Since the early 1990s, the Asia-Pacific region has experienced a tremendous socioeconomic transformation, facilitated by strong and sustained economic growth. Unfortunately, the gains from this remarkable performance have not always benefited those most in need. Growing disparities in income and wealth continue to persist.
The region’s population-weighted income inequality, measured by the Gini coefficient, has increased by over 5 percentage points in the past 20 years, from 32.7 in the early 1990s to 38 in the mid 2010s. Income inequalities grew in almost 40 per cent of all countries.
Steep increases in the incomes of the richest have often coincided with an increased concentration of wealth. For instance, the wealth share held by the top 1 per cent doubled in both China and the Russian Federation between 1995 and 2015, from 15 to 30 per cent and from 22 to 43 per cent respectively.
Income and wealth inequalities are strongly linked to other dimensions of development, with obvious impact on opportunities such as access to education, health care, finance, clean energy and water and sanitation.
Find out more on the Asia Pacific SDG Gateway.