The changing landscape of income inequality in America
Stories don’t exist in a vacuum. They are told in a political and social context that affects how audiences understand them. How do we break down a complex issue into understandable pieces where we can observe the mechanisms of change over time?
HI’s study placed the messages of the documentary, Inequality for All, and its social action campaign within the context of public perceptions of economic inequality. We looked at four key areas: public opinion, social media conversation, press coverage, and Congressional discussion. In the first part of the study, we selected relevant metrics that described the general state of the issue in each area and set baselines for comparison. In the second part of the study, we revisited these metrics and identified changes.
Our analysis revealed growth in the volume of conversation about income inequality across the board. We also saw a diversification of the audiences engaging in online discussions and a widening range of causes and effects being associated with income inequality. Our analysis also highlighted an increasing sense of urgency around government intervention in the issue. Future studies will test whether this framework can identify changes in other types of social issues and what supplemental metrics can be added to grow our understanding of social movements.