The video clip below graphically describes the shocking disparity in wealth between the richest and poorest groups of Americans.

The video points out that the wealth disparity is very different from what most Americans think is the case and what they would want it to be and includes a chart illustrating this. A similar Australian study was conducted by Empirica Research. In the graph below, the Australian results are overlaid on the American chart.

The chart shows that Australians are far more equal in wealth than Americans, but not nearly as equal as they think they are, and far less equal than their ideal.

Wealth Comparison
Wealth Comparison

Note that in the “Actual” American chart, neither the bottom 20% (who have 0.1% of the wealth) nor the next 20% (who have 0.2%) are visible. Fortunately, in Australia’s case, these two groups are visible and account for a combined 7% of the wealth.

(The American version of the chart is from a paper by Norton & Ariely published in Perspectives on Social Science.)