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Growing Unequal?

Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries

image of Growing Unequal?
Growing Unequal? brings together a range of analyses on the distribution of economic resources in OECD countries. The evidence on income distribution and poverty covers, for the first time, all 30 OECD countries in the mid-2000s, while information on trends extending back to the mid-1980s is provided for around two-thirds of the countries. The report also describes inequalities in a range of domains (such as household wealth, consumption patterns, in-kind public services) that are typically excluded from conventional discussion about the distribution of economic resources among individuals and households. The report provides evidence of a fairly generalised increase in income inequality over the past two decades across the OECD, but the timing, intensity and causes of the increase differ from what is typically suggested in the media. Precisely how much inequality there is in a society is not determined randomly, nor is it beyond the power of governments to change, so long as they take note of the sort of up-to-date evidence included in this report.

This report includes StatLinks, URLs linking tables and graphs in the book to Excel® spreadsheets containing the data.

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Changes in Demography and Living Arrangements

Are they Widening the Distribution of Household Income?

Changes in demographic structures and lower household sizes have dampened the economic welfare of OECD populations. They have also contributed to wider income inequalities because of the increased importance of people living alone and of lone parents. These changes have been accompanied by significant shifts in the relative income of various groups, with people in their later working life gaining the most and those entering the labour market and lone parents losing ground.

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