“Just the Facts” Won’t Be Enough to Fight Income Inequality

October 4, 2019

The data collected as part of the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey show that the median household brought in more than $63,000 in 2018. Ten years of slow, steady economic growth has brought the overall economy back from the depths of the mid-2000’s Great Recession. However, not all segments of the population fared equally well. Using the Gini index, which ranges from 0.000, indicating a nation’s income is equally distributed, to a hypothetical 1.000, indicating a single person collects the entirety of country’s income, the 2018 measure now stands at 0.485. For contrast, the US’s 1967 measurement was 0.397.

The picture presented here suggests that from a policy perspective, focusing on raising income may not be enough. Speaking to NPR, William M. Rodgers III, a professor of public policy and chief economist at the Heldrich Center at Rutgers University, sees the  saw the new data as underscoring “the inability of the current economic expansion, the longest on record, to lessen inequality.”

Nonprofit Quarterly, October 3, 2019

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