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Inequality in Modern America - Essay Example

The data for the year of 2009, as presented by the U.S. Census Bureau, are particularly stark in this regard. The general results of the 2009 American Community Survey allow one to conclude that median household income experienced a sharp decline as the result of the 2008 market crash, having fallen fell by almost 3 percent between 2008 and 2009, from $51,726 to $50,221. In fact, this fall was experienced at that time for the second time, as the first such phenomenon was registered for the year of 2008 as a whole. Only in lightly populated state of North Dakota did median household income experience any kind of growth at that time (“Census Bureau Releases”). At the same time, according to the Census Bureau, 31 states experienced increases in poverty rates between 2008 and 2009. No significant decrease for any other state was registered either. In total, since December 2007, national median income had fallen down by 4 percent in 2009 in comparison with its pre-recession level. Under such situation, the deterioration of social standards was certain to ensue. The analysis of the numerical data presented by the Census Bureau enables one to understand that the income gap between the dispossessed and the affluent increased by enormous amount due to the aftershocks caused by the crisis. The data presented by the Census Bureau indicated that the inequality as evaluated on the basis of the income gap between higher and lower classes of the American society had grown tremendously in that period, reaching the highest level among the advanced market economies. The extreme poverty level, as defined by allegedly unsatisfactory official poverty rate estimates, had grown likewise in 2009, rising from 5.7 percent in 2008 to 6.3 percent in that year, which represented a staggering fact of an 11 percent increase in the number of people affected by poverty condition per annum. It may be observed that the 2009 poverty rate was the highest on the record, which is telling, as these estimates had begun as early as 1975 (“Census Finds Record Gap between Rich and Poor”). The results for the income inequality ratio between the respective groups of population were even more dismal. In 2009, the top 20 percent of the population (i.e. people with the income exceeding $100,000 a year) obtained almost 50 percent of total U.S. income. All the while, approximately 44 million people living below the poverty line took in merely 3.4 percent of national income. Therefore, in 2009, the income inequality ratio reached the mark of 14.5-to-1, which represented an increase from 13.6 in 2008 and was double as high as a historically lowest level of 7.69 that was registered in 1968 (“Census Finds Record Gap between Rich and Poor”). The situation in 2010 and 2011 followed the trend that had been formed in the preceding years. Basically, the top earners consolidated their gains for the previous times, still enjoying the accumulated effects of the early 2000s tax cuts, while the poor and middle class experienced terrible aftershocks of the 2008 Great Recession, being hit with house foreclosures, value-added tax increases and the continuing wave of layoffs. The general situation in the United States in this respect continues to be dismal, yet it is necessary to paint the more detailed picture of the state of inequality in ...Show more
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Summary

Course 5 March 2012 Inequality in Modern America Even though it is customarily asserted that the United States of America is dominated by middle-class sentiments and lifestyle, it is becoming increasingly clear that the nation is characterized by relatively high level of social inequality that may often lead to the erosion of the very social fabric that it is supposed to maintain…
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