which I didn’t see coming And then Salt Lake City and before he just shot, Salt Lake City up to those gosh darn super nice Mormons It’s like of the eight people wearable the interview only three said they were religious and only one Attended church in fact about 40% of the people who turn in wallet 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 He also dropped ten wallets in Disneyland, and we were hoping to get a large number back But we only got four calls from individuals and then too 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 a third Disney Line now 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 wall That’s probably one of the reasons we have such a high rate of return also I found out if you find a wallet you can drop it in any u.s. Post office box, and then we 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 received 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 socio-economic background cross the whole religious spectrum through middle of 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 it for some reward or Facebook lights 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 The science in this video was brought to you by my longtime friends at audible summer is coming which means between long road trips hitting the gym or working in the yard you can make Previously boring stretches of time something you actually look forward to by listening to audiobooks and to test that out for free you can go To audible.com slash mark Rober or simply text mark over to 500 500 in fact while doing my wallet Steakhouse for this video I was listening to astrophysics for people in a hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson Besides energy in 1904 the even with my background in space I learned a ton about the universe And how we came to discover it It’s written for people who don’t have PhDs in astrophysics, but I’ve genuinely curious minds about the amazing universe all around us And if you download it and for some crazy reason you don’t like it, audible will let you swap it out for something else no Questions asked. So if you want to make your brain bigger by listening to this book or any other book for free again go to Audible.com slash Mark Rover or simply text Mark Rover to 500 500. Thanks for watching

Glenn Chapman


  1. 0:30 so if you have 6 American dollars and a bunch of Filipino dollars and it’s worth 4 dollars does that mean the Filipino money is worth negative 2 dollars

  2. You know what you should have done is drop a wallet in a city ans put a letter in it and say meet me here &##$$& and see who really comes and return the wallet

  3. my brother once left $400 and his wallet at an atm, you really think the next person gave it back?… when the monetary amount goes up the honesty goes down.

  4. Never trust detroit. If you drop one thing there you will never see it again in your life. Also, detroit has a lot of poor people so people would steal.

  5. ”two cities with an astounding 100% return rate… Chicago-“
    Me: woohoo go Chicago
    “Which I didn’t see coming”
    Me: :/

  6. They dont ask what race huh? Yeah you know the answer which race of people that dont return the wallets. we all do. (*cough* detroit…)

  7. If you went to more of the Bible Belt cities you would’ve got nothing but honesty

  8. 4:14 It doesn't confirm anything but an assumption. They could've been the only ones smart enough to figure out it wasn't a real wallet or any number of other factors. 👨‍🏫

  9. This man makes the best videos , although he almost never posts he is the best.

    And by the way he never has ads in his videos

  10. Of course the city where you see someone beat the hell out of someone across the street is where the least honesty is.

  11. You didn't put enough money in them. Put a $100 bucks in there and I bet the return rate drops significantly.

  12. Excuse me good sir.

  13. 1 thing is one thing
    roses are red violets are violet sometimes neil degrass tyson should stay quiet

  14. At 1:54 that is the king of random person. I love his channel but he sadly died a few months ago but it’s nice seeing him again

  15. my dads wallet got stolen when he dropped it and the person returned it without the cash and after my dad canceled all his cards

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