Interesting looking report from the OECD about inequality across 30 countries. The press release is suitably gloomy:
Children and young adults are now 25% more likely to be poor than the population as a whole. Single-parent households are three times as likely to be poor than the population average. And yet OECD countries spend 3 times more on family policies than they did 20 years ago.
But here’s the summary for what’s been happening in the UK, where there is some good news:
Since 2000, income inequality and poverty have fallen faster in the United Kingdom than in any other OECD country. However, the gap between the rich and poor is still greater in the UK than in three quarters of OECD countries.
If you look at the tables they provide you’ll see when most of the income gap openned up during the 1980s. Also worth noting is that:
Income poverty – that is, a household with less than half the average (median) income for its country – fell from 10% to 8% between the mid-1990s and 2005. For the first time since the 1980s, the poverty level is well below the OECD average.
The number of children living poverty fell from 14% to 10% between the mid-1990s and 2005– the second largest fall (behind Italy) over this period. Even so, child poverty rates are still above the levels recorded in the mid-1980s (7-8%) and mid-1970s (5%).
That said the report also points out that what your/our parents earned is morelikely to determine what we earn than in some other OECD countries.