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U.S. economic inequality, poverty, social exclusion and corruption
"Wherever there is great property, there is great inequality. For one very rich man there must be at least five hundred poor, and the affluence of the few supposes the indigence of the many".
(Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and  Causes of the Wealth of Nations, (Book 5, Ch. 1, Part II p.580)
On planning for development: Inequality and social exclusion
Economic inequality, poverty and corruption in
Africa  Asia  Latin America  China  United States of America
Posted in The Washington Post by Ezra Klein on December 4, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Obama's speech on inequality in the U.S.A delivered on December 4, 2013

...I’ll just give you a few statistics. Since 1979, when I graduated from high school, our productivity is up by more than 90 percent, but the income of the typical family has increased by less than eight percent. Since 1979, our economy has more than doubled in size, but most of that growth has flowed to a fortunate few.

The top 10 percent no longer takes in one-third of our income -- it now takes half. Whereas in the past, the average CEO made about 20 to 30 times the income of the average worker, today’s CEO now makes 273 times more. And meanwhile, a family in the top 1 percent has a net worth 288 times higher than the typical family, which is a record for this country.

So the basic bargain at the heart of our economy has frayed. In fact, this trend towards inequality is not unique to America’s market economy. Across the developed world, inequality has increased. Some of you may have seen just last week, the Pope himself spoke about this at eloquent length. “How can it be,” he wrote, “that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”...

From The Observer - 8 December 2013
David Simon: 'There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show'

The creator of The Wire, David Simon, delivered an impromptu speech about the divide between rich and poor in America at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in Sydney, and how capitalism has lost sight of its social compact. This is an edited extract.

"...Mistaking capitalism for a blueprint as to how to build a society strikes me as a really dangerous idea in a bad way. Capitalism is a remarkable engine again for producing wealth. It's a great tool to have in your toolbox if you're trying to build a society and have that society advance. You wouldn't want to go forward at this point without it. But it's not a blueprint for how to build the just society. There are other metrics besides that quarterly profit report..."

From Economic Sociology and Political Economy community - Posted on April 2014

Inequality for all

“Inequality for All” is a documentary featuring Prof. Robert Reich that lucidly explains widening income inequality in the US.

"Economic inequality affects every one of us. “Inequality for All” is a passionate argument on behalf of the poors and middle class in which Robert Reich- best-selling political economist and Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton demonstrates how the widening income gap has a devastating impact on the American economy. Using humor and a wide array of facts, Reich explores and shows how the massive consolidation of wealth by a precious few threatens the viability of the American workforce and the foundation of democracy itself.
At the heart of the film is a simple proposition: What is a good society and what role does the widening income gap play in the deterioration of the nation’s economic health?"

Striking it Richer:
The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States
(Updated with 2009 and 2010 estimates)

Emmanuel Saez - March 2, 2012

2010: Recovering from the Great Recession
In 2010, average real income per family grew by 2.3% (Table 1) but the gains were very uneven. Top 1% incomes grew by 11.6% while bottom 99% incomes grew only by 0.2%. Hence, the top 1% captured 93% of the income gains in the first year of recovery. Such an uneven recovery can help explain the recent public demonstrations against inequality. It is likely that this uneven recovery has continued in 2011 as the stock market has continued to recover. National Accounts statistics show that corporate profits and dividends distributed have grown strongly in 2011 while wage and salary accruals have only grown only modestly. Unemployment and non-employment have remained high in 2011.
This suggests that the Great Recession will only depress top income shares temporarily and will not undo any of the dramatic increase in top income shares that has taken place since the 1970s. Indeed, excluding realized capital gains, the top decile share in 2010 is equal to 46.3%, higher than in 2007 (Figure 1).

From CREW| citizens for responsability and ethics in Washington
Top Scandals 2011

CREW was shocked, shocked to find sex scandals ending congressional careers in 2011. Despite the transgressions of 2010, this year saw three more members of Congress resign amid sex scandals. In a bipartisan effort, Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY), Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), and Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) proved that politicians just can’t stay out of trouble.
Rep. Lee’s downfall kicked off 2011 after he sent some ill-advised responses to a personal ad on Craigslist. In several emails to a woman, Rep. Lee billed himself as a divorced lobbyist instead of a married congressman, and sent along a shirtless picture. On February 9, 2011, Gawker published the emails, complete with the embarrassing photo. Three hours later, Rep. Lee resigned.
He wasn’t the last member of Congress to lose his seat over some e-flirting. In May, Rep. Weiner used his Twitter account to send a lewd photo of himself to a woman in Seattle. Initially, Rep. Weiner claimed that his account had been hacked, but he later confessed to sending explicit images and messages to several women. Critics questioned whether he used government resources to try to manage the fallout and the House Ethics Committee began a preliminary inquiry into Rep. Weiner’s conduct. He stepped down in June.
Unlike these short-lived scandals, Sen. Ensign held on to his seat for nearly two years before resigning. Sen. Ensign’s affair with a campaign staffer, the wife of his top aide and best friend, came to light in 2009, but he didn’t resign until May 2011 when he was faced with expulsion from the Senate over his efforts to cover up the affair.

