MAJOR US cities including New York, Washington, Atlanta and New Orleans have levels of economic inequality rivalling African cities, according to a recent UN report.
The study found that the most balanced city in the world is Beijing, with the most egalitarian cities on average to be found in western Europe. According to the report, US cities have relatively lower levels of poverty than many cities in the developed world but their levels of income inequality are extremely high.
In the United States and Canada one of the key factors in determining levels of economic inequality is race, the report said. “The life expectancy of African Americans in the United States is about the same as that of people living in China and some states of India, despite the fact that the United States is far richer than the other two countries,“ it said.
“European countries including Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Slovenia were among those with the lowest levels of inequality. It also found that Hong Kong, the ex-British colony and now a special administrative region of China, has the highest level of inequality of all cities in Asia.
In Latin America, Brazilian cities ‘have the greatest disparities in income distribution in the world,’ the report said, partly because of Brazil’s rising unemployment and declining wages. The report said that cities in sub- Saharan Africa have the world’s highest levels of urban poverty, with more than half of city dwellers living below the poverty line.
The report also said cities in South Africa and Namibia continue to have extremely high levels of inequality. The present crisis in capitalism, with its huge rise in global unemployment, and a decrease in the price of primary products like oil and copper, will once again worsen inequality throughout the world.