# [OPE-L:2852] income distribution

From: Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Date: Fri Apr 14 2000 - 17:05:36 EDT

Re Allin's [OPE-L:2850]:

> But if
> Patrick's figure is right, it means of course that 500f
> families have incomes greater than \$45,000, which is not
> consistent with a majority having incomes less than \$26,887!

Not correct.

* Exercise A:

Find the income for a mathematical majority of families (> 50%)
*who earn income less than the remaining families*.

Then calculate the average income for this group. Note how this group
could indeed be accurately said to be the majority of families. Note
also how because of variations in income distribution we would
anticipate that this statistic will differ significantly from the
figures on median family income.

* Exercise B:

Take the same data that Patrick used to say that the median income of
African-American and Latino families was approximately \$27,000.

Subtract the data on the top 100f income earners in that group to
fill-in the following statement: "Ninety percent of all
African-American and Latino families earn an average income of
\$__,____.

I think that the result will be significantly different from the
aggregate statistic.

* Exercise C

Assume that some (significant) percentage of families are composed of
undocumented workers whose existence is not adequately measured by BLS
statistics. Assume further that most of these families are part of
the working poor.

If we then had the data (which we don't) then we could deflate the
result of Exercise A still further. E.g. if 30f families fit into
this category, then it would mean that we would have to knock-off the
top 30f income earners in the Exercise A sample to obtain a new
figure for a simple majority of families.

We live in a capitalist society: differences in income distribution tend to
be very significant.

In solidarity, Jerry

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