FACTBOX: OECD highlights a growing gap between rich and poor

Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:12am EDT
 
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(Reuters) - The 30-nation OECD released a report on Tuesday on the growing gap between rich and poor in many of its member states.

Here are some of the findings on a country-by-country basis. More information is available on the www.oecd.org website.

UNITED STATES - The United States has the highest inequality level and poverty rate (ie those who live on less than half median incomes) in the OECD after Mexico and Turkey. Since 2000, income inequality has increased rapidly, continuing a long-term trend that dates back to the 1970s.

The average income of the richest 10 percent is $93,000, in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP)*, the highest in the OECD and compared with an OECD average of $54,000. The poorest 10 percent have an income of $5,800 per year, against an OECD average of $7,000. The top 10 percent hold 71 percent of net worth and 28 percent of total income.

GERMANY - Since 2000, income inequality and poverty have grown faster in Germany than in any other OECD country. They increased by more in five years (2000-2005) than in the previous 15 combined (1985-2000).

Although poverty rates are high, people do not stay poor for long. Only 2 to 3 percent of the population are poor for 3 or more years in a row -- half of the OECD average.

BRITAIN - Since 2000, income inequality and poverty have fallen faster in Britain than in any other OECD country. However, the gap between the rich and poor is still greater there than in 75 percent of OECD countries.

The wage gap has widened by 20 percent since 1985, notably at the start of this period. The number of people living alone or in single-parent households has increased more rapidly than in all other OECD countries, widening inequality.

FRANCE - France is one of just five countries where inequalities have fallen in the past 20 years, but have still not reached the levels seen in nordic European countries. The average income of the richest 10 percent is $54,000 (PPP)*, while the income of the poorest 10 percent is almost $9,000.   Continued...