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Four facts about inequality

24 January 2020

Inequality has gone off the rails: now the richest one per cent own more than twice as much as 6.9 billion people combined. Oxfam's new report examines just how unequal the world is.

The wide gaps between rich and poor stand in the way of the fight against poverty. But inequality is not inevitable. Photo: Eleanor Farmer/Oxfam

Every year Oxfam examines how the world's wealth is distributed. Everything is compiled in a report that this year focuses on the place of women in the global economy.

This is what inequality looks like

  1. The world's 2153 dollar billionaires, most of them men, own more than 4.6 billion people.
  2. Globally, men own 50% more than women.
  3. The richest 22 men in the world own more than all the women in Africa.
  4. The world's richest one percent own more than twice as much as 6.9 billion people.

We live in a world where extreme poverty coexists with limitless wealth. At the top of the economic pyramid are a small number of dollar billionaires, nine out of ten of whom are men, who own vast sums of money. At the same time, nearly half the world's population lives in poverty, i.e. on less than $5.5 a day. Some 735 million people are estimated to live in extreme poverty.

But what's wrong with people being rich?

We are not against wealth - we are against poverty, and the wide gaps between rich and poor stand in the way of poverty reduction. That's why Oxfam is calling on governments around the world to reduce inequality by taxing wealthy individuals and corporations fairly and investing in welfare so that people have access to clean water, sanitation, electricity, education and care services for children, the sick and the elderly.

Take a stand against inequality and join us in urging our politicians to invest in vital public services, tax the rich fairly and ensure that everyone has secure jobs with decent wages. It's time to fight inequality and defeat poverty for good.