The Great Divide

In Los Angeles and Beijing alike, millions of workers who have left their homes and often their families in search of prosperity find themselves at the very bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. L.A. ranks among the most unequal American cities by income with a Gini coefficient of .485, while China’s score is .480. In both places, the odds of making a better life are slim and look to be growing slimmer. One-third of China’s workforce is made of migrants, many of whom have effectively become second-class citizens in their own country. In a similar fashion Los Angeles, once a promising destination for foreign job-seekers and war refugees, is rolling up its ladder of opportunity, making social mobility an increasingly untenable dream.

Sim Chi Yin, 2013 January