Over at Backtalk, there are charts and discussion of Western economies. The key item, to my mind, is that the poorest 10% in America have the same after-tax spendable income as those in the wealthiest European countries. I had not visited the site before today. The host identifies himself as a liberal Democrat college professor from California. Not who I would ordinarily expect to be touting the American system. But there we are - people don't fit my prejudices.
Considering how many immigrants, legal and illegal, that we are absorbing, that seems pretty darn good. Additionally, the bottom quintile (20%) in the US, ten years later, have about equal chances of being in any of the five quintiles in income. Because of the (justified) attention paid to children in single-head-of-household families, we tend to think that this group makes up most of the poverty group. Not so. Sprinkled in among the bottom quintile are graduate students, newlyweds, and new immigrants. The chronically mentally ill, whose prospects do not change much from decade to decade, make up about one-fifth of those below the poverty line.