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Gini Coefficient - World Bank

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Gini Coefficient by Country 2024

The Gini coefficient, also called the Gini index or Gini ratio, is the most commonly used measure of income distribution—simply put, the higher the Gini coefficient, the greater the gap between the incomes of a country's richest and poorest people. A country's Gini coefficient is important because it helps identify high levels of income inequality, which can have several undesirable political and economic impacts. These include slower GDP growth, reduced income mobility, greater household debt, political polarization, and higher poverty rates.

Explaining the Gini coefficient

Developed by Italian statistician Corrado Gini in 1912, the Gini coefficient ranges from 0 to 1, but is often written as a percentage. To offer two hypothetical examples, if a nation were to have absolute income equality, with every person earning the same amount, its Gini score would be 0 (0%). On the other hand, if one person earned all the income in a nation and the rest earned zero, the Gini coefficient would be 1 (100%). Mathematically, the Gini coefficient is defined based on the Lorenz curve. The Lorenz curve plots the percentiles of the population on the graph's horizontal axis according to income or wealth, whichever is being measured. The cumulative income or wealth of the population is plotted on the vertical axis.

Limitations of the Gini coefficient

While the Gini coefficient is a useful tool for analyzing the wealth or income distribution in a country, it does not indicate that country's overall wealth or income. Some of the world's poorest countries, such as the Central African Republic, have some of the highest Gini coefficients (61.3 in this case). A high-income country and a low-income country can have the same Gini coefficients. Additionally, due to limitations such as reliable GDP and income data, the Gini index may overstate income inequality and be inaccurate.

Countries with the highest and lowest Gini coefficients

South Africa ranks as the country with the lowest level of income equality in the world, thanks to a Gini coefficient of 63.0 when last measured in 2014. That said, in 2005, the Gini coefficient was even higher, at 65.0. In South Africa, the richest 10% hold 71% of the wealth, while the poorest 60% hold just 7% of the wealth. Additionally, more than half of South Africa's population lives in poverty.

Top 10 Countries with the Highest Gini Coefficients (%) - World Bank:

Country
Gini Coefficient - World Bank
South Africa63.0
Namibia59.1
Suriname57.9
Zambia55.9
Eswatini54.6
Botswana53.3
Belize53.3
Brazil52.9
Colombia51.5
Angola51.3

Top 10 Countries with the Lowest Gini Coefficients (%) - World Bank:

Country
Gini Coefficient - World Bank
Norway22.7
Slovakia23.2
Slovenia24.0
Belarus24.4
Ukraine25.6
Moldova25.7
Netherlands26.0
Belgium26.0
Iceland26.1
Czech Republic26.2

Nordic and Central Eastern European countries dominate this list, claiming seven of the top 10 slots. Inequality is generally lower in Europe than elsewhere in the world, and the Gini coefficient offers quantifiable proof of that fact. The United States has a Gini coefficient of 41.1. In 2015, the top 1% of earners in the United States averaged 40 times more income than the bottom 90%. In the U.S., poverty is a growing issue, where an estimated 12.3-17.8 percent below the poverty level (see Poverty Rate by Country). Many of these low-wage workers live paycheck-to-paycheck and have no sick days, pension, or health insurance.

The Gini coefficient saw sustained growth during the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1820, the global Gini coefficient was 0.50, and in 1980 and 1992, the figure was 0.657. According to World Bank's Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2020 report, the Gini coefficient increases about 1.5 points in the five years following major epidemics, such as H1N1 (2009), Ebola (2014), and Zika (2016). While the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still being calculated, early estimates predicted an increase in Gini coefficient of 1.2-1.9 percentage points per year for 2020 and 2021, signaling an increase in income inequality.

• The Gini coefficient is essentially a measure of income inequality, with higher values indicating greater disparity between a country's richest and poorest inhabitants. As such, lower values are preferable.

