These 10 charts starkly show the state of inequality in 2021

Even early on in the pandemic, it was clear that the financial results of COVID-19 shutdowns wouldn’t have an effect on everybody equally. As a substitute, they highlighted stark inequalities in our world, with some folks working safely at residence and ordering all their groceries and meals delivered, whereas others went to work every day at nice threat of publicity to the virus. Practically two years later, that hasn’t modified. Ten charts from, a mission of the progressive assume tank Institute for Coverage Research that tracks inequality-related information, assist paint the image of the state of financial inequality in 2021.

“My goal with these 2021-in-review charts was to make use of knowledge to sum up the main inequality traits of the 12 months, each the high and backside of the revenue scale and thru racial, gender, and world lenses as effectively,” says Sarah Anderson, world financial system mission director at the institute and coeditor. “I additionally knew I needed to finish on an upbeat word, since all of us want inspiration lately.”


The primary lays out the rise in billionaire wealth, company earnings, complete wages, and client costs since the starting of the pandemic. Whereas billionaire wealth rose 70% (pushed by a surging inventory market), and company earnings rose 50%, wages have solely gotten 17% increased since the begin of the pandemic. Client costs are 8% increased; inflation has successfully taken a chunk out of the small elevate staff noticed.

“The primary chart says all of it about the lack of shared sacrifice throughout the pandemic,” Anderson says. “At a time when many individuals maintain the view that staffing shortages are the outcome of ‘no person eager to work anymore,’ it’s necessary to current the information about what a uncooked deal low-wage frontline staff are nonetheless getting, regardless of their heroic efforts throughout the pandemic.”



Different charts show how folks of colour confronted increased unemployment charges all through the pandemic—as of November 2021, the unemployment charge amongst Black Individuals was 6.7%; amongst white Individuals, it was 3.7%. Ladies of colour have been affected much more, as the ones most certainly to have stopped on the lookout for work, one other chart exhibits, doubtless a outcome of the excessive value of childcare and well being considerations.


Others illustrate how inventory buybacks have hit record-high ranges, which works to inflate govt’s stock-based pay, and the disparity of vaccine distribution relying on how rich a rustic is (148.9 doses administered per 100 folks in excessive revenue nations versus simply 8.1 per 100 folks in low-income ones).

“A number of of the charts are additionally geared toward making the case for the public investments in the Construct Again Higher laws,” Anderson provides. “The job creation components of the invoice would handle the excessive unemployment charge amongst folks of colour and the childcare investments may assist extra ladies, significantly Black ladies, return to work.”


Although the bill currently seems dead, some of its provisions could possibly be reintroduced, and Anderson says they may cut back revenue inequality, due to tax will increase, together with a surtax on annual incomes above $10 million, one chart exhibits. One other chart particulars how these taxes on the ultrarich would elevate $230 billion, sufficient cash to cowl public investments like common preschool and extra inexpensive housing. These surtax modifications would doubtless hit company CEOs, a gaggle whose pay has elevated dramatically in comparison with their staff, illustrated by a chart that exhibits common CEO pay rising this 12 months by 15%, to $13.9 million, contrasted with the traits in employee pay, which elevated from $30,416 in 2019 to $30,474 in 2020.