North America Income, Education, Employment: 2006

US Population Ancestry

Screenshot from an interactive mapping tool from OECD Regional Statistics. While you can look at any region I choose North America. The color indicates the GDP per capita: blue is low income while red is high income. The graph on the right is comparing % of population with high school education vs unemployment. (The red circle, indicating very high income, belongs to Washington DC) {Click on the image to take a closer look}


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The New Inequality

Here is another New York Times article. This one touches on some of the themes that keep coming up in the income inequality discussion, such as the role of the global economy, education, government taxes policy, and the changes in the income distribution during the last 30 years:

. . . From World War II through the 1970s, while most Americans were getting solid raises every year, the incomes of the richest 1 percent were doing only a little better than inflation. Since the 1980s, the two groups have switched places. The affluent have received huge gains, and everyone else’s pay growth has slowed down. For the last six decades, in other words, the American economy has been much more of a zero-sum game than we might like to believe.

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History of income inequality in the United States

"Distribution of Income" written by Frank Levy for The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. It discusses the history of income inequality in the United States in the 2oth century. A couple interesting comments about the 80s and why people felt that the Middle Class was disappearing:

When incomes grow rapidly, more inequality means that the poor get richer but the rich get richer faster. But when inequality increased in the slow-growth eighties, some groups' incomes fell in real terms. Between the business cycle peak of 1979 and the next business cycle peak of 1989, the average income of the poorest fifth of families fell from $10,900 to $10,200, while the average income of the top fifth grew from $89,600 to $97,600. Moreover, the price of two key pieces of a middle-class life—a single-family home and a college education—grew faster than the general rate of inflation and faster than average incomes. For all of these reasons, slow income growth played a key role in perceptions of a vanishing middle class . . .

. . . even though overall family income inequality has not increased very much.

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