1: The ranking of my selective magnet high school among other high schools.
8: The number of Rhodes Scholars that attended my high school.
9: The percent of students attending my school who are nonwhite or not Asian.
100: The college attendance rate of our graduating class.
2010: The year my town’s public high school was named a “persistently lowest achieving school.”
70: The percent of nonwhite or non-Asian students at the public high school.
42: The percentage of students attending the public high school who receive free lunch.
Inequality is often couched in numerical terms – the 1% versus the 99%. To scientifically measure inequality, however, more mathematical descriptions are needed. Inequality is quantified as the Gini coefficient, a number between 0 and 1, zero being equal amounts of wealth for every citizen and one being that the entire country’s wealth is concentrated in one person.The Gini coefficient is lowest in northern European countries, around 0.24; it is highest in South American countries, with coefficients of 0.7. In my hometown, it is estimated to be about 0.43.
My hometown is as unequal as China. China is a country that has been described as a “hotbed of unbridled capitalism.” My grandparents fled China for a nation with economic opportunity. To anyone who denies that America has near-crippling levels of economic disparity – watch the numbers in your hometown. They don’t lie.