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Friday, 2nd September 2011

UK: Income inequality: Trends and Measures

Source: Equality Trust (UK)

Key Points:

UK income inequality increased by 32% between 1960 and 2005.  During the same period, it increased by 23% in the USA, and in Sweden decreased by 12%.

In the 1960s Sweden and the UK had similar levels of income inequal- ity. By 2005 the gap between the two had increased by 28%.

Since the 1980s income inequality in the United States and the UK has increased substantially and has returned to levels not seen since the 1920s.

The growth in inequality in the last 30 years has been driven by the top 1% of wage incomes.• Inequality measures drawn from standard household surveys underes- timate income inequality by as much as 10 percentage points, due to the under–representation of the top 1% of incomes.

There is scope for governments to tackle inequality. Large income inequalities are not inevitable; Sweden owes its high levels of equality to policies introduced since the 50s.

+ Direct link to document (PDF; 318 KB)



Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »

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