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25 Most Unequal Countries with the Worst Income Equality (Gini Coefficient) in the World

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The wealth gap is noticeable everywhere, and in this article, Insider Monkey brings you the list of 25 most unequal countries with the worst income equality in the world.

If you look at the distribution of wealth worldwide, it is evident that it is not exactly the paradigm of equality and equity. Anyone who is following stories the media generates is aware that there are huge disparities in economic opportunities. When the expression “world hunger” is used, a majority of us first think of African children. On the other hand, the word “luxury” draws the images of Los Angeles, Abu Dhabi, and London in our minds. However, unequal income distribution is not only inherent to the world as a whole, but also to each and every country. Perhaps the best example of wealth gap lies in that viral image of Brazilian city which shows slums, also known as favelas, on one side of the wall and luxury apartments on the other. One community lives in proximity to other, with just a thin wall between them, yet they could not be farther apart. They lead completely different lives and either side cannot walk in the shoes of the other.

Most Unequal Countries with the Worst Income Equality (Gini Coefficient) in the World

Pushish Images/

Not that long ago I have written an article on countries with the highest poverty rates in the world in 2017. In the article, I threw some shade at capitalism for generating inequalities, as I always do, and by referring to the official data on poverty rates worldwide, I offer the list of the poorest countries in the world in 2017. As it was expected, most of the countries on the list were those located in Africa. South Sudan came at the top, followed by Haiti and Ethiopia. Due to high poverty rates, these countries struggle to satisfy the basic needs of their nationals, unlike those which found their place on our list of countries with the lowest poverty rates in the world in 2017. The Republic of Korea came 1st on this list. Iceland followed on 2nd place and Germany on 3rd. The worldwide wealth gap is well illustrated in these two articles. This time, however, I look at the matter on a smaller scale by focusing on the most unequal countries with the worst income equality.

The most famous measure of income inequality is Gini coefficient or Gini ratio. It is a statistical measure of wealth distribution among nation’s residents. The higher the value of Gini index, the higher income inequality. The data on Gini coefficient by country in 2014, provided by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) show that Costa Rica had the highest income inequality. In 2015 however, South Africa came first as the most unequal country. Gini coefficient ranking of 2016 suggests that Bolivia and China were some of the most unequal countries in the world in 2016. There are no data on Gini coefficient ranking of 2017. I guess all of us will have to be patient until experts do their job, so we can find out which is the country that had the highest Gini coefficient in 2017.

It is interesting to look into the example of the United States with regards to income inequality. The US Gini coefficient over time has shown a tendency to increase. Data shows that the Gini coefficient of the USA has been steadily rising since the 1960s. The value of Gini coefficient at the beginning of 1960 was 0.37, while in 2015 it was 0.45. The OECD shows that the USA has one of the greatest wealth distribution inequalities in the developed world.

To create the list of 25 most unequal countries with the worst income equality in the world, I have used data provided by a number of relevant sources. I have referred to the data on Gini coefficient values worldwide contained in the report provided by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). I have also looked into the Gini coefficient country data on the official website of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Furthermore, I have used the data provided by the OECD and Statista, which gathers statistical data from more than 18.000 sources. Based on the Gini coefficient values for each country, I was able to rank 25 most unequal countries.

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