Carnival of space week 41 is up at the New Frontiers Blog. It is the largest carnival of space ever with 2 articles.
Household consumption should be used instead income to measure differences in society. The difference between upper middle class or moderately affluent is not that much more than those who are lower middle class.
The top fifth of American households earned an average of $149,963 a year in 2006. As shown in the first accompanying chart, they spent $69,863 on food, clothing, shelter, utilities, transportation, health care and other categories of consumption. The bottom fifth earned just $9,974, but spent nearly twice that — an average of $18,153 a year. Lower-income families have access to various sources of spending money that doesn’t fall under taxable income. These sources include portions of sales of property like homes and cars and securities that are not subject to capital gains taxes, insurance policies redeemed, or the drawing down of bank accounts. While some of these families are mired in poverty, many (the exact proportion is unclear) are headed by retirees and those temporarily between jobs, and thus their low income total doesn’t accurately reflect their long-term financial status.
The incomes of the top and bottom fifths, we see a ratio of 15 to 1. If we turn to consumption, the gap declines to around 4 to 1. If we look at consumption per person, the difference between the richest and poorest households falls to just 2.1 to 1.