This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Friday, December 11, 2015

Widening Disparities in Wealth and Health

I have blogged fairly often over the years about inequality. The topic received a huge boost a couple of years ago with Thomas Piketty's book Capital and despite the criticism he first received for suggesting that maybe the rich should pay a bit more in taxes to provide opportunities for more people, the idea has stuck around and people are paying continued attention to the issue of inequality. Using data from the Current Population Survey (and, yes, Congress--you need to keep funding the Census Bureau!!) Pew Research has just produced another reminder of the increasing income inequality in the US by focusing on the share of the economy taken up by the "middle class." The graph below tells the story:


At the same time that income inequality has been increasing, so has the inequality in life expectancy between the rich and poor. Back in September the National Academy of Sciences produced a report outlining this sad story, and the graph below from coverage by the Washington Post tells the story:


In a previous blog post, I outlined my own view of the demographics underlying the decline of the US middle class, and in another one I outlined my view of the solution. These new data confirm my thinking on this issue.

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