Rather than post another lengthy contribution to what Richard Tsukamasa Green has dubbed Inequalityfest 2011, I thought I’d post a few charts on the distribution of income.

The first is an attempt to replicate Catherine Rampell’s graph of the US distribution of taxpayers’ incomes by percentile. I’ve used the ATO’s 2007-08 taxpayer data to compile this.

Note that my graph is for individuals, whereas Rampell’s is for all ‘tax units’. As I understand it, that includes couples who choose to file their taxes jointly.

Brad DeLong suggested that Rampell’s graph should be on a log scale to better reflect the way we compare ourselves to others. So, here’s the same graph with the natural log of average income on the vertical axis.

Here’s the income distribution (using the tax data) by quintile, compared with the wealth distribution. The wealth distribution comes from ABS 6654.0. You can see that the distribution of wealth is much more unequal than the distribution of income.

The next couple of graphs are of the weekly earnings distribution for full time, non-managerial adult employees (from ABS 6306.0).

I hope that was interesting to someone other than me.

Thanks, really interesting to visual data in that form, the most amazing statistic is the top quintile controlling 60% of the wealth – it really does ad to arguments for better equality of outcomes.

Though lifetime inequality is much lower than this. Annual income is usually higher in middle age than when younger or older (eg I earn 10 times what I did when I was 20, my income will drop in retirement). And most people increase their asset wealth as they get older.

[…] Facts about inequality […]