World Facts

20 Countries Where The Top 10% Have The Largest Income Share

It would appear that in the Americas the richest of the rich set themselves apart in terms of wealth more than anywhere else in the world.

Any society will possess different groups who have different levels of income, and thus who have different wealth status in terms of asset shares, typically resulting in wealth disparities to some degree. The wealth of an individual and his net worth is the sum of his wealth, equal to his assets and less his liabilities. However, income is quite different from wealth in that wealth is comprised of property of economic worth already owned by an individual, whereas income is the inflow of holdings of economic measure.

Wealth Share Disparities in the Americas

Income and wealth inequality in the Americas has reached a staggering degree. especially in the case of Latin America where the richest 10% have accumulated 71% of the region's wealth. From 2002 to 2015, the wealth of the top 10% in the region has increased by 21% per year. It would appear that in the Americas the richest of the rich set themselves apart in terms of wealth more than anywhere else in the world.

Country By Country Perspectives

Columbia ranks first in the wealth disparities between the rich and the poor by 41.9% with majority of its cities indicating the same trend. Business monopolies are protected by the government. Income tax is 8% for the poor while the rich pay only 3%. As a result, the poor can not afford most basic goods. Brazil is second with 41.8% wealth disparity seen in most cities. Illiteracy is down to 15% while the homeless are the result of poverty. Healthcare is free but lacking in services. Honduras is third with 41.5% wealth disparities affecting the nation that is seen as having endemic poverty. Malnutrition and infant mortality is a big concern. About 53% of the population live in poverty. Illiteracy is at 25%. About 42% have no access to safe drinking water. Chile is fourth with 41.5% wealth disparities in its towns and cities. As a result, 38% of the population can not afford basic goods. Chilean disparity also brings poverty and lack of healthcare. Panama is fifth with a 40.0% wealth disparity among the rich and poor. About 85% of indigenous people are in extreme poverty while in the cities, air-conditioned comfort is the norm. Paraguay is sixth with 37.6% in wealth disparity between its small elite class and its ubiquitous poor. The elite has 46.6% of income and owned 75% of the land. Lack of schools and healthcare for the poor. Only 15% have access to safe drinking water. The Dominican Republic is seventh with 37.4% wealth disparities among its population. Extreme hardship, scant social services, and illiteracy are some negative aspects of these disparities. Costa Rica is eighth with 37.3% wealth disparities seen in its towns and cities. The poor can hardly meet their basic needs due to low salaries and high commodity prices adds to the misery. Ecuador is ninth with 36.5% wealth disparities seen in its cities. About 70% of Ecuador's rural population live in poverty. About half of the country’s income is earned by the elite. Lack of health services and schools confine the poor to low-paying jobs. Bolivia is tenth with 35.6% wealth disparities seen in its cities. Bolivians of Spanish descent are in charge of the economic and political life in the country. As a consequence, indigenous people are stuck in agriculture and minor jobs. Food security, healthcare, and education are all at the barest minimum. El Salvador is eleventh with 34.4% wealth disparities in its cities. The rich control coffee, sugar, and commerce and finance. As a consequence, healthcare is about nil. Illiteracy is rampant with only 1 in 5, a high school graduate. Peru is twelfth with 33.4% wealth disparities a its population. About 19% are below the poverty line. The poor live in shantytowns while the rich live in villas. Water is scarce for the poor. Access to goods and services is at barest minimum. Uruguay is thirteenth with 31.0% wealth disparities among its population. The rich control about 25% of the nation's wealth. However, 8% of the population still live in poverty. Education is being revamped to keep more youths in school. Argentina is fourteenth with 30.6% wealth disparities in its cities. Housing is lacking and even the lower middle-class have moved to shantytowns resulting in about 2,350,000 homeless in cities. Poverty figures are in the 13 million mark. The United States is fifteenth with 30.2% wealth disparities in its cities. America's real rich owns half of the national wealth invested in mutual funds and stocks while the rest hold their wealth in their residences' value. The wealth of the average White family is six times to that of a black family. Georgia in the Caucasus is sixteenth with 29.9% wealth disparities in its nation. Education is backwards in public schools while private school tuition is sky high. About 53% live below the poverty line. Iran is seventeenth with 29.1% wealth disparities in its population. The rich live ritzy lives but the majority of the populace live in economic hardship. Political influence earns and affords a lot in Iran. Armenia is eighteenth with 25.6% wealth disparities in its population. Income inequality is larger than consumption distribution. About 80% are below the poverty line. Education lacks government support. Infrastructure spending has been halted. Montenegro is nineteenth with 25.1% wealth disparities in its nation. Poverty rates are higher in rural areas than in cities. Poverty is seen in unemployed and inactive persons. Its northern region has more poor percentage occurrence. Moldova is twentieth with 23.3% wealth disparities in its cities. Independence made matters worse for the country with 75% living below the poverty line. The rich maintains a foothold in the economy while the poor indulge in an underground economy. Social services is at an all-time low while the government relies on international aid.

Redistribution of Income and Wealth

Despite wealth and income disparities, each state has the means to confront this "problem" as it is seen by some entities. There are social means that allow these redistribution such as public services, charity, taxation, welfare, land reform, tort law, confiscation, divorce, or monetary policies. In income redistribution through the tax system, an individual who earns a high income also pays a high tax rate and vice versa. However in wealth redistribution, the government may choose to use land reform to redistribute ownership of land. Other ways are wealth taxes and inheritance taxes. The purpose of redistribution is for a socially just and more democratic society where the development of a larger middle class should benefit the economy with more people given the power to be consumers. As a result, the standard of living is raised.

20 Countries Where The Top 10% Have The Highest Income Share

RankCountry % of All Income Earned By Top 10% of Earners
1Columbia 41.9%
2Brazil 41.8%
3Honduras 41.5%
4Chile 41.5%
5Panama 40.0%
6Paraguay 37.6%
7Dominican Republic 37.4%
8Costa Rica 37.3%
9Ecuador 36.5%
10Bolivia 35.6%
11El Salvador 34.4%
12Peru 33.4%
13Uruguay 31.0%
14Argentina 30.6%
15United States 30.2%
16Georgia 29.9%
17Iran 29.1%
18Armenia 25.6%
19Montenegro 25.1%
20Moldova 23.3%

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