post by Bill Gardner
Felix Salmon was shown some income statistics suggesting that the average New Yorker has a lot better income than the average Ontarian: about $25,000 a year better. The average Ohioan earned more too, as did the average North Carolinian.
He was skeptical, and I am too. One reason why is that he feels, as I do, that the median income is a better way to get a sense of how things are for the typical New Yorker, or Ontarian. His chart (above) suggests that a typical Ontarian actually has a good or better life than a New Yorker. The comparison of the average income is distorted, in my view, by the extraordinary incomes of small numbers of bankers, hedge fund managers, private equity managers, and the like who live in New York.
I have just my impressions to go on, but I also think that Canada looks better than the US if you look at the lowest social tiers. Nova Scotia is considerably poorer than Ontario; it would probably make better sense to compare it to West Virginia or Kentucky than New York. There is real poverty here. But I have seen US Appalachian poverty, and it's a lot worse than anything I have seen to date in NS.