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Inequality Highest For 20 Years, Says International Charity

By Countercurrents.org

01 November, 2012

Across the world, inequality and poverty are increasing as is increasing rich-poor gap. Now, none can ignore the fact.

“Global inequalities in wealth are at their highest level for 20 years and are growing, said a Save The Children report.

The report, Born Equal, how reducing inequality could give our children a better future, says continuing inequality could hinder further progress in improving living standards.

STC found that in most of the 32 developing countries it studied, the rich had increased their share of national income since the 1990s. In a fifth of the countries, the incomes of the poorest had fallen over the same period.

The report said:

“[A]cross the 32 countries […] studied, a child in the richest 10% of households has 35 times the effective available income of a child in the poorest 10% of households. The gaps between the poorest and richest children are considerably larger than the gaps between adults, suggesting that children experience a magnified inequality effect. And the gaps are increasing. Since the 1990s, across the 32 countries […] studied, the effective available incomes of the children in the poorest decile have actually declined as a share of GDP, while those of the children in the richest decile have increased. This means that the gap between the richest and poorest children has grown by 35% since the 1990s, the timeframe used to monitor progress towards the MDGs.”
The gap has become particularly pronounced among children and affects their well-being as well as causing disparities in several key indicators, the STC says.

The report notes that in Tanzania, child mortality in the richest fifth of the population fell from 135 to 90 per 1,000 births over the research period, while the poorest fifth saw hardly any progress with a modest fall of 140 to 137 per 1,000 births.

The report said: “[T]oday, despite the fact that inequalities between countries remain high, more than 70% of the world’s poorest people – up to a billion people – live in middle-income countries. This ‘new bottom billion’ of people in extreme poverty within countries that are growing wealthier has emerged within the last two decades as a crucial challenge for global development.”

The report said:

“[C]hild mortality rates are more than twice as high among the poorest, in countries with high income inequality such as Nigeria. Stunting rates can be up to six times higher in rural than in urban areas in countries with high spatial inequalities and with a big divide between rural and urban populations – for example, China. Gender inequality is still a strong driver of lower educational outcomes for girls. In Indonesia, there are twice as many illiterate women as men, and three times as many girls as boys are never enrolled in schools. In Nigeria, girls’ enrolment rate was 44%, while boys’ was 56%.”

It said: “One of the biggest blind spots in the MDG framework is the failure to address inequality comprehensively. Inequality is a complex issue. It manifests itself through different economic, social and political dimensions – you can experience inequalities in income, in healthcare coverage, in access to school or in political representation. And inequalities exist at many different levels. For example, there are income inequalities between people, and between countries.”




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