Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gini, I Got Your Number

I was looking for the Gini coefficient of individual States and I stumbled upon this:


US income Gini indices over time

Gini indices for the United States at various times, according to the US Census Bureau:

* 1929: 45.0 (estimated)
* 1947: 37.6 (estimated)
* 1967: 39.7 (first year reported)
* 1968: 38.6 (lowest index reported)
* 1970: 39.4
* 1980: 40.3
* 1990: 42.8
* 2000: 46.2 [8]
* 2005: 46.9
* 2006: 47.0 (highest index reported)
* 2007: 46.3
* 2008: 46.6

As usual, that got me sidetracked. The lower the Gini number, the more equally distributed a country’s income. As you can quickly see from the chart about, America’s rich are richer -- and poor are poorer -- than any time since The Great Depression. As a matter of fact, 2008 was slightly worse than 1929 (estimated).

To understand what that truly means though, you have to look at America in comparison to the rest of the world. When I went to do that, I stumbled upon my own blog. I don’t know if you ever look back through Get the Flick like I do...but there’s some good stuff back there.

It Must Be a Sign

”The key phrase in all that is the U.S. is looking more like Mexico than Canada. If you look at the map, you’ll see the same thing. The map is a representation of the Gini Coefficient. The Gini Coefficient is a mathematical model of wealth/income distribution. You can read more than you ever wanted to know about it at Wikipedia. In short, it shows how much richer the rich are in comparison to the poor in a particular county. “

When you look at the two maps (click on to enlarge) -- the 2007/2008 map

vs. the 2009 map

You notice that we now look even more like Mexico (or China) and less like Canada. Congratulations America.

About that map of the States Gini coefficient ? Take a look. I’m not the only one that has noticed the uncomfortable comparisons. Be sure to look for your State. Here’s mine:

”Georgia - .461 (Mexico) “

And one more thing. You might want to check out this story about being happy and see how that matches up with these maps.

Don Brown
January 13, 2010

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