U.S. Leads Developed World…in Income Inequality

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

When determining how wealthy a country is, there’s more to it than simply measuring the size of its economy. A nation can have an enormous gross domestic product (GDP), which is used to classify the top developed states in the world, but if much of the economic wealth is concentrated in a few hands, leaving the rest of the population struggling, is it fair to say the country is truly rich?

 
Which brings us to the United States.
 
Long considered a leader among developed societies, the U.S. ranks at the bottom in terms of income inequality when compared to its wealthy colleagues, according to the Gini coefficient, which has been used to measure income inequality since 1912. Sweden (23) and Norway (25) lead the way with low income inequality rates, meaning their gaps between rich and poor are smaller than everywhere else.
 
The U.S. has a rating of 46.8, putting it in the same company as developing countries like Rwanda and Nepal.
 
There is a significant variation from state to state. Wyoming (41.3) and Alaska (41.7) are the most equal, while New York (49.5) and Connecticut (48) display the greatest difference between rich and poor.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
 
Income Inequality in U.S. Reaches Record High (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Most Americans Wish U.S. was Like Sweden (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

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