5 shocking facts about extreme global inequality and how to even it up

Pratima lost her twin babies through delays and poor treatment after she gave birth at her local government clinic. In India, the highest -quality medical care is only available to those who have the money to pay for it. Photo: Atul Loke, Panos/Oxfam

Pratima lost her twin babies through delays and poor treatment after she gave birth at her local government clinic. In India, the highest -quality medical care is only available to those who have the money to pay for it. Photo: Atul Loke, Panos/Oxfam

Extreme inequality is getting worse. Hundreds of millions of people are living in extreme poverty while huge rewards go to those at the very top. There are more billionaires than ever before, and their fortunes have grown to record levels. Meanwhile, the world’s poorest got even poorer.

Many governments are fueling this inequality crisis. They are under taxing corporations and wealthy individuals, yet underfunding vital public services like healthcare and education. These policies hit the poor hardest. The human costs are huge, with women and girls suffering the most.

Inequality is keeping people trapped in poverty, let’s step up the fight against it. 

Please join us to demand world leaders to tax the rich fairly and invest in vital public services that lift people out of poverty.

Extreme poverty vs extreme wealth: how big is the inequality gap?

The wealth of the world’s billionaires increased $900 billion in the last year, which is $2.5 billion a day

Last year 26 people owned the same as the 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity

1. Boomtime for the world’s billionaires. It is 10 years since the financial crisis that shook our world and caused enormous suffering. In that time, the fortunes of the richest have risen dramatically. The number of billionaires has almost doubled, with a new billionaire created every two days between 2017 and 2018. They have now more wealth than ever before while almost half of humanity have barely escaped extreme poverty, living on less than $5.50 a day.

Only 4 cents in every dollar of tax revenue comes from taxes on wealth.

In some countries the poorest 10% are paying a higher proportion of their incomes in tax than the richest 10%.

2. Wealth undertaxed. While the richest continue to enjoy booming fortunes, they are also enjoying some of the lowest levels of tax in decades – as are the corporations that they own. Instead taxes are falling disproportionately on working people. When governments undertax the rich, there's less money for vital services like healthcare and education, increasing inequality and poverty.

Today 262 million children will not be allowed to go to school.

In Kenya, a Poor girl has a one in 250 chances of continuing her studies beyond secondary school.

3. Underfunded public services. At the same time, public services are suffering from chronic underfunding or being outsourced to private companies that exclude the poorest people. In many countries a decent education or quality healthcare has become a luxury only the rich can afford. It has profound implications for the future of our children and the opportunities they will have to live a better and longer life.

Every day 10,000 people die because they lack access to affordable healthcare.

Life expectancy in the richest parts of Sao Paulo, Brazil, is 79 years. In the poorest areas of the city it is 54 years

4. Denied a longer life. In most countries having money is a passport to better health and a longer life, while being poor all too often means more sickness and an earlier grave. People from poor communities can expect to die ten or twenty years earlier than people in wealthy areas. In developing countries, a child from a poor family is twice as likely to die before the age of five than a child from a rich family.

MEN own 50% more of the world's wealth than women, and control over 86% of corporations.

the unpaid care work done by women is estimated  $10 trillion - 43 times the annual turnover of apple.

5. Inequality is sexist. We all suffer when public services are neglected, but women and girls pay the highest price. Girls are pulled out of school first when the money isn’t available to pay fees, and women clock up hours looking after sick relatives when healthcare systems fail. Most profoundly, our economic prosperity is dependent on the huge but unrecognized contribution made by women through unpaid care work.

Inequality is not inevitable

Children without teachers, clinics without medicines: the human cost of inequality is devastating. The growing gap between rich and poor is undermining the fight against poverty, damaging our economies and fueling public anger across the globe.

Yet inequality is not inevitable – it is a political choice. Concrete steps can be taken to reduce it. By taxing wealth more fairly, enough money could be raised globally to ensure that every child goes to school and no one is bankrupted by the cost of medical treatment for their families.

Join us to urge our political leaders to invest in vital public services and tax the rich fairly. It's time to fight inequality, and beat poverty for good.