Inequality in America
Causes and Consequences
by Robert S. Rycroft and Kimberley L. Kinsley, Editors
June 2021, 359pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6514-5
$107, £83, 94€, A147
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6515-2
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

In 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that income inequality in the United States had hit its highest level since the agency began tracking it more than a half-century ago.

This authoritative reference work explores the factors driving the much-debated increase in economic inequality in U.S. society, as well as the impact that this divide is having on U.S. culture, politics, families, communities, and institutions.

This reference work provides an authoritative and comprehensive resource for both students and scholars who are interested in learning more about the rich-poor divide in the United States—a divide regarded by many lawmakers, researchers, pundits, and concerned citizens as one of the nation’s most serious problems. The book provides important historical background for understanding how the nation has grappled with (or ignored) this issue in the past, examines specific causes of inequality identified by observers across the political spectrum, and summarizes the potential consequences (both present and future) of economic inequality.

This book examines more than 25 issues frequently cited as factors contributing to the rapidly widening gap between socioeconomic classes in the U.S., ranging from such demographic factors as race and gender to tax code provisions and differences in access to quality education and health care. The book also provides both a retrospective and prospective look at government policies aimed at addressing inequality or assisting the poor. Finally, the book looks ahead to survey the future of inequality in America.


  • Coverage of more than 25 distinct factors contributing to the widening rich-poor divide in the U.S.
  • Evenhanded presentation of both progressive and conservative perspectives on key economic issues
  • Authoritative but accessible entries that provide illumination and insights for academics and students alike
Robert S. Rycroft, PhD, is professor of economics at the University of Mary Washington. He is author of The Economics of Inequality, Discrimination, Poverty, and Mobility and editor of The American Middle Class: An Economic Encyclopedia of Progress and Poverty and The Economics of Inequality, Poverty, and Discrimination in the 21st Century. He is a member of the American Economic Association and Phi Beta Kappa.

Kimberley L. Kinsley, JD, MA, is senior lecturer of business law in the College of Business at the University of Mary Washington. She is author of articles and chapters published on such legal topics as employment discrimination, privacy and data, 3D technology, and consumer safety. She is a member of the California and Colorado Bar Associations.


LJ Best Reference of 2021—Library Journal, March 1, 2022

2022 IPPY Award Bronze / Current Events II (Social Issues/Humanitarian) Category—Independent Publisher, May 4, 2022


"This compendium is recommended for high-school and undergraduate libraries or for any library collection serving readers who follow economic and political discourse."—Booklist, December 1, 2021

"A well-written and cogently organized work that expertly reflects the current financial and social inequalities in American life and possible ramifications if they go unaddressed."—Library Journal, November 1, 2021
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