The Gini Index Verses GDP for 126 Countries

When you collect data you sometimes will find a data point that is outside of the group of other data points. Many times you can attribute this singular data point to faulty data collection and discard it. However when the data point is the USA there is justification to look at it more closely. Much more closely.

The figure (called a scatter plot) is a plot of the Gini index vs. the GDP of 126 countries. The Gini Index, also know as the Gini coefficient, was developed in 1912 as a way to measure inequality among values. A Gini coefficient of zero expresses perfect equality. Using income as an example, this would mean everyone made exactly the same amount. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a Gini coefficient of one means only one person has all the income. The plot is a little alarming. The trend of the US is not towards countries that have a good standard of justice and social equality. The trend of the US is towards countries that are know for social inequality, corruption, and what some might call banana republics.

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It is also quite alarming that the US is speeding away from countries that have a high GDP on the left side of the plot toward countries that have a very low GDP. This brings up the question, as the US Gini index increases will the US GDP start to fall? It is also interesting to note that China with it's rapidly increasing GDP is also rapidly lowering it's Gini index and becoming a more equal society in terms of shared wealth.

[ 1 ] Plot constructed with data from various sources including the CIA World Fact Sheets. You can find the data set for this plot as a csv file here.