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World Inequality Report 2022: India’s top 10% hold 57% of National Income

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World Inequality Report 2022

As per the ‘World Inequality Report 2022’ released by Paris-based World Inequality Lab, India stands out as a ‘poor and very unequal country, with an affluent elite’. In 2021 the top 10 percent and top 1 percent of the Indian population hold 57 percent and 22 percent of total national income respectively, whereas the share of the bottom 50 percent has gone down to 13 percent.

Analysis on Inequalities in India:

a.Income inequality:

i.The average national income of the Indian adult population is  Rs 204,200. The bottom 50 percent of the population in India earns Rs 53,610, the top 10 percent earns more than 20 times at Rs 11,66,520.

iii.Indian income inequality was very high during 1858-1947, with a top 10 percent income share around 50 percent. After independence, the five-year plans contributed to reducing that share to 35-40 percent.

b.Wealth inequality:

i.Average household wealth in India is equal to Rs 983,010. The bottom 50 percent own 6 percent of the total (Rs 66,280). The middle class holds 29.5 percent of the total with an average wealth of only Rs 723,930. The top 10 percent and 1 percent own 65 and 33 percent of the total (i.e. of Rs 6,354,070 and Rs 32,449,360).

ii.The private wealth in India is increased from 290% in 1980 to 560% in 2020.

c.Gender inequality: Gender inequalities in India are very high. The female labour income share is equal to 18 percent, which is lower than the average in Asia (21%, excluding China).

d.Carbon inequality: India is a low carbon emitter. The average per capita consumption of greenhouse gas is equal to just over 2 tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent). The bottom 50%, middle 40% and top 10% respectively consume 1, 2, and 9 tCO2e/capita.

Note – In South and Southeast Asia, India’s top 10/bottom 50 income gap is 22.

Other Key Analysis:

i.As per the report the global income has reduced in 2020, it is attributed primarily due to the impact of South and Southeast Asia, and more precisely, India.

ii.Wealth: Poorest half of the world population owns around 2 percent of the wealth, whereas the richest 10 percent owns 76 percent of all wealth.

iii.Income: The richest 10 percent of the global population currently takes 52 percent of global income, whereas the poorest half of the population earns 8 percent of it.

  • On average, the poorest half of the global population owns $4,100 per adult and the top 10 percent own $771,300 on average.

iv.The global billionaire wealth increased to 50 percent between 2019 and 2021.

v.The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are the most unequal regions in the world, whereas Europe has the lowest inequality levels. In Europe, the top 10 percent income share is around 36 percent, whereas in MENA it is 58 percent.

Note – When India is removed from the global analysis, it appears that the global bottom 50% income share actually slightly increased in 2020.

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