Graph depicting Median Income and Gini Coefficient
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Sources: OECD   Gallup

Data: Excel

Last updated: March 16, 2016


Median Per Capita Income Compared to the Level of Income Inequality

Description: This graph compares the median per-capita income of the OECD countries against the Gini coefficient. The Gini coefficient is the standard measure of income inequality with higher numbers indicating a less equal distribution of income. A Gini coefficient of 0 would indicate that every person in the country had precisely the same income and a Gini coefficient of 1 would indicate that a single person had all of the income of the entire country while nobody else had any income.

Related blog post: Inequality in America

Discussion: Higher incomes correlate strongly to lower inequality. Excluding the United States, the OECD countries form a triangle. The low income countries range from low levels of income inequality (e.g., the OECD country with the fourth-lowest income, Hungary, has a Gini coefficient of 0.29) to extreme levels of inequality (e.g., the OECD country with the lowest income, Chile, has a Gini coefficient of 0.5). The highest income countries all have low income inequality (e.g., the five countries with incomes higher than the United States all have Gini coefficients between 0.25 and 0.28).

The United States stands as a stark exception among the wealthier countries in the OECD. The United States has the sixth best per-capita median income, but the fourth worst income inequality. In fact, the US's Gini coefficient of 0.39 is higher than any other OECD country with an income over $4,000 per year.

See more graphs about: Income   Inequality  

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