The elephant curve shows the growth of average income (on the ordinate) as a function of the global distribution of income (on the abscissa) between 1988 and 2008 in 120 countries. It appears that, while the income of the poorest 5% has increased, the disadvantage of these people has not decreased because their income has increased less rapidly than the average overall income. A second group of losers, very different, is emerging: those whose incomes are between the 80th and 95th percentile - incomes that are therefore rather high on a global scale but not necessarily on a rich country scale - who have also grown less quickly than overall income; they have become relatively poorer. This is the decline of the middle class in developed countries.
A rather favourable situation for France
On the French side, the relative situation is rather favourable according to some indicators. The Gini index (it varies between 0 and 1, the closer it is to zero, the more egalitarian the country) places France (0.29) below the OECD average (0.3), far behind the United States, the United Kingdom, China or South Africa, the most unequal country on earth.