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HOUSEHOLDS

HEADED BY

SINGLE PARENT

ACCORDING TO THE

U.S. CENSUS BUREAU

AVERAGE HOURLY WAGE

MALE

ACCORDING TO ELIZABETH GUDRAIS

REFERENCES

“The Top 1 Percent in International and Historical Perspective” by Facundo

Alvaredo, Anthony B. Atkinson, Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez in

The

Journal of Economic Perspectives

, Vol. 27, No. 3. Summer 2013.

“Why Hasn’t Democracy Slowed Rising Inequality?” By Adam Bonica, Nolan

McCarty, Keith T. Poole, and Howard Rosenthal in

The Journal of Economic

Perspectives

, Vol. 27, No. 3. Summer 2013.

“Postsecondary Education and Increasing Wage Inequality” by Thomas

Lemieux in

The American Economic Review

, Vol. 96, No. 2. May 2006.

“Unequal America,” by Elizabeth Gudrais,

Harvard Magazine

, July-Aug. 2008.

Elizabeth Moorhouse, Ph.D., chair

of Economics Department. Her

research interests include feminist

economics, women in higher

education, U.S. economic history,

and political economy.

The United States prides itself as being

the land of equal opportunity.

It is up to our students and

the generations that follow

to determine whether the

American dream is in jeopardy.

COLLEGE

GRADUATE

HIGHER

THAN

38%

1973

low income jobs. This disparity

contributes to the increased gap

between those at the bottom and

those at the top.

Addressing marriage trends

and finding ways to help low-

income families afford college

are stymied by attitudes. As a

group, Americans appear to be

more comfortable with income

inequality. According to the

World Values Survey, Americans

were nearly twice as likely as

Europeans to agree with the

statement “the poor could escape

poverty if they worked hard enough.” If unequal economic

outcomes are viewed as the result of one’s own effort instead of

the result of unfair economic and social systems, people will

focus on promoting ineffective solutions or worse yet, dismiss it

as a problem that does not need to be fixed.

Regardless of your political or philosophical view about

the appropriateness of income inequality, unequal economic

rewards have important real world consequences. Wealthier

Americans can expect to live longer with fewer health problems.

The poor in America are much more likely to develop diabetes,

heart disease, and cancer at an earlier age and have fewer funds

to manage their care.

The divide also puts significant strains on the democratic

process as the interests of the rich and poor diverge along with

their incomes. Finally, the attitude that wealth is based solely

on personal efforts can promote a culture that is focused on

individuals rather than communities, which may lead to a

decline in civic engagement.

By studying cultural trends, Lycoming students gain a broader

respect for those who are unable to afford a college education

and to formulate possible solutions for reducing the wealth gap.

The United States prides itself as being the land of equal

opportunity. It is up to our students and the generations that

follow to determine whether the American dream is in jeopardy.

HIGH

SCHOOL

GRADUATE

FEMALE

COLLEGE

GRADUATE

HIGHER

THAN

48%

HIGH

SCHOOL

GRADUATE

MALE

COLLEGE

GRADUATE

HIGHER

THAN

76%

2008

HIGH

SCHOOL

GRADUATE

FEMALE

COLLEGE

GRADUATE

HIGHER

THAN

73%

HIGH

SCHOOL

GRADUATE

1980

19.5%

2008

29.5%

23

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P E R S P E C T I V E S