The terms average Joe, ordinary Joe (for males) and ordinary Jane, average Jane, and plain Jane (for females), are used primarily in North America to refer to a completely average person, commonly an average American. They are the image of a hypothetical “completely average person” or to describe an existing person. Parallel terms in other languages for local equivalents exist around the world.
Today, researchers from the United States Department of Commerce provide information regarding the societal attributes of those who may be referred to as being “average”. While some individual attributes are easily identified as being average, such as the median income, other characteristics, such as family arrangements may not be identified as being average.
The term average Joe was used mainly in the late 90s – early 2000s, when the majority of America’s population consisted of middle class citizens. Usually falls under the following categories: considered not to be dumb nor smart, works five or six days a week (usually as a white collar worker), follows any kind of sports (and also drinks heavily when their favorite team is not doing well), and comes home every night to sit on their sofas and watch TV.
Average Joes are common fodder for characters in television or movies, comics, novels, radio dramas. On television, examples of “average Joes” is Doug Heffernan.