September 19, 2011
Most Corrupt 2011

CREW’s seventh report on congressional corruption names 19 members of Congress – 14 members whose actions violated the law or who otherwise engaged in serious misconduct, and five others whose lack of regard for the rules earned them a dishonorable mention. The 2010 midterm elections swept in a large freshman class, but certainly didn’t produce more ethical conduct. A startling 14 of the 19 members on CREW’s list are new to it this year, and six of those members are also new to Congress: Reps. Jeff Denham (R-CA), Stephen Fincher (R-TN), Michael Grimm (R-NY), Frank Guinta (R-NH), David Rivera (R-FL) and Joe Walsh (R-IL). Full report

May 19, 2011
Under Investigation

CREW has compiled a list of Congress members likely under investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the House Ethics Committee, the Senate Select Committee on Ethics (Senate ethics committee),the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), and in some cases, the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Due to the secrecy surrounding these investigative bodies, the list is compiled from press reports. On October 30, 2009, The Washington Post revealed a leaked House Ethics Committee memo documenting the investigative activities surrounding House members by the House Ethics Committee and/or the OCE. The OCE was created in 2008 to review allegations of misconduct against members of the House and refers matters to the House Ethics Committee for further action. As a result, it is not always clear which body is investigating the member.. Updated January 19 2012....

United States of America: corruption in the Senate and the House of Representatives
Notes for a brief case study of corruption in capitalist democracies, as part of Dr. Róbinson Rojas teaching in Development Planning Unit / University College London - 2011

"Political power abuse for personal gain and power by elected officials and appointees is as rampant today as it was during the 18th Century.
Abuse of political power by elected and appointed officials has a long history in the United States. Democrats and Republicans have been indicted, charged and gone to jail. Behind each act was a desire for self-enrichment at the expense of American taxpayers".

From The Congress of the United States - Congressional Budget Office

Trends in the Distribution of Household Income Between 1979 and 2007 - October 2011

This Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis finds that, over the past three decades, the distribution of income in the United States has become increasingly dispersed— in particular, the share of income accruing to higher-income households has increased, whereas the share accruing to other households has declined. Despite definitional and methodological differences, other analyses using data from tax returns or surveys have reached similar conclusions.
The dispersion of household income rose almost continually throughout the nearly 30-year period spanning 1979 through 2007 except during the 1990–1991 and 2001 recessions. The recent turmoil in financial markets, the prolonged recession that began in December 2007, and the ongoing slow recovery may have caused a pause in that upward trend, but the present analysis does not extend beyond 2007.

From the Washington Post - 21 November 2011
Three ways to combat rising inequality
by Lawrence Summers

There has been a strong and troubling shift in market rewards for a small minority relative to the rewards available to most citizens. A recent Congressional Budget Office study found that incomes of the top 1 percent of the U.S. population (adjusted for inflation) rose 275 percent from 1979 to 2007, while income for the middle class grew only 40 percent. Even this dismal figure overstates the fortunes of typical Americans. In 1965, only one in 20 men ages 25 to 54 was not working; by the end of this decade, it is likely to be one in six, even if a full cyclical recovery is achieved.
Another calculation suggests that if the income distribution had remained constant from 1979 to 2007, incomes of the top 1 percent would be 59 percent, or $780,000, lower and that incomes among the bottom 80 percent would be 21 percent, or more than $10,000, higher.

CREW: citizens for responsability and ethics in Washington

"Many Americans have given up on our political system, writing off our elected leaders as crooks. At CREW, we believe politicians must be held accountable for their actions. Day in and day out, we work to ensure government officials — regardless of party affiliation — act with honesty and integrity and merit the public trust."
"CREW accomplishes this by marrying in-depth research and investigation with hard-charging legal action and an aggressive communications strategy. We augment these efforts by building coalitions to push for policies favoring transparency and accountability. To garner support for our efforts, we use all mediums of the modern media — television, radio, print, and social networking —to maximize coverage of our work."

Combating the Culture of Corruption. Or Not.
by Charlie Cray, 2006

Tom DeLay finally resigned, Jack Abramoff will soon be doing time, and more indictments are being filed against an ever-growing list of K Street fixers, Members of Congress and corrupt executive branch employees, fueling public perception that Washington’s “culture of corruption” is out of control. Yet all the skeletons and scandals have failed to galvanize enough public outrage to force Congress to pass even modest ethics and lobby reform legislation.

