Chart of the Week: What do mean and median statistics tell us about income distribution in a country? (Updated)

Feb 28, 2020
Chart of the Week

This blog post looks at income distribution in a country through the lens of means and medians. Math teachers will love this as students will need to think critically about what these statistics can tell them about level of income disparities within a country.

Here's a portion of the chart:

As you might gather from looking at this chart, those countries that have the largest difference between the mean (average) and the median have the highest degree of income disparities. 


  • Which countries have the widest gap between median and average incomes? 
  • Which countries have the narrowest gap between median and average incomes? 
  • What do you think are some of the factors in an economy that explain these difference? 




About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.