Econintersect: Income inequality is rising faster in China than it is in the U.S. and the Middle Kingdom has easily surpassed America in that regard. The U.S. has a GINI coefficient 0f 0.467 for the years 2006-2010, according the the U.S. Census Bureau, and China reached 0.61 in 2010, according to a report from a Chinese University. The CIA World Fact Book indicates a smaller number (see below) but still larger than for the U.S. In 1990 China was about 0.35 and the U.S near 0.40; in 2000 China was around 0.43 and the U.S. 0.44. The GINI coefficient varies from 0 to 1 income equality improving as the number gets smaller.
Over the past 2-3 decades Mexico has experienced improving income distribution. The GINI coefficient come down from averaging above 51 in the 1990s to 0.483 in 2008, according to the World Bank. However, another source, the CIA World Fact Book reports GINI still above 50 for Mexico in 2008 so there is some uncertainty about just how fast Mexico GINI is improving. The same source also reports GINI for China in 2009 at 0.48. Numbers from all sources for the U.S. are in close agreement.
The following graph from Wikipedia gives historical perspective since World War II.
Click on graph for larger image.
- Household Income Inequality Within U.S. Counties: 2006–2010 (U.S. Census Bureau, February 2012)
- China’s Gini Index at 0.61, University Report Says (Shen Hu, Caixin Online, 10 December 2012)
- GINI Index (The World Bank)
- Distribution of Family Income (Central Intelligence Agency, World Fact Book)
Hat tip to Sanjeev Kulkarni.