Members of the Occupy Wall Street movement have declared themselves "the 99 percent" and turned their wrath onto the remaining one percent of wealthy Americans, particularly corporate leaders and the financial sector. Though there are plenty of high-income people within America's lower 99 percent of earners, the United States does have steep (and growing) income inequality. After weeks of the protest that has its home in a New York City park but has launched copycat rallies in other cities, conservatives launched "We Are the 53 Percent," a Tumblr blog that mocks the protesters and criticizes the roughly 46 percent of Americans who pay no federal income tax.
Varying forms of inequality pervade the American economy, whether people are underrepresented, underpaid, or just suffering disproportionately. Here are a few more groups with reason to join Occupy Wall Street on the front lines of protest:
The 10.7 Percent (Families With Children, Headed by Single Mothers)
Raising children alone is difficult for a man or a woman. But data show that the job is particularly difficult for single moms. Nearly 41 percent of families headed by women with related children and without husbands around were below the poverty line in 2010. Families headed by men without wives present, meanwhile, experienced a 24.2 percent poverty rate.
The 50.8 Percent (Women)
Single mothers do have higher poverty than the rest of the nation, but the population of American women as a whole experiences a different sort of inequality in the form of a pay gap. In the United States in 2010, median earnings for full-time working women were $36,551, 78.6 percent of the median earnings for full-time working men, $46,500, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The 0.7 Percent (Post-9/11 Veterans)
There were 21.8 million veterans in the United States in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, of whom 10.5 percent served after September 2001. Many returning vets already face the difficulties of war's physical and emotional scars, but also difficulty finding work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterans of post-9/11 wars have a 11.7 unemployment rate—up 1.5 percentage points from a year ago.
The 24.0 Percent (Children)
America's children are suffering from the nation's economic problems in many ways. Some 22 percent of children under 18 were in poverty in 2010, up from 20.7 percent in 2009. Child poverty has seen a marked increase since the start of the economic crisis in 2007. Nearly one-tenth of children also are not covered by health insurance. And state and local budget cuts mean that schools have been forced to cut back on staffing and spending.
The 7.6 Percent (People in Food Deserts)
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an estimated 23.5 million Americans live in food deserts—census tracts with substantial shares of residents in low-income areas, and with low access to supermarkets or large grocery stores. According to a 2010 report from PolicyLink, a research and advocacy organization that focuses on nonprofit organizations, and The Food Trust, which works to increase access to food, low-income census tracts have less access to supermarkets than wealthy tracts. The report also points out that there are 418 rural counties--20 percent of all rural counties--in which all residents live more than 10 miles from a supermarket or supercenter. Lack of access to healthy food may be associated with health problems like obesity and diabetes.
The 0.9 percent (American Indians and Alaska Natives)
In 2010, an estimated 28.4 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives were below the poverty line—a greater share than blacks, Hispanics, or white non-Hispanics. Median income for households headed by American Indians and Alaska natives in 2010 was $35,062, well below the national median household income of $49,445. Residents of some reservations around the country are particularly destitute, living in hunger and with high poverty rates.