Every poor person in the United States would get a one-time payout of $1,736 if Bill Gates—the richest US citizen—distributed the total value of his assets equally among the US population living below the poverty line. This data is based on analysis from the Robin Hood Index, created by Bloomberg, which compares the net worth of the richest billionaires in 42 countries with the number of individuals below the national poverty line in those same countries to show the theoretical gain to the poor from the distribution of each country's wealthiest citizen.
The size of the windfalls in the top ranked countries are unsurprising given the small populations and relatively high living standards of these countries. Cyprus, Sweden, and Taiwan are each in the top 30 countries by GDP per capita. In sharp contrast, with about 20 percent of the population of India living in poverty, the $19.2 billion net worth of the richest Indian would amount to only $59 per poor person in India, or approximately one month at $1.9 per day.
The Robin Hood Index represents just one of many methods to help us to understand how unequally the world's wealth is distributed. A wide range of statistical measures exist to support analysis of income inequality. Following are three examples:
According to the 2016 Forbes Billionaires List, the aggregate wealth of the world's 1,810 billionaires is approximately $6.5 trillion, exceeding the GDP of Japan, the world's third largest economy with a GDP of $4.4 trillion. In other words, the wealth of 0.00002% of the world's population accounts for 9 percent of the world's GDP of about $74 trillion. How do we measure the net worth of a billionaire? The estimate is based on total asset value, including stakes in public and private companies, real estate, yachts, art and cash. If a person were a country, we'd measure GDP, which is commonly defined as the sum of the final uses of goods and...
Rising income inequality in the United States over the past quarter century is well documented. For the vast majority of states, the share of income held by the top decile experienced a prolonged period of stability after World War II, followed by a substantial increase in inequality during the 1980s and 1990s. And the most interesting fact that the rising income inequality has positive correlation with the growth of real personal per capita income. Frank, Mark. W. 2009 "Inequality and Growth in the United States: Evidence from a New State-Level Panel of Income Inequality Measure" Economic Inquiry, Volume 47, Issue 1, Pages 55-68