News & Politics

Take the Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Inequality?

The results are both depressing and infuriating.

Question One. In 1990, twenty percent of all children in the US lived in poverty. What percent of the children in the US live in poverty today?
A: Ten percent
B: Fifteen percent
C: Twenty percent

Question Two. The median wealth of black households in the US is $11,000. What is the median wealth of white households?
A: $22,000
B: $62,000
C: $141,000

Question Three. In 1960 the median earnings of women who work full-time year-round were about 60 percent of men’s. In 2010, women’s median earnings were about 77 percent of men’s. At this rate, in what year will women’s median earnings equal men’s?
A: 2028
B: 2038
C: 2058

Question Four. The average Chief Executive Officer was paid 20 times as much as the average worker in 1965, 30 times as much in 1978, and 122 times as much in 1995. How much more were CEOs paid than workers in 2013?
A: 195 times as much.
B: 245 times as much.
C: 295 times as much.

Question Five. The six Walton heirs to the Walmart fortune are worth roughly $140 billion. The net financial worth of these six people equals the same as how many US families?
A: Five million.
B. Twenty Five million.
C. Fifty Two million.

Question Six. The US is number one in the world in military spending. How much more does the US spend than other countries?
A: More than China and Russia combined.
B. More than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and France combined.
C. More than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, United Kingdom, German, Japan and India combined.

Question Seven. How many people in the world suffer from chronic hunger?
A: Forty million.
B. Four hundred million.
C. Eight hundred forty million.

Question Eight. How many people in the world have no access to electricity?
A: Eight hundred forty million.
B: One billion.
C. One billion five hundred million.

Question Nine. How much does the US spend on foreign aid each year?
A: One billion dollars.
B: Ten billion dollars.
C. Forty six billion dollars.

Question Ten. How much do people in the US spend on their pets each year?
A: One billion dollars.
B. Forty billion dollars.
C. Sixty billion dollars.

Question Eleven. The federal government keeps statistics on young men, ages 15 to 19, killed by the police. How many times more likely is a young black man to be killed by police than a young white man?
A: Three times.
B: Ten times.
C: Twenty-one times.

Question Twelve. There are over 60,000 immigration court cases of unaccompanied children who arrived at the US border. In how many of those cases do the children have a lawyer?
A: Ninety-five percent.
B: Fifty percent.
C. Thirty two percent.

Question Thirteen. There are 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Where does the US rank in the percentage of children in poverty?
A: The US ranks 1st and has the least percentage of children in poverty.
B: The US ranks 6th and has the sixth least percentage of children in poverty.
C. The US ranks 28th and is sixth from the bottom in child poverty.

Question Fourteen. In the US, how many people stay in homeless shelters each night?
A: 250,000
B: 400,000
C: 570,000

Question Fifteen. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development issues a national survey every year listing fair market rents for every county in the US. HUD also suggests renters should pay no more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs. In how many of the USA’s 50 states can someone who works full-time and earns the federal minimum wage pay 30% of their income and find a two-bedroom apartment at the fair market rental amount?
A: Five
B. Two
C. Zero


One. Twenty percent of children in the US live below the official poverty line in the latest Census Report. In 1990, twenty percent of children lived below the poverty line as well.

Two. Median wealth for white households in the US is $141,000. Pew Research.

Three. Women’s median earnings will equal men’s in 2058.

Four. The average CEO of a S&P 500 company receives 295 times as much compensation as the average worker. Economic Policy Institute Report 2014.

Five. The six Walton heirs own the same amount of wealth as 52.5 million US families. EPI.

Six. The US spends more on defense than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and India combined. Peter G. Peterson Foundation.

Seven. The United Nations reports that 842 million people suffer from chronic hunger. UN Development Report 2014.

Eight. There are 1.5 billion people in the world who do not have access to electricity and another billion have access to unreliable electricity networks. United Nations Foundation.

Nine. The US budget for foreign assistance in 2015 is $46.2 billion, much of that is for foreign military assistance. This is about one percent of the US budget. State Department.

Ten. The US Department of Labor reports people in the US spent approximately $61.4 billion on their pets annually.

Eleven. Twenty one times. Pro Publica.

Twelve. Thirty two percent. Children in immigration cases, just like adults in immigration cases, are not entitled to an attorney. Syracuse University Report.

Thirteen. The US ranks 28th, 6th from the bottom of the 34 countries in the OECD in child poverty.

Fourteen. Over 570,000 people stay in homeless shelters each night according to a recent federal government survey.

Fifteen. In not one of the 50 states can a full-time minimum wage worker afford a two bedroom apartment at 30% of their pay. In fact, a full time minimum wage worker cannot afford even a one bedroom apartment except in a few counties in Washington and Oregon where the minimum wage is higher. USA Today.

Bill Quigley is a human rights lawyer, a professor at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, and a member of the legal collective of School of Americas Watch. He can be reached at [email protected]