April 17, 2023

Today's Topics

Good morning! Update your trivia knowledge — demographic experts expect India to surpass China as the world's most populous country sometime in the middle of April. Today we’re exploring:

  • Renters beware: Rental prices are cooling, but not everywhere.
  • Sonic birds: Sega is buying the creator of mobile game Angry Birds.
  • Breadwinners: Charting 5 decades of societal shifts.
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Let down gently

Rents in the US fell 0.4% last month, marking the first year-over-year drop since the beginning of the pandemic, per new data from Redfin. The decline leaves the national median at $1,937 a month, the lowest level in 13 months.

Asking rents fell the most in Austin (11%), followed by Chicago (9%), and New Orleans (3%). However, despite the overall nationwide decline, many of the largest metropolitan areas saw prices rise, with Raleigh (17%) increasing the most year-on-year, and Cleveland (15%), Charlotte (13%), Indianapolis (11%) and Nashville (10%) also seeing large rises.

Redfin attributes the cooling in rental prices to a wave of new supply from builders who rushed to meet the pandemic housing demand, whose projects are now starting to complete. In February, finished residential projects in buildings with 5+ units rose by 72% year-over-year to 509,000. That's the second-highest number recorded since 1987.Despite the small drop, the median asking rent remains more than $300, or roughly 20%, higher than it was three years ago.

Go deeper: Check out the full dataset from Redfin.

Sonic birds

Japanese gaming company Sega is set to acquire Rovio — the developer behind the wildly successful Angry Birds series of mobile games — for €706m ($776m). The deal, which was first reported to be close to completion on Friday, is the latest in a flurry of dealmaking in the gaming industry in recent years, and will bring Rovio's mobile-first expertise to the list of storied franchises at Sega, which includes Sonic the Hedgehog and numerous arcade games.

Slingshot to the top

Rovio was one of the first developers to slingshot its way to the top of the nascent app stores with the original Angry Birds, a game in which players throw (ironically wingless) birds at structures in a bid to try and remove all of the pigs from the screen. That simple mechanic turned out to be highly addictive and it spawned a wave of free physics-based games on mobile… transforming the Finland-based Rovio from indie studio to mobile game maestro in just a few months.

The company, which now has ~550 employees, claims that Angry Birds was the first mobile game to be downloaded more than a billion times. However, Rovio has never really been able to reproduce the breakout success of Angry Birds, instead relying on releasing new versions and spin-offs of the same game. In fact, Rovio has since released dozens of games under the Angry Birds name — including collaborations with Star Wars and Transformers — and the franchise still accounts for more than 80% of the company’s games revenue, more than 13 years since its initial release.

Rovio's share price is up ~18%on the news of the acquisition, but it remains below its 2017 IPO price.

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For richer, for poorer

New analysis of government figures by Pew Research Center reveals that women in opposite-sex marriages are increasingly earning more than, or the same as, their husbands.

The study found that men are now the sole or primary earners in just 55% of American marriages compared to 85% in 1972, with a large portion of those households now “egalitarian” — marriages where the husband and wife each account for 40-60% of the household’s total income.


One of the more notable findings from the study is that 16% of opposite-sex marriages now have the wife as the primary or sole breadwinner. That’s a proportion that has more than tripled in the last 50 years, but was actually a slight drop on the equivalent study from 2012.

The rise of wives as breadwinners is unsurprising in the context of wider societal shifts in America, as the female share of overall income in North America continues to rise, and women now account for nearly 60% of college students across the country. However, while their share of marital earnings is on the up, Pew Research also found that women are still doing the larger share of work around the home too, spending ~2 more hours a week on caregiving responsibilities and more than double the amount of time on housework.

More Data

MrBeast, Messi, Bella Hadid and Nathan Fielder are just some of Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2023.

• Spanish athlete emerges after spending 500 days living in a cave ~230 feet below the Earth’s surface.

• The Phantom of the Opera has finally shut on Broadway after 35 years, a 2-month extension and nearly 14,000 performances.

• The $1.6 billion defamation trial against Fox has been delayed by a day amidst settlement talk rumors with Dominion Voting Systems.


• Visualizing the record number of Americans who identify as politically independent.

• A great visual tour exploring the importance of sleep.

• Charting the jobs that ChatGPT will affect the most.

Off the charts: Which marathon man, who holds the world record with a staggering 2:01:09 time recorded at the Berlin race last year, is running his first Boston marathon today? [Answer below].

Answer here.

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