There was a thread a while back where I claimed that inequality is more important than poverty when it comes to crime and other social problems. I don't think anybody agreed with me. Anyway, I found an interesting link with information about it: http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Guardian/documents/2009/03/13/inequality.pdf It shows that the US has the highest income inequality in the free world and has the most prisoners, obese people, depressed people and teen pregnancies per population. There is a strong correlation shown across all countries included between income inequality and the above quantities. The study also claims that the wealth of the country has little bearing on these.