Human Wrongs Watch

By OXFAM* –– The widening gap between the richest and poorest is damaging economies and pushing more people into poverty. Too many still toil in extreme poverty. On the other extreme, wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, who can use it to capture disproportionate power to shape the future. Here are some facts and figures on inequality. Want something more visual? Check out OXFAM‘s Poverty & Inequality Pinterest board.


The Paraisópolis favela borders condominiums, with swimming pools, parks, tennis courts, of the affluent district of Morumbi in São Paulo, Brazil. Photo: Tuca VieiraThe Paraisópolis favela borders the affluent district of Morumbi in São Paulo, Brazil. Photo: Tuca Vieira | Source: OXFAM International

General killer facts

  • Oxfam has calculated that in 2014 the richest 85 people on the planet owned as much as the poorest half of humanity.
  • In Uganda, under-five mortality among the top 20 percent has halved, but for the bottom 20 percent it has only fallen by a fifth over the same period.


  • In the UK, men born in the richest part of the country can expect to live 9 years longer than men from the most deprived areas.
  • The richest seven percent of the world’s population (half a billion people) are responsible for 50 percent of global CO2 emissions; whereas the poorest 50 percent emit only seven percent of worldwide emissions.
  • At the current rate of decline in the gender pay gap, it will take 75 years to make the principle of equal pay for equal work a reality.
  • In 2013 Oxfam estimated that the world loses approximately $156bn in tax revenue due to wealthy individuals’ assets in offshore tax havens.

Gender and other inequalities

  • Only 23 chief executives of Fortune 500 companies and only three of the 30 richest people in the world are women.
  • Some 600 million women, 53 percent of the world’s working women, work in jobs that are insecure and typically not protected by labour laws.
  • As of January 2014, only nine women were serving as a head of state and only 15 as the head of a government; only 17 percent of government ministers worldwide were women, with the majority of those overseeing social sectors, such as education and the family (rather than finance or economics);  and women held only 22 percent of parliamentary seats globally.

Social mobility

  • In the USA, nearly half of all children born to low-income parents will become low-income adults.
  • In Denmark, a country with a low Gini coefficient, only 15 percent of a young adult’s income is determined by their parent’s income. In Peru, which has one of the highest Gini coefficients in the world, this rises to two-thirds .

Inequality and violence

  • Compared to more equal countries, those with extreme economic inequality experience nearly four times the number of homicides.

Public services

  • In five Latin American countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico and Uruguay), virtual income from healthcare and education alone has reduced inequality by between 10 and 20 percent.

Inequality and tax

  • In 2012, Sierra Leone’s tax incentives for just six firms were equivalent to 59 percent of the country’s entire budget, and more than eight times its spending on health and seven times its spending on education.
  • Great Britain’s top 100 companies own about 30,000 subsidiary corporations and 10,000 of these are located in tax havens.
  • The Virgin Islands has 830,000 registered companies, despite a total population of just 27,000.

 *Source: Report by OXFAM. Go to Original. Learn more about OXFAM. 

2014 Human Wrongs Watch