Corruption Roll Call: The Most Corrupt Members of Congress
by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, 2006

Connected to the Abramoff scandal and under indictment for improper use of corporate funds in a scheme to cement Republican control over Congress, the powerful House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay resigned from office in April.
But the departed DeLay is not the only Member of Congress whose behavior merits scrutiny. There are a significant number of other members who have engaged in similarly egregious conduct, some in connection with Abramoff, some in other contexts.

Caught in Jack's Web: The Abramoff Associates' File
by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, 2006

Editor’s Note: Jack Abramoff has managed to make his name a household word.
Once one of Washington’s most effective and highly paid lobbyists, Abramoff is expected to report to prison in October, after pleading guilty in January to conspiracy, tax evasion and fraud associated with the purchase of a Florida casino cruise line, along with his associate Adam Kidan. They were each sentenced in March to 5 years and 10 months in prison.
Separately, Abramoff has also pled guilty to various charges that carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. The sentencing in this case has been postponed, and federal prosecutors have signaled they will recommend a shorter sentence if he continues to cooperate. The Wall Street Journal reports that Abramoff claims to have information that could implicate as many as 60 Members of Congress.

From Truthout:
Lax Oversight? Maybe $64 Million for DC Pols Explains It
Thursday 02 October 2008
by: Greg Gordon  |  McClatchy Newspapers
Federal lawmakers responsible for overseeing the US economy have received millions from Wall Street firms.
   Washington - The Wall Street financiers and firms whose problems have prompted a $700 billion federal bailout are no strangers to Capitol Hill or to politics.
    Since 2001, eight of the most troubled firms have donated $64.2 million to congressional candidates, presidential candidates and the Republican and Democratic parties, according to data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
    The donors include investment bankers Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, insurer American International Group and mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Since March, with the exception of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, all of these companies have been bailed out by the government, sold to other companies at deeply discounted prices or simply failed.
From Rolling Stone:
The Big Takeover
The global economic crisis isn't about money - it's about power. How Wall Street insiders are using the bailout to stage a revolution
By MATT TAIBBI, Posted Mar 19, 2009 12:49 PM

The mistake most people make in looking at the financial crisis is thinking of it in terms of money, a habit that might lead you to look at the unfolding mess as a huge bonus-killing downer for the Wall Street class. But if you look at it in purely Machiavellian terms, what you see is a colossal power grab that threatens to turn the federal government into a kind of giant Enron — a huge, impenetrable black box filled with self-dealing insiders whose scheme is the securing of individual profits at the expense of an ocean of unwitting involuntary shareholders, previously known as taxpayers.
From Capital Eye Blog:
Congressmen Hear from TARP Recipients Who Funded Their Campaigns
Published by Lindsay Renick Mayer on February 10, 2009 9:18 PM
The eight CEOs testifying Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee about how their companies are using billions of dollars in bailout funds may find that the hot seat is merely lukewarm. Nearly every member of the committee received contributions associated with these financial institutions during the 2008 election cycle, for a total of $1.8 million. And 18 of the lawmakers have their own personal funds invested in the companies.

Alberto Alesina and George-Marios Angeletos
Corruption, Inequality and Fairness
Massachusetts Institute of Technology - 2005
O. C. Dincer and B. Gunalp
Corruption, income inequality and growth: evidence from U.S. States
Massey University, Auckland; Hacettepe University, Ankara - 2005

This section deals with poverty and distribution of income in the United States of America for the following fundamental reasons:
a.- poverty and extreme inequality in the U.S. have been impossible to erradicate;
b.- the above because poverty and extreme inequality are the outcome of the internal dynamics of the capitalist market;
c.- therefore, those who think that capitalist free-market is the driving force for achieving human development should look at the U.S. to study the limits that free-market styles of development pose to human development.
( Róbinson Rojas - 1998)

Inequality in times of crisis: Lessons from the past and a first look at the current recession
Jonathan Heathcote, Fabrizio Perri and Gianluca Violante - 2 February 2010

The unemployment rate has dominated economic headlines, but recessions raise numerous problems. This column warns that recessions raise earnings inequality and income inequality, absent mitigating government programmes. The current recession has indeed raised such inequality, but consumption inequality has surprisingly declined.
The debate on the adverse consequences of the economic crisis in the US flags rising unemployment as the most pressing issue. But crises are also bad for income distribution (Coile and Levine 2009). Households in which a bread-winner becomes unemployed face a significant decline in earnings. Thus rising unemployment mechanically causes the bottom of the earnings distribution to fall off relative to the median, increasing inequality in earnings.
A key question for the policy debate is to what extent this loss of earnings power at the bottom of the earnings distribution translates into a decline in living standards.

