Below are population-weighted, census tract-level histograms (taken from the 2014 ACS) showing the percentage of each tract living in poverty, the percentage on public assistance, and the percentage of those 25 or older without a high school degree. On average, Americans live in neighborhoods with only about 12% of households below the poverty line, 9% on cash public assistance, and 14% of those over 25 without a high school diploma. Not only are American household incomes very high, but on average their neighborhoods are affluent as well.
The medians suggest still more affluence: the median American lives in a neighborhood with 9 percent below the poverty line, 6 percent on public assistance, and 11 percent of adults without a high school degree.
Often, statistics like these are discussed in terms of white or middle class privilege, and it is true that urban areas and the make-up of public schools are both very different from the nation as a whole. That, in many ways, is the key political and social tension of early 21st century America: a very wealthy, predominantly white country with less wealthy and predominantly non-white youth.
But in the rush to spy out conflict, the basic fact should not be overlooked: America, imperfect today as it was yesterday, has given a great bounty of wealth to more of its citizenry than perhaps anywhere else has ever done.