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Source: NYT

Category: Digital Media, Economy

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.

27 Responses to “Income Inequality: Measuring Us Against the World”

  1. WFTA says:

    What happened to the country I thought I grew up in? This can’t be it.

    • James Shannon says:

      “To be wealthy and honored in an unjust society is a disgrace.”
      ― Confucius, The Analects

  2. lotusblue says:

    In QE era we find,particularly in social care,up is bad.
    How the mighty have fallen.
    The Age of Enlightenment has dimmed,the Age of Fear burns caustic for humanity

  3. ZedLoch says:

    ‘Murica! We’re #1!!.

  4. DeDude says:

    Aha so we are in the top 5 of all of them. Now we just have to find a way to explain why it is good to be in the top 5.

  5. S Brennan says:

    Your Tax Cuts at Work.

  6. jdb633 says:

    Cause / effect….In my opinion…single-parent families drives all the others

    • Joe Friday says:


      Your opinion does not comport with the facts.

      Sweden and Denmark are 6th and 8th on the “Single-Parent Families” list, yet they are on the opposite end of the “Income Inequality” list.

      • mst says:

        @Joe…I think JDB has a point. and you confirmed it. Both Sweden and Denmark have established equatable laws regarding divorce with children. In the United States, many of the states still have a primary custodian (mother) and a secondary custodian (father). As you may be aware, divorce is either the first or second most cause for bankruptcy. Legal fees…legal fees. Additionally, the separation of a the secondary custodian enhances the chances of dispirited accord with the family unit. That is another story.
        From personal experience, being with my family is core. I came this close “||” to experiencing bankruptcy. Many of my friends did.
        The children are affected, society is affected. Very systemic.

      • Joe Friday says:

        I think JDB has a point.

        You can “think” whatever you like. The data sez otherwise.

        As you may be aware, divorce is either the first or second most cause for bankruptcy.


        It is neither.

      • pjschgo says:

        For the record, medical expenses are far and away the biggest cause of personal bankruptcy in the US, north of 40 percent! Divorce is still among the top five causes, but at less than 10 percent it pales in comparison.

    • DeDude says:

      I think you should think a little deeper rather than just picking your favorite narrative as the explanation.

      From a mechanistic angle there is no doubt that % “single-parent” family could drive child poverty, since it is well documented that these families have less money. However, many other things (such as minimum wage, % unionized workers, etc.) have just as well documented effects on powerty (although they may not fit as well into your favorite narrative).

      As Joe points out Sweden and Denmark have high levels of single-parenting although still about 19% or 33% less than US. Yet their child powerty levels are less than half of that in the US. Indeed if you look at the top 8 for single-parent families only two of those would support the idea that US child powerty could be explained by high numbers of single parent familes. The data clearly suggest that other parameters are much more at play (even in this one parameter where the potential causative link is undeniable). For the other parameters I suggest you look at how Turkey or Israel are actually worse than US, yet none of those countries are even on the list of most single-parent families. Clearly a low level of single parenting is not enough to keep these other powerty parameters in check (even if it makes for a nice convenient “blame” story).

  7. Molesworth says:

    Well, I hope you guys up there in Maine can discuss this intelligently and come up with some ideas for flattening the income and health curves without it devolving into a political slugfest. After all, you’re the money people and the pols listen to money.

  8. krice2001 says:

    Hey, we’re number 1! We’re number 1! Oh, it’s… in single-parent families…

  9. MikeNY says:

    We should be ashamed.

  10. Angryman1 says:

    Take away the African Americans and it looks better

  11. johnnywalker says:


    Take a look at three others of the top five in single family parents, Britain, Canada, and New Zealand. How do they rank in the other columns? I’m not saying that single parent families aren’t a factor, but it is much more complicated than your simple cause and effect hypothesis. Could it be that a functioning and compassionate safety net helps single parent families get along?

  12. Biffah Bacon says:

    These figures for some illustrate a morality play; and also for others a morality play but with the heroes and villains reversed.

  13. Toktora says:


    >>Cause / effect….In my opinion…single-parent families drives all the others<<

    If that were the case, you would expect to see the other countries with high ratios of single parent families doing as poorly as we do in the other categories. However, that's not the case…

    • Frwip says:

      But it’s a good, not too demanding story, one that lets put the blame of those problems on vague notions of morality.

  14. milkman says:

    What happens to the data if you leave out the confederate states?

  15. Frilton Miedman says:

    Assuming the income column doesn’t incorporate household debt.

    Factoring debt to income ratios dramatically alters the disparity equation, where current U.S. household debt to income is around 130%,

    That number increases radically as income level decreases, explaining why the Fed has been so effective, also implying the extreme sensitivity our economy may have to rate movements without substantial changes to income.

  16. annbury says:

    Where did it say that the Times made any connection between any of these factors? Some of them, such as infant mortality, are a disgrace given the amount we spend on health care. Others are simply measures of performance; for example, Israel leads the world, apparently, in literacy dispersion. Who knows why and who cares? The reason we do poorly on many of these factors is because we choose as a country to support the rich and to screw the poor.

  17. pjschgo says:

    Waitaminute! Do you mean to tell me that just saying America is the greatest country on the planet and wearing a flag on your lapel doesn’t automatically make it so?!? Maybe if we lower taxes on the rich and cut our social programs then it will fix our income inequality problem. Yeah…that’s it….