BUSINESS

Ben Bernanke: Income Inequality Is 'Creating Two Societies'

12/06/2010 12:29 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke believes the growing income gap is "creating two societies" in America.

The central bank chief weighed in on income inequality during an interview Sunday with 60 Minutes' Scott Pelley:

Pelley:The gap between rich and poor in this country has never been greater. In fact we have the biggest income disparity gap of any industrialized country in the world. And I wonder where you think that's taking America.

Bernanke: It's a very bad development. It's creating two societies. And it's based very much, I think, on educational differences. The unemployment rate we've been talking about. If you're a college graduate, unemployment is 5 percent. If you're a high school graduate, it's 10 percent or more. It's a very big difference. It leads to an unequal society, and a society which doesn't have the cohesion that we'd like to see."

The topics of income inequality and public education have followed Bernanke in a personal way since he began his tenure as the leader of the nation's central bank.

In 2009, Bernanke's boyhood home was sold at foreclosure and the school he attended for junior high became so dilapidated and worn down, that a student decided to write to Congress and ask for help.

Bernanke's hometown of Dillon, South Carolina, has been hit hard by the recession. According to the latest figures, the Dillon County's unemployment rate is 14.8 percent.

WATCH: Bernanke's interview with "60 Minutes"

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