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Thread: Evolution of income groups in Western Europe and the USA from 1991 to 2010

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    Post Evolution of income groups in Western Europe and the USA from 1991 to 2010



    The Pew Research Center has published a very interesting analysis of the evolution of social classes in Western Europe and the US from 1991 to 2010. Here are a few infographics to summarise the findings.

    1) The middle class expands in France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, but shrinks in the United States, Finland, Germany, Italy and Spain. It is stable in Scandinavia.



    2) Household income rose faster in most of Europe than in the USA in that 20-year period. There were some exceptions. Income was stable in Germany, Finland and Spain, and decreased considerably in Italy (passing from the level of Germany to that of Spain).



    3) Nordic countries and the Netherlands have the largest middle class, but France (and supposedly Belgium, which isn't part of the survey) is close behind.




    4) How much must one earn annually in average to be considered lower, middle or upper class?




    5) Are people getting richer or poorer in each country?







    6) How much have average household incomes actually changed from 1991 to 2010?

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    This study is interesting in the light of the French presidential elections. A global survey last year found that French people are the most pessimistic in the world about their future, with 88 percent of the population who think their country is on a downward spiral.

    Yet, France has one of the largest middle class population (74%) in any developed country, and actually the largest if we exclude countries with less than 20 million inhabitants. The lower income group only represents 17% of the population, less than in the US, UK, Germany, Italy or Spain. The trend over the 20-year period surveyed was that French people are getting richer (+32% for household income, better than Germany, Denmark, Finland or the Netherlands), but the proportion of middle income is increasing (+1.8%) while the lower income is decreasing (-1.8%). Only Norway and Ireland have performed better on this criteria (upward social mobility and household income increase) from 1991 to 2010. Unemployment in France, although still relatively high at 9.5%, has been relatively stable in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, unlike countries like Ireland, and most southern, central and eastern European countries.

    Countries where the middle class shrunk and household incomes stagnated and decreased include Germany, Italy and Spain. Even the USA saw unemployment and social inequalities rise, and it has been accelerating faster since 2010.

    Japan was not part of the Pew Research survey, but the situation isn't rosy there either. The economy has stagnated since 1990, and although unemployment is low, household incomes have fallen. Looking at the income distribution, about 19% of the population would fit in the low income (under $20,000/year) group and 11% in the upper income (over $100,000/year), leaving only 60% for the middle income. This would make Japan the most unequal country after the US in the countries listed above (despite what The Guardian recently claimed).

    France also enjoys one of the lowest poverty rates (8%) in the world according to the OECD data, a percentage comparable to that of Finland, Norway, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and better than wealthy Switzerland (8.6%). In contrast the poverty rate stands at 9.1% in Germany, 10.4% in the UK, 13.3% in Italy, 15.9% in Spain, and 17.2% in the US. France's poverty gap is even smaller than that of Scandinavian countries.

    French people also have one of the highest life expectancy in the world (5th for females).

    Whatever the socioeconomic indicator, it seems that French are doing remarkably well, suffering from less inequality and being healthier than any other major country in the world, and being in most regard closer to Nordic countries.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    The Pew Research Center has published a very interesting analysis of the evolution of social classes in Western Europe and the US from 1991 to 2010. Here are a few infographics to summarise the findings.

    1) The middle class expands in France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, but shrinks in the United States, Finland, Germany, Italy and Spain. It is stable in Scandinavia.



    2) Household income rose faster in most of Europe than in the USA in that 20-year period. There were some exceptions. Income was stable in Germany, Finland and Spain, and decreased considerably in Italy (passing from the level of Germany to that of Spain).



    3) Nordic countries and the Netherlands have the largest middle class, but France (and supposedly Belgium, which isn't part of the survey) is close behind.




    4) How much must one earn annually in average to be considered lower, middle or upper class?




    5) Are people getting richer or poorer in each country?







    6) How much have average household incomes actually changed from 1991 to 2010?

    Very interesting study and maybe something one might not expect.

    It would be good if Pew Research Center, that has excellent studies, expand this topic on whole world.

    For me it is especially interesting how much middle class rises in developing countries which have fast development.

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