The U.S. ranks 39th in income inequality

According to the CIA World Factbook, the United States has family income distribution Gini Index score of 45.0, which makes the United States rank thirty-ninth out of one hundred and thirty four countries in that category. Namibia ranks first, with a Gini index score of 70.7. Previously, the United States ranked forty-third in this category.

The higher the Gini Index score, the greater the degree of income inequality. Sweden has the lowest score, at 23.0.

  1. 6 December 2011 at 6:14 pm

    For more on income distribution among developed countries, see http://internationalcomparison.org/intl_comp_files/sheet006.htm.

  2. Anonymous
    22 October 2012 at 3:26 pm

    According to the CIA World Factbook, the United States has family income distribution Gini Index score of 45.0, which makes the United States rank NINETY-FIFTH out of one hundred and thirty four countries for INCOME EQUALITY.

  3. Mark
    22 October 2012 at 5:50 pm

    That would be another way to look at the data, but I chose to follow the model established by the CIA on the website.

  4. 22 October 2012 at 6:36 pm

    You both are comparing Gini Index scores of 45.0 out of 134 countries, right? Why the discrepancy between ranks?

  5. Mark
    23 October 2012 at 6:12 am

    The discrepancy is based on which way you order the countries–lowest Gini score as #1 or highest Gini score as #1.

  6. Anonymous
    23 October 2012 at 3:29 pm

    How the rankings are presented influences the perceptions produced. Mark has justifiably chosen to retain the format of the source. What is not readily apparent with that format is that we are 39th from the worst case assuming that greater inequality of income distribution is accepted as undesirable. This is the case the Nobel Prize winner in economics, Joseph Stiglitz, makes in his book The Price of Inequality . Read a New York Times review of the book at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/books/review/the-price-of-inequality-by-joseph-e-stiglitz.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0. The IMF holds a similar position according to the article “Equality and Efficiency” by Andrew G. Berg and Jonathan D. Ostry that appeared in their publication “Finance & Development” (http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2011/09/Berg.htm).
    By reversing to order of ranking emphasis is drawn to how America is headed in the wrong direction if the desired goal is a stable economy and growing middle class where equality of opportunity is assured. It is simply a matter of how the facts are placed in context.

  7. 24 October 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Thanks Mark for the clarification. And thanks Anon for the insights. I’m adding that review as a note on our income distribution page.

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