From the U.S. Census Bureau
Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States
The complete series

From the U.S. Census Bureau

Statistical Abstracts of the United States

Read The State of Working America (United States) reports

The Christian Science Monitor - August 03, 2006
New Treasury head eyes rising inequality
In his first major speech Monday, Henry Paulson pushed America's wide income gap onto the agenda.
By Mark Trumbull - Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
The wide gap between the richest and poorest Americans has not often been the topic of choice for the Bush administration's two previous Treasury secretaries. So it was notable this week that Henry Paulson, the president's latest Treasury head, chose to put that issue on his short list - as one of the nation's four prominent, long-term economic challenges. Mr. Paulson's head-on approach during one of his first public appearances as secretary differs from his predecessors' strategies, some analysts say.
The wealth gap is hardly new, but income inequality has been growing in America over the past quarter century. Even as average worker productivity has surged, average hourly earnings have stagnated. Meanwhile, the nation's economic elites have prospered.

Inequality in United States of America
The rich, the poor and the growing gap between them
The rich are the big gainers in America's new prosperity
From The Economist print edition - June 15 2006
The rise of the working rich reinforces America's self-image as the land of opportunity. But, by some measures, that image is an illusion. Several new studies show parental income to be a better predictor of whether someone will be rich or poor in America than in Canada or much of Europe. In America about half of the income disparities in one generation are reflected in the next. In Canada and the Nordic countries that proportion is about a fifth.

Polarization in United States of America
The Evolution of Top Incomes: A Historical and International Perspective
by Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez,
NBER WP 11955, January 2006
This paper summarizes the main findings of the recent studies that have constructed top income and wealth shares series over the century for a number of industrialized countries using tax statistics.

How capitalist free market creates poverty
Poverty in United States of America
For the fourth consecutive year, the poverty rate and the number of Americans living in poverty both rose from the prior years. Since 2000, the number of poor Americans has grown by more than 6 million. The official poverty rate in 2004 (the most current year for which figures are available) was 12.7 percent, up from 12.5 percent in 2003. Total Americans below the official poverty thresholds numbered 37 million, a figure 1.1 million higher than the 35.9 million in poverty in 2003. (U.S. Census Bureau, Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004)
On average, more than one out of every three Americans - 37 percent of all people in the United States - are officially classified as living in poverty at least 2 months out of the year. (U.S. Census Bureau, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004)

From The Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn
Regional income inequality in selected large countries
A Heshmati, September 2004
The countries considered here cover transition (China and Russia), developing (India) and industrialised (USA) countries. Empirical results from the literature is further complemented and compared with those obtained from the WIID data covering post 1950s.
Moses Shayo
Nation, Class and Redistribution: Applying Social Identity Research to Political Economy.
Princeton University - 2005

The New York Times - 10 June 2005
Losing Our Country
By Paul Krugman
"The middle-class society I grew up in no longer exists. Working families have seen little if any progress over the past 30 years. Adjusted for inflation, the income of the median family doubled between 1947 and 1973. But it rose only 22 percent from 1973 to 2003, and much of that gain was the result of wives' entering the paid labor force or working longer hours, not rising wages.
But the wealthy have done very well indeed. Since 1973 the average income of the top 1 percent of Americans has doubled, and the income of the top 0.1 percent has tripled."

From CNN, August 26, 2004
Poverty spreads in the U.S.A.
Census Bureau says 1.3 million more slipped into poverty last year; health care coverage also drops.
Róbinson Rojas
About obscenities, poverty and inequality in a capitalist system

IDEAS: report 2002
Number of People in Poverty Increases in U.S.

From the International Monetary Fund
Western Hemisphere Department - August 1996
Income distribution and macroeconomic performance in the United States
By J. Cole and C. Towe
The factors underlying the rise in U.S. income inequality since the mid-1970s are examined. The results suggest that the trend increase in income inequality has not been related to macroeconomic developments, suc as income growth or import penetration, but that the income distribution is sensitive to the cycle. Important factors that do help explain the widening of the income distribution include the increased investment in technology and the decline in the minimum wage. The rise in the share of single female-headed households, the increased proportion of households headed by someone over the age of 35, and the fall in the child-dependency ratio also help explain movements in income shares.

U.S. Census Bureau on Poverty (29 April 2004)
-- Recent Poverty Measurement Research
-- Small Area Estimates
Guidance on Survey Differences in Income and Poverty Estimates

CURRENT POPULATION SURVEY SURVEY OF INCOME AND PROGRAM PARTICIPATION (SIPP): DECENNIAL CENSUS: Contact the Housing and Household Statistics Division Information Staff at (301)763-3242 or visit for further information on Poverty Statistics.
Go to Income Statistics

