Economic inequalities in the USA

A protest to end wage inequality, New York City Hall
A protest to end wage inequality, New York City Hall

The United States is a capitalist country. The richest people in the USA have, on average, a far greater share of the total income or wealth than the poorest people. Compared to other developed countries, the USA is very unequal.

Economic inequality can be measured in terms of:

  • income
  • poverty levels
  • unemployment levels

The Gini coefficient is a measure of wealth or income inequality within a country, where 0 represents complete equality and 1 complete inequality. According to the UN, the USA is 0.45 and rising. The UK is at 0.34.

Unemployment rates 1st quarter 2016

(statistics US Government)


Employment rates


Median household income by ethnic group


There is debate in the USA on where the poverty line should be drawn. It is generally accepted that poverty rates in the US are higher than elsewhere in the developed world.

Percentage of adults in poverty by ethnic group