If wealth measures the health of the middle class, the United States is in trouble
The United States is the richest country on Earth. The US has the most millionaires and the most billionaires; in fact 28% of the world’s millionaires are from the United States. Given that the US is the wealthiest country with all these rich people, if you believe in the theory of trickledown economics it would stand to reason that the US also has the wealthiest middle class. Well, guess again.
The wealth of the middle class is one of the best ways to measure a society’s prosperity. Unfortunately if you find yourself in the middle of the road in some countries, you’re likely moving down rather than up while the middle disappears altogether.
The United States ranks #26 in the world when it comes to middle class wealth and declining further. Canada ranks higher, but its middle class is also in decline. To my surprise, the nation with the wealthiest middle class is Australia, roughly five times higher than that of the United States.
So how does this happen, why is the US so far behind? Well, there are a number of factors behind these numbers. For starters the good ole US of A has no universal healthcare, it’s incredibly hard to gain or maintain a level of wealth if you get a prolonged illness.
Let’s not forget the decline in union membership. Unions used to embrace close to 30% of the workforce, these days that number is close to 10%. Other major factors include a dismal minimum wage, high levels of student loan debt and a deregulated Wall Street and banking system.
On the other hand, when you reverse these influences with a strong banking system, a decent minimum wage and free healthcare, you get Australia,
Wealth is measured by the total sum of assets minus liabilities; this chart represents the median middle class wealth per family.
Median Middle Class Wealth
|United Arab Emerites|
Data from the global wealth data book
As someone from Canada and who has lived in the US for a long time, I could see why US is below Canada. Average house in Canada is at least 2 times more expensive US house and plus US houses are much nicer in terms of quality than Canadian houses. Also, US housing prices went down following 2007 crisis whereas Canadian house prices are at record level now.
Interesting how Spain, and MANY other areas are protesting in the streets basically against DESPOTISM !! Why aren’t we protesting in droves!!
Interesting. What’s the source of the data?
This was from data taken from the the global wealth data book, I first saw the info in an Alternet article
I’d be interested in seeing how these numbers/rankings have changed over the last 40-45 years. That’d be a very telltale sign as to where we (and everyone else) are heading.
Funny how countries who embrace a more socialist governing system have wealthier people. To hear conservatives tell it, socialism is the downfall of humanity and if America tiptoes down that path, we’ll all end up eating shoes and no one will live past the age of 30.
Exactly! Sheep who don’t think for themselves and ignore facts, trusting Fox , Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity etc just turn into mouthpieces for huge corporations!!! Disturbing how greed, power , self serving agendas are the rule instead of what’s best for our entire nation!
Really? Sorry, witch country are you refering to?