Skip navigation
E. The Land of Extremes

Narrator: This is Science Today. Michael Hout of the University of California, Berkeley is one of a team of Berkeley sociologists who have the figures to prove that in the United States, our extremes of poverty and wealth are more extreme than in other wealthy industrial democracies. In Canada, Germany and Japan...

Hout: There are fewer poor, and those who are poor are much less poor.

Narrator: Hout takes child poverty as one indicator of inequality.

Hout: Child poverty in the United States is 22 percent. One child in five is poor. In Canada the comparable figure is 14 percent, in Germany it's 7 percent, in Japan and Sweden it's almost zero. It's less than 1 percent of the children are poor.

Narrator: Conversely, executive salaries in the United States are around ten times higher than in Germany and Japan.

Hout: They've got the same average standard of living, it's just that the range from average to top is less and the range from average to bottom is less in those countries. Our rich are richer and our poor our poorer.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.