China Ahead of Russia and America in Terms of Wealth Gap: World Inequality Lab


The latest report from the Paris-based World Inequality Lab indicates that China remains ahead of most other major economic regions when it comes to the extent of its wealth gap.

The World Inequality Report seeks to measure income inequality by looking at the share of GDP enjoyed by the top 10% of earners within a given economic region.

The latest iteration of the report has concluded that Europe is the region with the smallest wealth gap, with the top tenth of its earners garnering around 37% of GDP.

China came in second place, with the top 10% of its earners accounting for 41% of national income, putting it ahead of its emerging economy BRIC peers as well as North America.

Russia came in third place (46%), followed by the US and Canada (47%).

Sub-Saharan Africa was fifth (54%), followed by Brazil and India (both 55%), while the Middle East had the worst wealth gap, with the top 10% of its earners accounting for 61% of GDP.

The World Inequality Report is compiled by the World Inequality Lab at the Paris School of Economics, and overseen by Thomas Piketty, best-selling author of “Capital in the Twenty-first Century.”

The report’s findings are based on evidence collated in the World Wealth and Income Database, provided by over 100 researchers in more than 70 countries.

According to World Inequality Lab’s research income inequality has expanded rapidly in Asia and North America since 1980, yet risen at a more moderate pace in Europe.

In Africa, Brazil and the Middle East the wealth gap has long-since plateaued at a high level.

Since 1980 the income growth enjoyed by the world’s wealthiest 0.1% has been equal to the entire bottom half of the global population, while the intermediate income cohort has seen only modest revenue gains.

While China still remains ahead of North America in terms of wealth inequality, Thomas Piketty has pointed out in previous research that it’s on track to rapidly catch up.

A research paper published by Piketty earlier this year indicates that China’s breakneck growth over the past three decades has also led to skyrocketing levels of inequality, while a great deal of national wealth remains concentrated in government hands.

The paper concluded that the top 10% income share in China increased from 27% to 41% during the period from 1978 and 2015, while during the same period the share of national income enjoyed by the bottom 50% almost halved from 27% to 15%.