International Income Distribution Statistics
GREEN: Countries ranking first or
RED: Countries ranking last or second to last in statistic
The United States rank last in child income poverty, has the largest difference in ration between the richest 10% and poorest 10%, and has the highest percentage of people living below 50% of the country’s median income.
|Gini Index||Percent of population below 50% of median income||Ratio of richest 10% to poorest 10%||Percent of population below poverty line||Child income poverty||Index of Health and Social Problems ranking||Income inequality after taxes ranking||Human Poverty Index|
UN Development Programme, Human Development Report, table 15, PDF p. 281. The Gini index is a commonly used statistical measure of income distribution. Zero is absolute equality and 100 is absolute inequality. As typically applied to income distribution, values range from the 20s to the 40s. Japan has the most equal distribution of income and the US has the most unequal distribution. Canada, German, Italy, Norway, Sweden, U.S. for 2000. Australia 1994, Denmark 1997, France 1995, Japan 1993, Netherlands and U.K. 1999
How to read ratio data: In Japan, the richest 10 percent have 4.5 times as much income as the poorest; in the US the richest have 15.9 times as much income. >Canada, German, Italy, Norway, Sweden, U.S. for 2000. Australia 1994, Denmark 1997, France 1995, Japan 1993, Netherlands and U.K. 1999
*Country percentages marked with asterisk indicate numbers reported from the OECD by an article from Emma Vandore and Greg Keller entitled, "Income gap widens in wealthiest nations," Oct 2008.
United Kingdom for 2006, Canada and Netherlands for 2005, France and USA for 2004, and Germany for 2001; from CIA World Factbook.
UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre Report Card 7 Child poverty in perspective, PDF p. 44. Percentage of children (0-17) in households with equivalent income less than 50 percent of the median: most recent data.
Index of Health and Social Problems rankning and Income inequality after taxes rankning: "Equality and Health
From Wilkinson and Pickett, The Spirit Level, 2009, United Nations Development Program as cited by Jeff Ritterman in "Equality and Health," 2009. Jeff Ritterman writes that countries with a smaller gap in income equality have a longer life expectancy as well as better quality of life. Ritterman suggests raising minimum wage, improving worker benefits, better financial backing for education, and universal health coverage as measures to narrow the income distribution gap. Ritterman contends that not only would this increase quality of life and life expectancy, but also would have other beneficial effects, like the environment. Statistically, more equal societies take better care of the earth.
As reported by the Human Development Report 2009, the following statistics accounted for each country's score: probability at birth of not surviving to age 60 (2000-2005), people lacking functional literacy skills, long-term unemployment (2007), and population living under 50% of median income (2000-2005).
May 4, 2011. The United States' inequality numbers are at their worst since the Great Depression based on statistics from The CIA World Factbook which used research from the GINI Index. Based on these numbers, the United States economic equality is comparable to Uganda's.
June 7, 2010. Author Lane Kentworthy observes that the U.S. easily outspends Western European countries like Denmark and Sweden in gross public social expenditures as a a share of GDP and net public and private social expenditures per person, yet has difficulty in executing a transition for these accumulated funds in effectively assisting the poor and raising their living standard. Kentworthy attributes this to tax breaks in the U.S. assisting the wealthy and the lack of government transfers ending up in the bottom income decile.
October 21, 2008
November 11, 2010. In a 30 country study conducted over 20 years, the OECD has found that 27 of the coutnries studied have experienced an increase in income inequality. Of the 30 countries studied, the United States ranks ahead of only Mexico and Turkey.
December 25, 2006. Suggests that Tony Blair and the Labor Party's specific and direct policy action has closed the income distribution gap in the U.K. much more effectively than the Bush administration's broad promises which often lacked follow through.
Per capita social spending by government (health, education, social services)
Size of middle class
Weeks of paid maternity leave