Last Revised: April 29, 2004

9 June 2005
Capitalist Economic Terrorism

Free-market fundamentalism, which can be better described as capitalist economic terrorism, is creating a world with a small bunch of super rich and a big majority just surviving on their subsistence income. United States is a telling case study of this. What began with  the Reagan Administration is reaching obscene features with the Bush Administration. Statistics show that "for every additional dollar earned by the bottom 90 percent of the population between 1950 and 1970, those in the top 0.01 percent earned an additional $162. That gap has since skyrocketed. For every additional dollar earned by the bottom 90 percent between 1990 and 2002, each taxpayer in that top bracket brought in an extra $18,000." The New York Times is publishing a special section ("Class Matters"), from which I select here some important texts. They show how capitalist economic terrorism (free-market fundamentalism) can disjoint a society. The winners are the ones who have at their service a political class serving their interests by unleashing political and economic terrorism (otherwise known as globalization) all over planet Earth. They are building a larger U.S. empire. Modern Caligulas like Bush et al are the top layer of that political class. ( Róbinson Rojas - June 2005)

The Bush Economy (7 June 2005)
Richest Are Leaving Even the Rich Far Behind (5 June 2005)
Crushing Upward Mobility (7 June 2005)
Class Matters. A special section (8 June 2005)
The Mobility Myth (6 June 2005)

6 September 2005
Capitalist Social Terrorism

 Capitalist markets work concentrating capital in the hands of a minority creating  capitalist economic terrorism (as I defined it elsewhere) because capital concentration gives also overwhelming political power to the big capitalists and their political servants. From the above capitalist social terrorism arises, which dramatically polarizes society. United States of America is the best example of this capitalist social terrorism in action which Hurricane Katrina uncovered for the whole world to see. In United States of America like in any modern capitalist society creation of wealth goes parallel to creation of inequality and poverty. The texts below, taken from The Washington Post and The New York Times, are a useful description of the main features of capitalist social terrorism. ( Róbinson Rojas,     6 September 2005)

From The New York Times - 8 September 2005
Macabre Reminder: The Corpse on Union Street
By Dan Barry
NEW ORLEANS, - In the downtown business district here, on a dry stretch of Union Street, past the Omni Bank automated teller machine, across from a parking garage offering "early bird" rates: a corpse. Its feet jut from a damp blue tarp. Its knees rise in rigor mortis. Six National Guardsmen walked up to it on Tuesday afternoon and two blessed themselves with the sign of the cross. One soldier took a parting snapshot like some visiting conventioneer, and they walked away. New Orleans, September 2005.
From The Washington Post - 6 September 2005
The Lagging Poor
 "The Census Bureau's annual report on income, poverty and health insurance in the United States is not alarming -- but neither is it cheering, or even reassuring. Rather, the numbers underscore the lagging and uneven nature of the economic recovery since the 2001 recession. According to the new data, 4 million more people were living in poverty in 2004 than in 2001, and 4.6 million more people lacked health insurance."
From The New York Times - 6 September 2005
The Larger Shame

The wretchedness coming across our television screens from Louisiana has illuminated the way children sometimes pay with their lives, even in America, for being born to poor families.

From The Washington Post - 5 September 2005
Disaster Cleanup

Halliburton Subsidiary Taps Contract For Repairs
By Lolita C. Baldor
An Arlington-based Halliburton Co. subsidiary that has been criticized for its reconstruction work in Iraq has begun tapping a $500 million Navy contract to do emergency repairs at Gulf Coast naval and Marine facilities damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
From The Washington Post - 3 September 2005
Kanye West's Torrent of Criticism, Live on NBC
"I hate the way they portray us in the media. You see a black family, it says, "They're looting." You see a white family, it says, "They're looking for food." And, you know, it's been five days [waiting for federal help] because most of the people are black."
By Lisa de Moraes

From The Washington Post - 3 September 2005
Oil Firms Turn Katrina Into Profits, Clinton Says
N.Y. Senator Criticizes Lack of National Leadership, Freedom From Imports
By Dan Balz

From The New York Times - 3 September 2005

Katrina's Assault on Washington
Do not be misled by Congress's approval of $10.5 billion in relief for the Hurricane Katrina victims. That's prompted by the graphic shock of the news coverage from New Orleans and the region, where the devastation catapults daily, in heartbreaking contrast with the slo-mo bumblings of government.
From The New York Times - 3 September 2005
United States of Shame
By Maureen Dowd
Stuff happens. And when you combine limited government with incompetent government, lethal stuff happens. America is once more plunged into a snake pit of anarchy, death, looting, raping, marauding thugs, suffering innocents, a shattered infrastructure, a gutted police force, insufficient troop levels and criminally negligent government planning. But this time it's happening in America.

