Social Stratification in the United States Visualization

Income inequality is at its highest point in recent history, and awareness of the issue is growing proportionally.

The below visualization shows how groups of Americans are faring in terms of several social indicators. Much of this information is discussed in classrooms and the media. However, the numbers, percentages, and median figures can be confusing and hard to relate to one another. This visualization attempts to overcome this problem by presenting the data all together across income, education, gender, and household type. More in-depth visuals and analysis can be found in Social Stratification in the United States: The American Profile Poster.

The visualization below shows the number of Americans in each income group. Each is 200,000 people.

Click on any dot to show the count across all shown categories. Click again to return back to the graphic.

Select a demographic factor from the dropdowns below to see how income breaks down across those different groups of Americans. The first dropdown changes the color of the circles; the second rearranges them.

For example, if you pick education in the first dropdown and education in the second dropdown, there will be separate income ladders for each education group. Or, if you pick family type in the second selection box, there will be three income ladders for single people, singles with dependent(s), and couples; within each income ladder, there will be colored dots that reflect educational attainment.

See how income looks across:


Source: 2013 Current Population Survey.

Note: The data above shows adults responsible for their own well-being. Individuals over eighteen living with parents, elderly individuals living with relatives, and people in institutions such as the armed forces, prisons, and mental hospitals, are not included. Simplifying assumptions were made in the grouping of people and visualization. Gay couples are not represented, though their numbers are large enough to represent ten dots. Interracial couples are also not represented.