Where Canada Stands

Every society has its own income ladder, but countries differ in how long and steep it is.

Health and Social Problems are Worse in More Unequal Countries

The slides (and the graphs contained within them) can be downloaded and used freely without permission, on condition you acknowledge their source: The Spirit Level, Wilkinson & Pickett, Penguin 2009. 
Source: Wilkinson & Pickett, The Spirit Level (2009)

The factors reviewed as part of the index of health and social problems measured on the left-hand side of the graph included: 

  • Life expectancy 
  • Obesity 
  • Mental illness including drug and alcohol addiction 
  • Infant mortality 
  • Teenage births 
  • Math and literacy 
  • Trust 
  • Social mobility 
  • Homicides 
  • Imprisonment
Countries with higher levels of income inequality have greater issues related to health and social problems.
  • Countries that appear to the left, with a smaller gap between the rich and the poor, have fewer health and social problems.
  • Countries that appear to the right, with a larger gap between the rich and the poor, have more health and social problems.
Canada is in the middle. However income inequality in Canada has been increasing external link more rapidly than the U.S.A. since the mid 1990s.