Landmark #3: Wealth and Poverty
Okay, now check the guess that you made on the last page. Here's the same graph again, but this time with the scale on bottom. Find your gross annual income on the scale at the bottom and draw an imaginary vertical line to the top. What percentage of Americans earn less than you do? Compare this result to the answer you gave in the exercise on the previous page. Were your perceptions accurate?
Income Distribution in the United States in 1992
By now you should have a pretty good idea of where you fit in among Americans. Now let's move on to take a global perspective.
|Exercise||Think a little bit about the things you
take for granted -- clean drinking water, refrigerated
food, affordable birth control, nutritionally sufficient
food, and perhaps even convenient access to a car, a TV,
and a phone. Fill in the chart below to show which of
these four things you have in your household, how many of
each of them you think exist worldwide, and what portion
of the world population has access to them.
Finding authoritative answers to these questions is left as an exercise for the reader. Try going to a local library and asking a reference librarian for advice about where to find this information. While you're at the library, check out some of the books that I recommend in the Appendix.
The Bottom Line
Check your guess from the previous page. What percentage of Americans have income levels below yours? How accurate was your perception of where you stand?