on the page magazine

issue no. 11, summer 2004


facts and figures
OtP's work-related tribute to the Harper's Index®

1—Number of current presidents who said, "I don't understand how poor people think."

$18,400—Poverty threshold for a family of four, according to the 2003 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Guidelines

$28,850—Annual wage needed to rent a two-bedroom house in the U.S. in 2001

31,581,086—Number of individuals below poverty level according to 2000 Census

$35,307—Amount determined by Economic Policy Institute to be above the poverty level for a family of one parent and two children

47 million—Number of U.S. households with annual incomes below $35,000

35%—Amount by which real value of minimum wage earnings in the U.S. declined between 1968 and 2000

64.4%—Increase in corporate profits during this 32-year period

158.3%—Increase in retail profits during the same period

$58,580—Minimum amount earned by top-earning 10 percent of all U.S. cartoonists

$6.84-$14.28—Hourly wage earned by half of all disc jockeys in 2000

$22,900—Average wage in the largest of U.S. Labor Department employment categories, "local and visitor services" (including retail and restaurant workers)

1%—Number of all households in 1997 whose wealth exceeded all of the households in the bottom 95 percent combined

1,336%—Amount by which the stock market grew between 1983 and 1998

85.8%—Amount of the stock market's growth between 1989 and 1999 received by the richest 10 percent of U.S. households

330,000—Number of incarcerated individuals in 1972

2,000,000—Number incarcerated in 2000

49%—Number of American employers who run criminal checks

More than 50%—Number of employers who will not hire ex-offenders

25-30%—Amount by which the weekly earnings of white males with similar education exceeded those of black males between 1983 and 1999

20—Factor by which the average U.S. CEO's take-home pay exceeded that of the average worker in 1965

458—Factor by which the average U.S. CEO's take-home pay exceeded that of the average worker in 2000


  • 2002 National Compensation Survey, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • "Economic Inequality and the Rise in U.S. Imprisonment," by Bruce Western, Meredith Kleykamp, and Jake Rosenfeld (Princeton University, May 2003)
  • Working under Different Rules, Richard B. Freeman, ed. (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1994)
  • The New York Times, August 26, 2003
  • U.S. Department of Health and Services Poverty Guidelines, 2003
  • Census 2000, U.S. Census Bureau
  • Out of Reach, 2001, National Low Income Housing Coalition's annual report on housing affordability
  • "The Growing Divide: Some Facts about Inequality in America," by Joe Soss (American University, September 2002)
  • U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/)
  • Inequality.org (http://inequality.org/)

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