Class Stratification

The remarkable thing about the United States is that the top 1% earns a huge share of the national income and also an even higher amount of the nation’s wealth. There is a statistical ratio called the Gini Coefficient, which allows a country to be placed somewhere between 0 and 100 according to income inequality. A ranking of 0 would mean that everyone in the country had the same amount of income, while a ranking of 100 would mean that one person earns all the income. The table I found used household income, not individual income, and used data from the CIA in 2010. Sweden was at the lowest number, with a Gini of 23. The United States was ranked at #93 out of 133, at 45.0.  South Africa was the highest at 63.0. There is a hugely disproportionate distribution of wealth in our country, and although it might not be the worst, it’s close to it. The top ten percent of people own up to 94% of stocks, and 80% of non-home real estate. The financial wealth in figure 1 of the UCSC website shows that effectively, ten percent of people own the financial sector of the United States. This is a startling figure, and should be taken with a grain of salt, but the point is that very few control so much of the economy. With wealth comes power, and the super-rich can use their influence to buy politicians, influencing politics, deciding who runs the country and how they do it. People always talk about the 1% as a cutoff for the super rich, but the top .1 percent also has an even more concentrated amount of wealth, and could be in their own category concerning wealth and income.

One thought on “Class Stratification

  1. This is good to know and quit shocking. These are the things that our country wouldn’t want us to know but we do need to know this. This also needs to change.

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