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Inequality trends and how Americans perceive them

Vol. 17, Iss. 2, FEBRUARY 2019

Received: 15 January 2019

Received in revised form: 23 January 2019

Accepted: 24 January 2019

Available online: 15 February 2019


JEL Classification: D3, E25, J15

Pages: 283–293

Lebedeva L.F. Institute for the U.S. and Canadian Studies RAS, Moscow, Russian Federation

ORCID id: not available

Subject This article examines the trends in income inequality in American society, as compared to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries and Russia.
Objectives The article aims to study the changes in the Americans' income inequality across the country as a whole, its separate regions, as well as among age, and racial and ethnic groups.
Methods For the study, I used the methods of economics and statistics, comparative, and logical analyses, a systems approach, analysis of public opinion surveys, and the expert estimation technique.
Results In the United States, there is a high level of income inequality that is higher than the overall one in the OECD countries and Russia. According to public opinion polls, almost two-thirds of respondents consider the U.S. existing economic system unfair.
Conclusions The increase in income inequality in the U.S. contributes to the strengthening of social stratification of the population and is closely related to the uneven development of the U.S. regions. This could lead to a further rift in American society in anticipation of the 2020 presidential election compared to the one in 2016.

Keywords: wealth disparity, USA, public opinion


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