The gap between America’s upper-income and middle-income families has reached its highest level on record. In 2013, the median wealth of the nation’s upper-income families ($639,400) was nearly seven times the median wealth of middle-income families ($96,500).
People with a net worth of more than $1 million represent just 0.7% of the global population, but they have 41% of the world’s wealth. Meanwhile, those with a net worth of less than $10,000 represent 69% of the population, but just 3% of global wealth.
Growing economic inequality, increasing joblessness, global pollution and severe weather events are among the world’s most pressing threats experts say.
Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen addressed the issue of inequality in a speech last week, an issue on which there is a sharp partisan divide.
Our 2014 Global Attitudes survey in 44 countries asked which among five dangers was considered to be the “greatest threat to the world.” Many in the Middle East said religious and ethnic hatred was the greatest threat, while Europeans tended to choose inequality. Africans are more concerned with AIDS and other infectious diseases, while scattered countries, many with good reason, chose the spread of nuclear weapons or pollution and environmental problems as the top danger.
Publics across the globe see the threat of religious and ethnic violence as a growing threat to the world’s future, with concern especially strong in the Middle East.
While most manufactured goods are considerably cheaper than they were three decades ago, many key services are much more expensive -- contributing to the paradox of greater material abundance among even poor Americans.
Two-thirds of Americans say the gap between the rich and everyone else has increased, but when asked why they cite dozens of different reasons.
A New York Times chart illustrates disparities in income growth between the U.S. and other advanced economies.
Both Pope Francis and President Obama have highlighted the issue of income inequality. U.S. Catholics support government action on the issue, but not necessarily more than the general public.