Breaking: Teenage Pop Stars Make More Money Than You Ever Will

It should come as no surprise that Justin Bieber made bank last year. After all, the teen phenom sold a bunch of albums, turned his concert film “Never Say Never” into a box office smash, launched a bestselling fragrance and filled arenas all over the world with his ongoing “My World” concert tour. That he raked in a staggering $53 million, however, is enough to make every PhD holder in the world weep over their silly decision to major in medicine instead of pop stardom.

(Ed note: How long do you think it will take for a college to offer pop stardom as a major? “Madonna Studies” is already a legit subgenre in many media studies departments and Bowling Green State University will award you a master’s degree in pop culture.)

Bieber wasn’t the only teen star making big money last year. Miley Cyrus came in second to Bieber (but not by much), earning $48 million. Often-shirtless “Twilight” wolf Taylor Lautner cashed checks totaling $16 million, while no-longer-jailbait (ogle accordingly) Nick Jonas did well for himself too, with $12.5 million in earnings. Jayden and Willow Smith added some coin to the family piggy bank too – Jayden made $5 million, and Willow whipped her hair to the tune of a cool $4 million.

How does that stack up against what regular people make? Read on to find out!

>>> Average starting salary for a college graduate in 2011: $50,462

>>> Average salary offer for chemical engineering majors: $66,886

>>> Best-paying profession (special non-pop star category): Surgeon, avg: $225,390

>>> Median American household income: $50,221

>>> Percentage of Americans living below the poverty line: 14.3 percent

>>> Average starting salary for student majoring in elementary and secondary education, communications and journalism (oh no!), social work, visual and performing arts (clearly we have some exceptions), plant sciences and animal sciences: less than $35,000

>>> Mean average income for food service workers: $15,930