Economy

Three New Charts That Reveal Disturbing Inequality In America

CREDIT: AP

New official estimates of income and poverty from the Census Bureau released on Tuesday reveal that, despite the economic recovery, massive inequality remains a big problem in the United States.

The numbers released on Tuesday show that major gaps exist between races, genders, and the middle class and the wealthy. Here’s a look at the charts:

1. Racial Inequality

The median household headed by a black person earned $34,600 in 2013, compared to $58,300 for the median white, non-hispanic household and $67,100 for the median asian household.

2013-income-race-census

CREDIT: U.S. Census Bureau

2. Income Inequality

Median income nationwide stood at $51,900 in 2013, essentially unchanged from the previous year. The top five percent of earners made more than $196,000 and the bottom 10 percent made less than $12,400. Earnings have rebounded since the recession for people at the top but not for those in the middle or at the bottom.

2013-income-percentiles-census

CREDIT: U.S. Census Bureau

3. Gender Inequality

The poverty rate is higher for women (15.8 percent) than men (13.1 percent), and that gap gets broader as the population ages. The gap is nearly 4 percentage points for working-age people, and nearly 5 percentage points for senior citizens.

poverty-gender-age

CREDIT: U.S. Census Bureau

One bright spot in the data released Tuesday is that there has been a fall in the official poverty rate from 15 percent to 14.5 percent.

These statistics are based on Census Bureau data collected in February, March, and April and rely upon the traditional definition of poverty as determined by income. In October, the Bureau will release the Supplemental Poverty Measures (SPM). The SPM data factors in cost-of-living expenses like rent and other basic necessities, adjusts for geographic differences within the country, and better accounts for non-cash benefit programs that help raise people’s standard of living.