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While it’s well documented that income inequality and wealth gaps have been widening in the United States, there is another sort of economic inequality that is just as worrisome but harder to see. It has less to do with the total amount of money that people have, and more to do with how that money moves through their lives: Increasingly, financial stability is only enjoyed by a few.
This type of inequality lurks underneath the reams of official economic data that’s regularly collected and widely reported. It’s about whether workers can reliably predict the size of their next paycheck, how much of a financial cushion they can build, and whether or not they can do something as simple as set up automated bill payments without worrying about over drafting or making ends meet.
Conversations about inequality often miss something essential, something that the families we met felt strongly: The financial problem they were most immediately focused on wasn’t about relative earnings or wealth. It was about their ability to create stable lives in our uncertain world...