Some readers might find the this essay unreadable due to the amount of statistics presented. However, I think that the statistics tell the story of what is happening today in America. My apologies if it's too unwieldly.
Based on statistics provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, income inequality continued to grow in the years 2010 and 2011. While the median income fell from 2010’s 51,144 to 2011’s 50,502; more troubling was the increase in the GINI coefficient from 2010’s .469 to 2011’s .475. The GINI coefficient is a measurement of income inequality, with a number closer to 0 indicating a more equal distribution of wealth, and a number closer to one indicating a less equal distribution of wealth. Some of the more interesting aspects of the census bureau’s findings are the individual state’s GINI scores.
The District of Columbia (.534), Puerto Rico (.531) and New York (.503) all had GINI scores of over .5, while Wyoming recorded the lowest score (.408). There is not necessarily a correlation between a state being ‘red’ or ‘blue’ and their individual GINI scores. For example, ‘liberal’ California’s 2011 score is .481, while ‘conservative’ Oklahoma is .461. Personally, I think it is more important to focus on the national score instead of spending too much time data mining the individual scores of each state.
In 2011, 27% of family households reported income of less than 35,000. That figure does not differentiate between households headed by a single person or a married couple. The family households headed by married couples that are earning less than 35,000 are 17%. The single person heading a family household is four times more likely to be a female than a male; and more likely to be a woman of color. There are approximately 20 million households headed by a single (unmarried) person. The percentages of single women heading a household with either a dependent child or parent (or both) are as follows: Black 28%, Hispanic 17%, American Indian 17%, White 9%, Asian/Pacific 8, and other races make up the remaining categories. Being a woman is a penalty, being a minority woman can be an extremely harsh economic penalty.
The poorest households reported income of less than 10,000 (7.8%) and 10,000 to 15,000 (5.8%). The percentage of households earning from 15,000 to 25,000 is 11.4%. Family households earning from 25,000 to 35000 is 10.6% of the population. The two single largest reported categories of household income are 35,000 to 49,999 (13.9%) and 50,000 to 74,999 (18.0%). Depending on the number of people in these households these families are either struggling, or doing fine. The number of people in the household is generally a more important number than the actua l income. I’m not certain how a family of 4 with an income of 48k can reasonably be expected to plan for their children’s education, the retirement of the parents, and the current living expenses of everyone in the household, especially when one factors in the cost of healthcare. Now, the next two categories are larger than I expected. 11.7% of households reported income between 75,000 to 99,999 and 12.1% reported incomes between 100,000 to 149,000. So, approximately 24% of American households are living on incomes between 75k and 150k. The fat of the society comes in next with 4.4% earning 150,000 to 200,000 and 4.3% at 200,000 or more.
I have presented a lot data to digest. However, the one statistic that I think is most important is that fully 24% of all households earn incomes of less than 25,000. Even if all of those households consisted only of a single, healthy individual, that is still not a large income. Now, just consider if those 25% said, neither party represents my interests, I’m voting for a third party, just think of the effect that would have on the American political landscape. America is not an impoverished country, but we are definitely an inequitable country.