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Income inequality is surging, and there are few countries where it is rising faster than the United States. The distance between rich and poor is greater in America than nearly all other developed countries, making the US a leader in a trend that economists warn has dire consequences. GlobalPost sets out on a reporting journey to get at the ‘ground truth’ of inequality through the lenses of education, race, immigration, health care, government, labor and natural resources. The hope is to hold a mirror up to the US to see how it compares to countries around the world.

Crossing the Divide: The distance between rich and poor (VIDEO)

Photojournalist Ed Kashi documents income inequality in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and Bangkok, Thailand.

Many of us think of Bangkok’s slums and its glamorous shopping malls as embodying the rich-poor divide of the developing world. But few realize that some American metropolitan areas are beginning to mirror that level of inequality.

In fact, Fairfield County, Connecticut, which includes the posh town of Greenwich and the gritty industrial city of Bridgeport, has almost the same Gini Coefficient as Thailand. In this video, photographer Ed Kashi traveled on both sides of the tracks in Connecticut and in Bangkok. He worked with GlobalPost reporters Michael Moran, who came of age in Fairfield, and Patrick Winn, who has covered Bangkok for many years, to document the distance between the rich and the poor in both places. Although they are radically different, the parallels between Connecticut and Thailand may surprise you.