From The New York Times - 2 September 2005
They Saw It Coming
By Mark Fischetti
THE deaths caused by Hurricane Katrina are heart-rending. The suffering of survivors is wrenching. Property destruction is shocking. But perhaps the most agonizing part is that much of what happened in New Orleans this week might have been avoided.
From The New York Times - 2 September 2005
From Margins of Society to Center of the Tragedy
By David González
The scenes of floating corpses, scavengers fighting for food and desperate throngs seeking any way out of New Orleans have been tragic enough. But for many African-American leaders, there is a growing outrage that many of those still stuck at the center of this tragedy were people who for generations had been pushed to the margins of society
From The New York Times - 2 September 2005
Cameras Captured a Disaster but Now Focus on Suffering

By Alessandra Stanley
A woman in a wheelchair, her face and body covered by a plaid blanket, dead, and left next to a wall of the New Orleans convention center like a discarded supermarket cart. There were many other appalling images from Hurricane Katrina on Thursday, but that one was a turning point: after three days of flood scenes, television shifted from recording a devastating natural disaster to exposing human failures.
H. Jeong and R. M. Townsend
Growth and Inequality: Model Evaluation Based on an Estimation-Calibration Strategy
University of Southern California - 2003
This paper evaluates two well-known models of growth with inequality that have explicit micro underpinnings related to household choice. With incomplete markets or transactions costs, wealth can constrain investment in business and the choice of occupation and also constrain the timing of entry into the formal financial sector. Using the Thai Socio-Economic Survey, we estimate the distribution of wealth and the key parameters that best fit cross-sectional data on household choices and wealth. We then simulate the model economies for two decades at the estimated initial wealth distribution and analyze whether the model economies at those micro-fit parameter estimates can explain the observed macro and sectoral aspects of income growth and inequality change. Both models capture important features of Thai reality. Anomalies and comparisons across the two distinct models yield specific suggestions for improved research on the micro foundations of growth and inequality.
Anton Korinek, Johan A. Mistiaen, and Martin Ravallion
Survey Nonresponse and the Distribution of Income
World Bank Research Papers - 2005
From the U.S. Census Bureau, Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division
Data and reports on income, poverty and health insurance

Income Main
Related Topics
Micro Data Access

Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States, 2006
Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004 (P60-229)

The Effects of Government Taxes and Transfers on Income and Poverty: 2004
August 2005 Press Briefing including Charts
August 2005 Press Release
Income 2004
Median Household Income by State - 2002-2004
Tables of Income by Detailed Socioeconomic Characteristics - 1994 - 2006

Alternative Income Estimates in the United States: 2003 (P60-228)
Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2003 (P60-226)
Money Income in the United States: 2002 (P60-221)
Money Income in the United States: 2001 (P60-218)
Money Income in the United States: 2000 (P60-213)
Money Income in the United States: 1999 (P60-209)
Money Income in the United States: 1998 (P60-206)
The Changing Shape of the Nation's Income Distribution, 1947-98 (P60-204)
Measuring 50 Years of Economic Change Using the March CPS (P60-203)
Money Income in the United States: 1997 (P60-200)
Changes in Median Household Income: 1969 to 1996
Money Income in the United States: 1996 (P60-197)
Money Income in the United States: 1995 (P60-193)
Income and Poverty Statistics: 1994 (P60-189)
Income and Poverty Statistics: 1993
Consumer Income Reports: (1946 to 2006)

American Community Survey
Income: Data Collection, Processing, and Comparisons to the 1990 Census, June 2000.

Income in the ACS: Comparisons to the 1990 Census (Powerpoint Slides)

American Housing Survey
Discrepancies Between Measured Income in the American Housing Survey (AHS) and the Current Population Survey (CPS)[PDF]

Current Population Survey
Income Data Quality Issues in the Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the
      Current Population Survey.  [PDF]
Using Administrative Earnings Records to Assess Wage Data Quality in the March
      Current Population Survey and the Survey of Income and Program Participation.  [PDF]
New Methods for Simulating CPS Taxes  [PDF]
CPS ASEC 2005 Tax Model Documentation  [PDF]
Assessing the Quality of the March Current Population Survey and the
      Survey of Income and Program Participation Income Estimates, 1990-1996.  [PDF]
Comparability of CPS Income Data with Other Data
Shares of Income Received by Quintiles When Equivalent Income Is Used as
      the Measure of Income  [PDF]

Current Population Survey (CPS): (CPS Main Home Page)

American Community Survey (ACS) (ACS Home Page)

Income, Earnings, and Poverty from the 2004 American Community Survey (ACS-01) [PDF]
Profiles (Table 3 contains income statistics)
Multi-Year Profile
Detailed tables

Decennial Census:
       2000 (Your Gateway to Census 2000)

Summary File 4 (SF4)
Summary File 3 (SF3)
Demographic Profiles
Earnings by Occupation and Education (state data)
Evidence From Census 2000 About Earnings by Detailed Occupation for Men and Women (CENSR-15) [PDF]
Census 2000 PHC-T-33. Earnings Distribution of U.S.Year-Round Full-Time Workers by Occupation: 1999
Census 2000 Auxiliary Evaluation: Comparing Employment, Income, and Poverty: Census 2000 and Current Population Survey [PDF]

1990 Census Home Page
1990 Census of Population & Housing Paper Listings (CPH-L)
1990 Census Reports

Survey of Income and Program Participation
(SIPP Home Page)

Dynamics of Economic Well-Being: Income 1993 to 1994 [PDF]
Moving Up and Down the Income Ladder

Reports (P70), Statistical Briefs, and Working Papers

Survey of Program Dynamics (SPD)
(SPD Home Page)

1997 Data

Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE)
(SAIPE Home Page)

Model-based estimates for states and counties.
Please read the Overview and FAQs before attempting to use the state and county tables.

