Income inequality is a growing issue in the United States, garnering increasing political attention as the middle class continues to shrink and the gap between the rich and the poor grows. Still, income inequality is not a uniquely American issue. In countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas, income inequality is almost as bad — or often worse — as it is in the United States.
In cities around the world, where ostentatious wealth exists alongside abject poverty, the stark gap between rich and poor is easy to spot. However, it is more difficult to assess the extent of income inequality on a national scale.
Income inequality across a population is quantified using a measure known as the Gini coefficient. On the Gini scale, inequality is measured from 0 to 1 — where 0 represents a perfectly equal society, and 1 represents extreme inequality where a single individual controls all the wealth.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed the Gini coefficient of 42 countries from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to identify the countries with the widest gaps between the rich and the poor. Both OECD member states and affiliated states were considered.