In the chart below, we've presented the Gini ratios (or coefficients) for U.S. households, families and individuals that have been calculated using the U.S. Census Bureau's collected data on the incomes earned by Americans for each year from 1947 through the most recent data available.
The Gini coefficient is the most commonly used measure of the amount of income inequality in a society.
In the chart above, we see that the amount of income inequality among individual Americans increased in the years from 1947 to 1960. This corresponds to the period of time following the end of World War 2's wage and price controls on 9 November 1946, which had prevented Americans from being able to earn incomes that matched the value of their true level of productivity. The U.S. federal government had imposed the controls early in the war in attempting to minimize its cost, however the major consequence of imposing such equality-enforcing measures was to create major shortages that deprived the majority of Americans of access to adequate supplies of many basic goods and necessities throughout the war years at the same time that it prevented the most productive Americans from reaching their full income-earning potential.
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