The Changing Shape of the Nation's Income Distribution, 1947-98 (P60-204)
Previously issued Income Inequality Reports
Narrative on Income Inequality (Middle Class)
Historical Tables on Income Inequality
4-Person Median Family Income by State

Contact the HHES Information area at 301-763-3242 or visit for further information on Income Data.

U.S. Historical Income Data 1967-2003
Current Population Survey Tables:
Experimental Measures
Income Inequality

Decennial Census
Metropolitan Areas (MAs)

History of March CPS Changes
Cross-Reference of Income Table Characteristics
Footnotes for CPS Historical Income Tables
Current vs. Constant (or Real) Dollars
Suggested Citation Styles

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Historical CPS Income Tables
Historical Decennial Census Income Tables

For more information regarding Current Population Income or Decennial Census data, visit
Go to Income Statistics
Go to Poverty Statistics

Last Revised: April 15, 2005

-- A brief look at postwar U.S. income inequality
-- Briefing on 1995 U.S. income, poverty and health insurance estimates
-- Money Income in the United States: 1997
-- Table F. Median Income Using Different Definitions for Households. With Selected Characteristics: 1997
-- Table C. Median Income of Households by State
-- Table B. Selected Measures of Household Income Dispersion:1967 to 1997
-- Table A. Comparison of Summary Measures of Income by Selected Characteristics: 1989, 1996 and 1997

-- ARE THE CHILDREN WORSE OFF? Evaluating Child Well-Being
Using a New (and Improved) Measure of Poverty,
By John Iceland and Kathleen Short, U.S. Census Bureau, Thesia Garner and David Johnson, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1999
-- Work related expenditures in a new measure of poverty, By Kathleen Short, Martina Shea, T.J. Eller, 1996
-- Press briefing on 1996 income, poverty, and health insurance estimates
- Poverty 1959-1997
- Median Household Income 1967-1997
- Poverty Rate in the U.S. Counties. 1990 Census.
- Poverty by race and Hispanic origin. 1990 Census
- Poverty by region. 1990 Census
- Poverty rate in the District of Columbia 1989/1990 Census

