Saturday, October 25, 2008

Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries

In case you missed the latest OECD report this week, here are some very interesting data :

The conclusion is that "the gap between rich and poor has grown in more than three-quarters of OECD countries over the past two decades" but there striking differences, notably between the U.S. and France - differences that would surprise the French as much as the American people:

THE U.S :
The United States is the country with the highest inequality level and poverty rate across the OECD, Mexico and Turkey excepted. Since 2000, income inequality has increased rapidly, continuing a long-term trend that goes back to the 1970s.

The average income of the richest 10% is US$93,000 US$ in purchasing power parities, the highest level in the OECD. However, the poorest 10% of the US citizens have an income of US$5,800 US$ per year – about 20% lower than the average for OECD countries.

FRANCE :

France is one of only five OECD countries where income inequality and poverty have declined over the past 20 years.
Inequality and poverty (meaning people who live on less than half median incomes) are below OECD average, though without reaching the very low levels of the Nordic countries.
The richest 10% of the French population has an income of US$ 54,000 per year, in purchasing power parities – about the same as the OECD average. Similarly, the middle class have an income level (US$ 20,000) similar to the OECD average. However, the poorest 10% of the French population have an income of almost US$ 9,000 per year – about 25% higher than the average for OECD countries.

(Just as a reminder, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (in French: Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques, OCDE) is an international organisation of thirty countries that accept the principles of representative democracy and free-market economy.)

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