Country
Gini Coefficient - World Bank
Data Year (World Bank)
Gini Coefficient - CIA World Factbook
Data Year (CIA)
South Africa63.0201463.02014
Namibia59.1201559.12015
Suriname57.91999
Zambia55.9201557.12015
Eswatini54.6201654.62016
Botswana53.3201553.32015
Belize53.31999
Brazil52.9202148.92020
Colombia51.5202154.22020
Angola51.3201851.32018
Saint Lucia51.2201651.22016
Panama50.9202149.82019
Mozambique50.5201954.02014
Zimbabwe50.3201950.32020
Guatemala48.3201448.32014
Guinea48.3201829.62018
Honduras48.2201948.22019
Costa Rica47.2202249.32020
Cameroon46.6201446.62014
Nicaragua46.2201446.22014
Jamaica45.5200435.02016
Mexico45.4202045.42020
Comoros45.3201445.32014
Paraguay45.1202243.52020
Guyana45.1199844.62007
Chile44.9202044.92020
Lesotho44.9201744.92017
Venezuela44.8200639.02011
South Sudan44.1201644.12016
Rwanda43.7201643.72016
Ghana43.5201643.52016
Burkina Faso43.0201847.32018
Central African Republic43.0202156.22008
Uganda42.7201942.72019
Togo42.5201842.42018
Cape Verde42.4201542.42015
DR Congo42.1201242.12012
Argentina42.0202142.32020
Turkey41.9201941.92019
Papua New Guinea41.9200941.92009
Djibouti41.6201741.62017
Malaysia41.2201841.12015
Haiti41.1201241.12012
Iran40.9201940.92019
Bolivia40.9202143.62020
Turkmenistan40.8199840.81998
Uruguay40.8202140.22020
Philippines40.7202142.32018
Sao Tome and Principe40.7201740.72017
Tanzania40.5201840.52017
Bulgaria40.5202040.32019
Peru40.2202143.82020
Micronesia40.1201340.12013
United States39.8202141.52019
Morocco39.5201339.52013
Tuvalu39.1201039.12010
Laos38.8201838.82018
Gambia38.8202035.92015
Kenya38.7202140.82015
Samoa38.7201338.72013
Burundi38.6201338.62013
Israel38.6201838.62018
Malawi38.5201938.52019
Dominican Republic38.5202139.62020
Senegal38.3201838.12018
Gabon38.0201738.02017
Indonesia37.9202237.92021
Benin37.9201837.82018
Sri Lanka37.7201939.32016
Syria37.52003
Niger37.3201837.32018
Ivory Coast37.2201837.22018
China37.1202038.22019
Solomon Islands37.1201237.12013
Vietnam36.8202035.72018
Mauritius36.8201736.82017
Montenegro36.8201836.82018
Yemen36.7201436.72014
Russia36.0202036.02020
Mali36.0201836.12018
Lithuania36.0202035.32019
Sierra Leone35.7201835.72018
Latvia35.7202034.52019
Marshall Islands35.5201935.52019
Uzbekistan35.3200336.82003
Liberia35.3201635.32016
Italy35.2202035.22018
Nigeria35.1201835.12018
Thailand35.1202135.02020
Ethiopia35.0201535.02015
Serbia35.0202034.52019
Spain34.9202034.32019
Guinea Bissau34.8201834.82018
Portugal34.7202032.82019
Romania34.6202034.82019
Australia34.3201834.32018
India34.2202135.72019
Sudan34.2201434.22014
Georgia34.2202134.52020
Tajikistan34.0201534.02015
Jordan33.7201033.72010
Palestine33.7201633.72016
Greece33.6202033.12019
North Macedonia33.5201933.02018
Tonga33.5201537.62015
Switzerland33.1201833.12018
Bosnia and Herzegovina33.0201133.02011
Japan32.9201332.92013
Nepal32.8201032.82010
Tunisia32.8201532.82015
Mongolia32.7201832.72018
United Kingdom32.6202035.12017
Mauritania32.6201432.62014
Nauru32.4201234.82012
Vanuatu32.3201932.32019
Seychelles32.1201832.12018
Egypt31.9201931.52017
Lebanon31.8201131.82011
Germany31.7201931.72018
Cyprus31.7202031.22019
South Korea31.4201631.42016
Malta31.4202031.02019
France30.7202032.42018
Myanmar30.7201730.72017
Estonia30.7202030.82019
Fiji30.7201930.72019
Austria29.8202030.22019
Hungary29.7202030.02019
Pakistan29.6201829.62018
Iraq29.5201229.52012
Croatia29.5202028.92019
Albania29.4202030.82019
Maldives29.3201929.32019
Ireland29.2202030.62018
Kyrgyzstan29.0202029.02020
Sweden28.9202029.32019
Poland28.8201930.22018
Timor Leste28.7201428.72014
Bhutan28.5202237.42017
Armenia27.9202125.22020
Kazakhstan27.8201827.82018
Kiribati27.8201927.82019
Algeria27.6201127.62011
Denmark27.5202027.72019
Finland27.1202027.72019
Czech Republic26.2202025.32019
Iceland26.1201726.12017
Netherlands26.0202029.22019
Belgium26.0202027.22019
Moldova25.7202126.02019
Ukraine25.6202025.62020
Belarus24.42020
Slovenia24.0202023.22019
Slovakia23.22019
Norway22.7201927.72019
Afghanistan29.42008
Saudi Arabia45.92017
Taiwan33.62014
Somalia36.82017
Cambodia37.92008
Hong Kong53.92016
Republic of the Congo48.92011
Singapore45.92017
New Zealand36.21997
Qatar41.12007
Macau35.02013
Jersey0.32014
Greenland33.92015
Faroe Islands22.72013
Falkland Islands36.02015
showing: 177 rows

Which country has the highest Gini coefficient in the world?

A high Gini coefficient reflects a large gap between a country's richest and poorest citizens. South Africa has the world's highest Gini coefficient, 63.0.

Which country has the lowest Gini coefficient in the world?

Low Gini coefficients indicate a smaller space between wealth extremes in a country. Norway has a Gini ratio of 22.7 as of 2018, making it the world's lowest.