MENA Is the World’s Most Unequal Region: World Inequality Report 2022

Published June 27th, 2022 - 04:00 GMT
World Inequality Report 2022
The 2022 report on wealth inequality in the world classified the MENA region as the least equal. (Shutterstock: Aleksandar Milosevic)
World Inequality Report 2022 was conducted by the Paris-based World Inequality Lab and extends for 236 pages.

The World Inequality Report 2022 has shed light on some concerning figures in terms of wealth distribution around the world, including the fact that the Middle East and North Africa is the world's most unequal region.

The report published by the Paris-based World Inequality Lab extended for 236 pages and examined different trends in terms of economic inequality in different parts of the world during the last year and provided detailed sets of data to show the deepening wealth gap between different social groups in every region.

Data provided by the World Inequality Report 2022 highlights the different aspects of wealth disparity in terms of social class, geographical location, and gender, which gains its significance by the fact that "wealth is a major source of future economic gains, and increasingly, of power and influence", according to the report.

Considering that the World Inequality Report 2022 report comes to study 2021 figures, the first year of full economic activities since the COVID-19 pandemic, the report attempts to trace the different effects of the viral outbreak on wealth distribution worldwide.

World Inequality Report 2022

World Inequality Report 2022 Report Findings

1- Except for the European continent, the global share of the bottom 50% in total earnings is less than 15%.

2- Except for the European continent, the global share of the richest 10% is over 40% (Close to 60% in some regions).

3- The share of the bottom 50% of the world in total global wealth is 2% by their estimates.

4- Between 1995 and 2021, the top 1% captured 38% of the global increment in wealth, while the bottom 50% captured a frightening 2%.

5- The richest 10% of the global population currently takes 52% of global income, whereas the poorest half of the population earns 8.5% of it.

World Inequality Report 2022

6-  On average, an individual from the top 10% of the global income distribution earns $122,100 per year, whereas an individual from the poorest half of the global income distribution makes $3,920 per year.

7- The poorest half of the global population possess around 2% of the global wealth, while the richest 10% of own 76%.

8- On average, an adult person from the poorest half of the population owns $4,100 compared to an adult of the top 10% who owns $771,300 on average.

9- In Europe, the top 10% income share is around 36%, whereas in MENA it reaches 58%. 

10- The gap between the average incomes of the top 10% and the bottom 50% of individuals within countries has almost doubled, from 8.5x to 15x

11- In 2021, the average income in the MENA region accounted for 112% of the global average wealth.

12- The average wealth in the MENA region is around 54% of the world's average income. 

World Inequality Report 2022

13- Women make only 35% of global labor incomes, while men make the remaining  65%. Women's share of labor income was 30% in 1990. By 2020, it had only progressed to 35%. 

14- The top 10% of terms of global wealth were responsible for 48% of the carbon emissions during 2021. The Middle 40% came in the second place with 40%. The bottom 1% contributed to 17% while the bottom 50% contributed to only 12% of the CO2 emissions.  

15- The share of income presently owned by the poorest half of the world’s people is about half what it was in 1820.

Millionaires and Billionaires in 2021  

- In 2021, the world had 62,165,160 individuals who owned 1 million or above, with a total of $174,200 billion.

- The global count of individuals who each owned over $1 billion was 9 people.

Why is inequality deepening in today's world?

One of the conclusions reached by the World Inequality Report 2022 is that wealth and income inequality, which has been on the rise since the 1980s, is a political choice, and that sound political decision can, if taken, tackle the growing disparity and start reversing the current situation.

While the report acknowledges major trends in terms of wealth growth on a global level, it points to an increasing mismatch in terms of distributing wealth among world citizens. 

The report links this concerning phenomenon to the growing split between the net wealth of governments and the net wealth of the private sector since the 1980s, noting that "countries have become significantly richer, but their governments have become significantly poorer".

This has directly and negatively affected the government's ability to overcome global crises or support disadvantaged groups in their countries, such as COVID19 and economic meltdowns that followed the pandemic. 

What to do?

The World Inequality Report 2022 makes a number of recommendations in terms of measures that can help bridge the massive wealth gap in today's world, most importantly a global wealth tax that targets multimillionaires, which can eventually generate significant revenues for governments which can then invest the money in the future in order to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

The report also suggests that 1.6% of global incomes be redirected and reinvested in education, health, and the ecological transition.

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