How Unequal is the USA by International Comparison?

One way to measure inequality is the GINI index which would be 0.00 for a completely equal country and 1.00 for a country where a Bill Gates earned everything. The index is described at:

The major international GINI index numbers converted from 0.458 to 45.8 etc (See  are using the CIA Year Book numbers for 2009. Note the US is between Iran and Russia in its inequality, well short of South Africa, the most unequal of major countries but much more unequal than many European countries:

  • South Africa 65.0
  • Chile52.1
  • Brazil 51.9
  • Mexico 51.7
  • Argentina 45.8
  • Iran 44.5
  • USA 45.0
  • Russia 42.0
  • China 41.5
  • Israel 39.2
  • Japan 37.2
  • India 36.8
  • UK 34.0
  • France 32.7
  • Canada 32.1
  • Italy 32.0
  • South Korea 31.4
  • Australia 30.5
  • Germany 27.0
  • Finland 26.8
  • Norway 25.0
  • Sweden 23.0

Here are some historical trends in GINI since 1945 on a slightly different basis

The change in Gini indices has differed across countries. Some countries have change little over time, such as Belgium, Canada, Germany, Japan, and Sweden. Brazil has oscillated around a steady value. France, Italy, Mexico, and Norway have shown marked declines. China and the US have increased steadily. Australia grew to moderate levels before dropping. India sank before rising again. The UK and Poland stayed at very low levels before rising. Bulgaria had an increase of fits-and-starts. .svg alt text

About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
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