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The World 99 Percent, Cont.

By Taylor Marvin

At the Washington Post, Suzy Khimm takes a comprehensive look at whether America’s bottom 99 percent fall into the world’s top 1%:

“As it turns out, the bottom 99 percent of the United States doesn’t make the top 1 percent of household incomes worldwide — but it comes surprisingly close. Branko Milanovic, lead economist for the World Bank research group, sent me this comparative analysis based on household income or consumption surveys worldwide, adjusted for purchasing power differences. Those at the 34th percentile of income in the United States are at the 90th percentile globally, and those at the 50th percentile in the United States are at the 93rd percentile globally. Even the very poorest Americans — those at the 2nd percentile of income in the United States — are at the 62nd percentile globally.

Technically speaking, only a small minority of Americans are in the top 1 percent globally: Just those at the 92nd percentile and above are part of the richest 1 percent on earth. But many others come pretty close. All Americans at the 82nd percentile and higher are in the top 2 percent globally, for instance. So although critics aren’t exactly right about the privileged 99 percent in this country, their general point seems to hold.”

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Justin #

    This is a good point and it is important to keep wealth in a global perspective, but I don’t think these statistics in any way discredit the Occupy Wall Street movement–if that was the point of this entry. The movement is about government corruption, corporate greed and the economic distortions in American society that this has caused.
    Americans’ relative global privilege does not invalidate their grievances of a system that is unjust and does not work the way that it is supposed to.

    October 19, 2011

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