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Source: Economist

Category: Data Analysis

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

17 Responses to “The Examined Life”

  1. ByteMe says:

    Be interesting to see the bottom 50% vs. the top 0.1%.

  2. From the headline, I almost thought this would be an article about the NSA, CIA and FBI’s combined opinion of your life!

    On a serious note, is it still true that the U.S. is the only major nation where “the poor folks have a parking problem”?

  3. peterkrause says:

    Its compelling to speculate about the social tensions between the top and bottom in Mexico, which has the smallest disparity (perhaps more so should you choose to exclude Carlos Slim). Additionally, its
    amusing to wonder, should the bottom 10% in both Canada and the US choose to visit Mexico, would they stay with family? Hmm.

  4. fatcatbanker says:


    I don’t understand. Ranked on socioeconomic status the bottom 10% of the US population have a better life index than the top 10% of the Russian, Portuguese, Brazilian, Turkish and Mexican population?

    That does not make sense to me. What am I missing??

    • efrltd says:

      It sure does make sense, think about it. The 10% have a pretty good life in the old US of A, and the top 10% in these other places have to put up with a lot, and not have what they want at hand.

    • hawks5999 says:

      Keeping Up With the Kardashians doesn’t air in their countries. No amount of good can make up for that.

    • BennyProfane says:

      Even though Russia has enough nukes to fry the world, they are still basically part of the Third World. Then, of course, if you have any kind of smarts and ambition, the only way to progress is to be a member in good standing of Putin’s mob family, or move to, heh, America.

  5. efrltd says:

    LIfe is good in the old US of A despite the whiners, complainers, Occupiers, Community Organizers. And Canada, it’s cold there in the winters. So is Sweden for that matter.

  6. robertso2020 says:

    I’m confused. Sorry Barry, I am will have to demonstrate my own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge and ask you to provide your conclusions from this data. I am shocked that the spread is not wider for the US and narrower for countries like Sweden and Switzerland…if in fact I’m interpreting this chart correctly. My gut sense is that I’m not.


  7. rwboomtown says:

    The US spends over 60k per family poverty. That is a lot of money. Is it spent efficiently and with efficacy? I don’t think so. But the notion that some how tons of money does not flow toward poverty in the US is a fallacy. The only people really getting screwed in the US are private sector middle class.

    • MikeNY says:

      I don’t think I understand your $60K figure. The median household income in the US is only $53K. How is it possible that the US is spending $60K on each household in poverty, unless every household in poverty has NEGATIVE income?

      Surely you are not counting all Social Security and Medicare spending as going toward households in poverty?

  8. dow says:

    From the article:

    The better-off Americans enjoy the best lives, but the country has the widest inequality. In fact, for all the fancy metrics, the Better-Life Index does not look too different from classic GDP rankings.

  9. MikeNY says:

    Thankfully, we’ve eradicated potato famines and the bubonic plague.

    Nonetheless, however this data is compiled and ranked, they can’t justify a country where 400 individuals control more wealth than 250,000,000, or where spending on prisons threatens to outstrip spending on education.

  10. 873450 says:

    Since the great recession “officially” ended more than 93% of new income growth in the U.S. is landing in the pockets of 1%. This chart will soon require an additional VIP column dedicated exclusively to exceptional Americans.

  11. Theravadin says:

    There has been a lot of cogent criticism of this chart by Economist readers. It seems likely that with a different selection of key factors from the OECD’s total range of variables, the result would have looked very different.

  12. pekoe says:

    Are these graphs trolling for the credulous? This means that the bottom 10% in the US has a “better life” than the top 10% in Italy? Really? I have been to Italy and I can categorically say that is not so. It seems that the most preposterous assertions gain credence when presented in graphical form.

  13. Manofsteel11 says:

    This May 28 chart has multiple disclaimers attached to it on the Economist website:
    - multiple qualitative variables were inserted into the ‘index’
    - as compared to the US, the middle class and poor in most EU countries are better covered when it comes to social security, healthcare services and good public education (including universities). Accordingly, disposable income in the US is massively consumed at different points in life and ends up in the form of debt.
    - the top 10% in countries such Italy and Israel work less than Americans, benefit from state sponsored services, and enjoy an overall quality of life that is equal to or even better than all but the top 2% of Americans.
    Anybody interested in being part of the bottom 10% in the US rather than the top 10% in Rome of Florence?