Saturday, 24 November 2007

the rich get richer, the poor get the picture

One measure of inequality within a nation is the gap between the rich and the poor. (Household wealth is often the indicator, and the rich and poor are generally defined as those in the top 20% and those in the bottom 20%.)

A recent survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicates that the gap is widening. There is (I guess) both good news and bad news.

The good news for the poor is that they are getting richer in real terms - a 6% increase in wealth in the two years to June 2006. But the "bad" news is that they are falling behind - those in the middle of the range increased their wealth by 9% and the rich by 18%. So the rich are more than 60 times more wealthy than the poor, and 11% of Aussies live below the defined "poverty line".

Another recent report indicated that some of the poor lack the resources to buy properly nutritious food, and this may be the reason why the poor are more likely to suffer from diet-related diseases.

So while the rest of us have discretionary income to spend on non-essentials, it is partly at the cost of poorer people's health.

Read about the gap between rich and poor as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald and Sydney University, and the ABC report on the impact on diet.

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