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35 Soul-Crushing Facts About American Income Inequality (2015)

Linked by Paul Ciano on February 19, 2017

Some choice selections (also, a great example of why you should know your measures of dispersion):

In 81 percent of American counties, the median income, about $52,000, is less than it was 15 years ago. This is despite the fact that the economy has grown 83 percent in the past quarter-century and corporate profits have doubled. American workers produce twice the amount of goods and services as 25 years ago, but get less of the pie.

The amount of money that was given out in bonuses on Wall Street last year is twice the amount all minimum-wage workers earned in the country combined.

The wealthiest 85 people on the planet have more money than the poorest 3.5 billion people combined.

The average wealth of an American adult is in the range of $250,000-$300,000. But that average number includes incomprehensibly wealthy people like Bill Gates. Imagine 10 people in a bar. When Bill Gates walks in, the average wealth in the bar increases unbelievably, but that number doesn’t make the other 10 people in the bar richer. The median per adult number is only about $39,000, placing the U.S. about 27th among the world’s nations, behind Australia, most of Europe and even small countries like New Zealand, Ireland and Kuwait.

Italians, Belgians and Japanese citizens are wealthier than Americans.

The poorest half of the Earth’s population owns 1% of the Earth’s wealth. The richest 1% of the Earth’s population owns 46% of the Earth’s wealth.

More locally, the poorest half of the US owns 2.5% of the country’s wealth. The top 1% owns 35% of it.

Inequality is a worldwide problem. In the UK, doctors no longer occupy a place in the top 1% of income earners, London plays host to the largest congregation of Russian millionaires outside of Moscow, and also houses more ultra-rich people (defined as owning more than $30 million in assets outside of their home) than anywhere else on Earth.

Tax rates for the middle class have remained essentially unchanged since 1960. Tax rates on the highest earning Americans have plunged from an almost 70% tax rate in 1945 down to around 35% today. Corporate tax rates have dropped from 30 percent in the 1950s to under 10 percent today.

Since 1990, CEO compensation has increased by 300%. Corporate profits have doubled. The average worker’s salary has increased 4%. Adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage has actually decreased.

CEOs in 1965 earned about 24 times the amount of the average worker. In 1980 they earned 42 times as much. Today, CEOs earn 325 times the average worker.

In a study of 34 developed countries, the United States had the second highest level of income inequality, ahead of only Chile.

Young people in the U.S. are getting poorer. The median wealth of people under 35 has dropped 68% since 1984. The median wealth of older Americans has increased 42%.

In 1970, a woman earned about 60% of the amount a man earned. In 2005 a woman earned about 80% of what a man earned. Since 2005, there has been no change in that figure. African-American women earn just 64% of what a white male earns, and Hispanic women just 56%.

Over 20 percent of all American children live below the poverty line. This rate is higher than almost all other developed countries.

In 1946, a child born into poverty had about a 50 percent chance of scaling the income ladder into the middle class. In 1980, the chances were 40 percent. A child born today has about a 33 percent chance.

More than half of the members of the United States Congress, where laws are passed deciding how millionaires are taxed, are millionaires.

In 1970, there were five registered lobbyists working on behalf of wealthy corporations for every one of the 535 members of Congress. Today there are 22 lobbyists per congressperson.

Via Reddit. Lovely comments.

Paul Ciano

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