Countries With The Widest Gap Between Rich And Poor

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10. New Zealand
> Gini coefficient: 0.330
> Change in income inequality: +21.8%
> Employment rate: 72.3% (6th highest)
> Change in income of the rich: +2.5% per year
> Change in income of the poor: +1.1% per year

New Zealand performs well by a number of economic indicators, including employment, where it ranks sixth highest out of the 27 OECD countries in the study. Income in New Zealand has increased across the board since the 1980s, but the percentage annual increase among the top decile was more than twice as great as among the bottom decile. Among OECD nations, capital income in New Zealand as a percentage of total household income grew the most for the richest group and decreased substantially for the poorest group.

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9. Australia
> Gini coefficient: 0.336
> Change in income inequality: +8.7%
> Employment rate: 72.4% (5th highest)
> Change in income of the rich: +4.5% per year
> Change in income of the poor: +3% per year

The difference in the annual increase in income between the richest and the poorest in Australia from the mid-1980s to 2008 is one of the largest among all countries in the study. The average annual change in income for the bottom decile was 3%, compared with the top decile’s 4.5%. This caused the Gini coefficient to increase 8.7% over those years. Australia has one of the highest minimum wages, as a percentage of average wages, of all the G-20 countries. The country also has a fairly high employment rate.

8. Italy
> Gini coefficient: 0.337
> Change in income inequality: +9.0%
> Employment rate: 56.9% (3rd lowest)
> Change in income of the rich: +1.1% per year
> Change in income of the poor: +0.2% per year

In Italy, income inequality increased 9% between 1985 and 2008. According to the OECD, earnings for the wealthiest 10% increased an average of 1.1% each year, while earnings for the poorest 10% grew just 0.2% annually. Italy has the third-lowest employment rate among the 27 nations in the study, with just 56.9% of working-age adults holding jobs in 2008. Since 1985, unemployment benefits declined by more than 50% to one of the lowest recipient rates in the OECD.

7. United Kingdom
> Gini coefficient: 0.345
> Change in income inequality: +7.9%
> Employment rate: 70.3% (10th highest)
> Change in income of the rich: +2.5% per year
> Change in income of the poor: +0.9% per year

The UK had one of the biggest increases in the income gap between the wealthy and the poor over the past two and a half decades. On average, the income of the bottom 10% increased 0.9%, while income for the top 10% grew 2.5% per year. After Israel and Australia, the UK had the third-largest difference between the top decile’s annual income increase and the bottom decile’s increase. The income ratio of the wealthiest citizens to the poorest citizens is 10 to one.

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6. Portugal
> Gini coefficient: 0.353
> Change in income inequality: n/a
> Employment rate: 65.6% (14th highest)
> Change in income of the rich: +1.1% per year
> Change in income of the poor: +3.6% per year

Despite its high Gini coefficient, Portugal’s income inequality has been improving. From the mid-1980s to the late 2000s, the incomes of the country’s poorest increased an average 3.6% each year. The incomes of the richest grew only 1.1% annually. The country has increased its efforts to redistribute income since the mid-1980s, such as through benefits for the unemployed.