Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Income gaps and Comparison of the Poor and Rich Around the World

A recent book by World Bank economist Branko Milanovic, The Haves and the Have-Nots, reminds one that the United States is very fortunate, especially those less well off in the country.  The New York Times economics blog features the below graph showing income disparity and comparisons to the world for the populations of the United States, Brazil, India, and the People's Republic of China.

From The Haves and Have-Nots

The chart takes a little explaning to understand but it does indeed show a lot.  The flatter the line the closer the highest and lowest incomes in a particular country are in comparison to the rest of the world. 

The height of the lines for Brazil and China show that those countries have some of the richest and poorest people on the planet.  The United States' line begins at about 68%.  This shows that the poorest Americans are better off (in comparison of goods, government provided care, and income) than 68% of all other humans.  The initial step from the very poor to poor shows a steep difference that begins to level off in the "regular" low, working, middle, upper-middle, and upper classes.

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