From the US Census Bureau:
Poverty from 1959 to 2004

  • Evaluation of Poverty Estimates: A Comparison of the American Community Survey and the Current Population Survey
  • Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004 (P60-229)
    Poverty Estimates in the United States: 2003 (P60-227)
  • Poverty in the United States: 2002 (P60-222)
  • Poverty in the United States: 2001 (P60-219)
  • Poverty in the United States: 2000 (P60-214)
  • Areas with Concentrated Poverty: 1999 (CENSR-16) [PDF]
  • Poverty: 1999 (C2KBR-19) (Census 2000)
  • Dynamics of Economic Well-Being: Poverty, 1996 to 1999 (SIPP)
  • Experimental Poverty Measures: 1999 (P60-216) [PDF]
  • Poverty in the United States: 1999 (P60-210) [PDF]
  • Poverty Among Working Families: Findings From Experimental Poverty Measures: 1998 (P23-203) [PDF]
  • Detailed Tables
  • Poverty in the United States: 1998 (P60-207) [PDF]
  • Experimental Poverty Measures: 1990-1997 (P60-205) [PDF]
  • Poverty in the United States: 1997 (P60-201) [PDF]
  • Poverty in the United States: 1996 (P60-198) [PDF]
  • Poverty in the United States: 1995 (P60-194) [PDF]
  • Income and Poverty Statistics: 1994 (P60-189) [PDF]
  • Dynamics of Economic Well-Being: Poverty, 1993 to 1994: Trap Door? Revolving Door? Or Both? (SIPP)
  • Income and Poverty Statistics: 1993 (P60-188) [PDF]
  • Poverty in the United States: 1992 (P60-185) [PDF - 17MB]
  • Poverty in the United States: 1991 (P60-181) [PDF - 17MB]
  • Poverty Areas Statistical Brief (1990 Census)
  • Poverty in the United States: 1990 (P60-175) [PDF - 16MB]
  • Poverty in the United States: 1988 and 1989 (P60-171) [PDF - 18MB]
  • Poverty in the United States: 1987 (P60-163) [PDF - 7MB]
  • Poverty in the United States: 1986 (P60-160) [PDF - 11MB]
  • Poverty in the United States: 1985 (P60-158) [PDF - 7MB]
  • Characteristics of the Population Below the Poverty Level: 1984 (P60-152) [PDF - 8MB]
  • Characteristics of the Population Below the Poverty Level: 1983 (P60-147) [PDF - 12MB]
  • Characteristics of the Population Below the Poverty Level: 1982 (P60-144) [PDF - 11MB]
  • Characteristics of the Population Below the Poverty Level: 1981 (P60-138) [PDF - 8MB]
  • Characteristics of the Population Below the Poverty Level: 1980 (P60-133) [PDF - 8MB]
  • Advance Data--Money Income and Poverty Status of Families and Persons in the United States: 1980 (P60-127)
  • Characteristics of the Population Below the Poverty Level: 1979 (P60-130) [PDF - 14MB]
  • Characteristics of the Population Below the Poverty Level: 1978 (P60-124) [PDF - 9MB]
  • Characteristics of the Population Below the Poverty Level: 1977 (P60-119) [PDF - 9MB]
  • Characteristics of the Population Below the Poverty Level: 1976 (P60-115) [PDF - 9MB]
  • Characteristics of the Population Below the Poverty Level: 1975 (P60-106) [PDF - 15MB]
  • Characteristics of the Population Below the Poverty Level: 1974 (P60-102) [PDF - 8MB]
  • Characteristics of the Low-Income Population: 1973 (P60-98) [PDF - 6MB]
  • Advance Report--Characteristics of the Low-Income Population: 1973 (P60-94) [PDF - 656KB]
  • Supplementary Report on the Low-Income Population: 1966 to 1972 (P60-95) [PDF - 3MB]
  • Characteristics of the Low-Income Population: 1972 (P60-91) [PDF - 8MB]
  • Advance Data--Characteristics of the Low-Income Population: 1972 (P60-88) [PDF - 524KB]
  • Characteristics of the Low-Income Population: 1971 (P60-86) [PDF - 5MB]
  • Advance Data--Characteristics of the Low-Income Population: 1971 (P60-82) [PDF - 502KB]
  • Characteristics of the Low-Income Population: 1970 (P60-81) [PDF - 5MB]
  • Advance Data-Poverty Increases by 1.2 Million in 1970 (P60-77) [PDF - 458KB]
  • Poverty in the United States: 1969 (P60-76) [PDF - 5MB]
  • Advance Data--Poverty Continues to Decline in 1969 (P60-71) [PDF - 1MB]
  • Poverty in the United States: 1959 to 1968 (P60-68) [PDF - 6MB]
  • Socioeconomic Trends in Poverty Areas 1960 to 1968 (P60-67) [PDF - 789KB]
  • Characteristics of Families and Persons Living in Metropolitan Poverty Areas: 1967 (P60-61) [PDF - 1MB]
  • Family Income Advance, Poverty Reduced in 1967 (P60-55) [PDF - 769KB]
  • The Extent of Poverty in the United States: 1959 to 1966 (P60-54) [PDF - 1MB]
Alternative Definitions of Income (R&D reports) (The following papers are from the Current Population Survey unless otherwise noted)
  • Measuring the Effect of Benefits and Taxes on Income and Poverty: 1992 (P60-186RD) [PDF]
  • Measuring the Effect of Benefits and Taxes on Income and Poverty: 1979 to 1991 (P-60-182-RD) [PDF]
  • Measuring the Effect of Benefits and Taxes on Income and Poverty: 1990 (P60-176-RD) [PDF]
  • Measuring the Effect of Benefits and Taxes on Income and Poverty: 1989 (P60-169-RD) [PDF]
  • Measuring the Effect of Benefits and Taxes on Income and Poverty: 1987 to 1988 (P60-170-RD) [PDF]
  • Measuring the Effect of Benefits and Taxes on Income and Poverty: 1986 (P60-164-RD-1) [PDF]
  • Technical Paper 58-Estimates of Poverty Including the Value of Noncash Benefits: 1987 [PDF - 11MB]
  • Technical Paper 57-Estimates of Poverty Including the Value of Noncash Benefits: 1986 [PDF - 3MB]
  • Technical Paper 56-Estimates of Poverty Including the Value of Noncash Benefits: 1985 [PDF - 4MB]
  • Technical Paper 55-Estimates of Poverty Including the Value of Noncash Benefits: 1984 [PDF - 5MB]
  • Technical Paper 52-Estimates of Poverty Including the Value of Noncash Benefits: 1983 [PDF - 2MB]
  • Technical Paper 51-Estimates of Poverty Including the Value of Noncash Benefits: 1979 to 1982 [PDF - 3MB]
  • Technical Paper 50-Alternative Methods for Valuing Selected In-kind Transfer Benefits and Measuring their Effect on Poverty  [PDF]
  • Conference on the Measurement of Noncash Benefits -- December 12-14, 1985, Fort Magruder Inn & Conference Center, Williamsburg, Virginia  [PDF - 44MB]
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