America Is the Place To Be, Part 2

Earlier today I posted a chart showing average household income in the US vs. other developed countries. Several people understandably wanted to see this chart with median incomes instead of means, since high income inequality can artificially increase means even if middle-class families are struggling.

Unfortunately, a reliable measure of median incomes that’s consistent between countries is hard to come by. Here are a couple that I could find. The first one is from Pew Research:

According to Pew, median household income in America is 34 percent higher than the Netherlands; 36 percent higher than Germany; 38 percent higher than France; 49 percent higher than the UK; and 71 percent higher than Italy.

However, this is disposable income, which means income after taxes. This makes other countries look poorer since they have higher tax rates, but the flip side—that households get plenty of services in return for all those taxes—doesn’t get counted. This makes it a difficult metric to use. Here’s another one, based on survey data from Gallup:

According to Gallup, median household income in America is 13 percent higher than the Netherlands; 31 percent higher than Germany; 38 percent higher than the UK; and 40 percent higher than France.

However, this survey pegs the median household income in the US at $43,000 in 2010, which is far lower than Census Bureau figure (about $50,000). So how accurate is it? It’s hard to say.

So it’s tricky. At the same time, even if the absolute numbers vary quite a bit, there’s fairly broad agreement about how countries compare to each other. If you average the three different measures (OECD, Gallup, and Pew), middle-class household income in the US is higher than every other comparable country:

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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