World Facts

Which Neighboring Countries Have the Highest Income Disparity?

A country's GDP is indicative of how much wealth belongs to the average citizen, and sometimes despite geographic proximity these numbers can vary greatly amongst neighbors.

What Is Income Disparity?

Income disparity refers to the unequal difference in incomes among laborers in a particular economy. This term is sometimes known as income inequality. A number of factors influence disproportionate distribution of income, including: age, gender, location, and education. This article takes a look at income disparity between neighboring countries.

Features Of Income Disparity

The following information takes into account gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and does not consider other variants, such as the human development index. Not all of the countries with higher GDP per capita on this list are considered to have high income economies. Generally, the reason for differences in GDP per capita between bordering countries is that one is experiencing political instability, while the other is relatively stable with abundant natural resources.

Neighboring Countries With The Highest Income Disparity

The biggest difference in GDP per capita can be found between Hong Kong and China. In Hong Kong, the average annual salary per person is $49,800, which is in sharp contrast to the $8,500 of China. This equates to an average disparity of $41,300. In this case, Hong Kong is considered a high income economy and has industries based on financial services, business, shopping, and tourism. The economy of China, on the other hand, relies more on the sectors of agriculture and industry.

Other high income economies with striking income disparities when compared to neighboring countries include: Kuwait with a GDP per capita of $42,200 and its neighbor Iraq with a GDP per capita of $3,900, South Korea with a GDP per capita of $32,100 and North Korea with a GDP per capita of $1,800, and Spain with a $31,000 average annual income and Morocco with only $5,100. Israel is another high income economy with an average annual income per person of $31,400. This country has the following neighboring nations: Palestine ($2,900), Syria ($5,100), Jordan ($6,000), and Egypt ($6,600).

As previously mentioned, not all income disparities are between high and low income economies. For example, Equatorial Guinea has an average income of $19,600 compared to the $2,300 income of Cameroon. Both are low income countries, although Equatorial Guinea was considered high income from 2007 to 2014. Another similar example is found in Russia, which was a high income economy according to the World Bank between 2012 and 2014. It has a GDP per capita of $17,000, while its nearby neighbor North Korea has just $1,800.

These are just a few of the countries with the highest income disparities in the world. The chart below offers a more detailed look at the income disparity of 50 different neighboring countries.

Reducing Income Inequality

In recent years, the world has made significant progress toward reducing income inequality in an attempt to eliminate poverty. Least developed countries and small island and landlocked countries have not shared in these advances due to the complex challenges faced by their economies. While there is much to celebrate in having reduced income inequality between countries, the disparities between the rich and the poor continue to grow within many nations.

Which Neighboring Countries Have the Highest Income Disparity?

RankCountry (GDP per capita in USD) Bordering Country (GDP per capita in USD)Average Disparity
1Hong Kong (49,800)China (8,500)41,300
2Kuwait (42,200)Iraq (3,900)38,300
3South Korea (32,100)North Korea (1800)30,300
4Israel (31,400)Palestine (2,900)28,500
5Israel (31,400)Syria (5,100)26,300
6Spain (31,000)Morocco (5,100)25,900
7Israel (31,400)Jordan (6,000)25,400
8Israel (31,400)Egypt (6,600)24,800
9Oman (26,900)Yemen (2,300)24,600
10Saudi Arabia (24,500)Yemen (2,300)22,200
11Saudi Arabia (24,500)Iraq (3,900)20,600
12Equatorial Guinea (19,600)Cameroon (2,300)17,300
13Bostwana (16,200)Zimbabwe (500)15,700
14Russia (17,000)North Korea (1800)15,200
15Gabon (16,400)Cameroon (2,300)14,100
16Libya (14,100)Niger (800)13,300
17Argentina (17,700)Bolivia (4,900)12,800
18Chile (17,400)Bolivia (4,900)12,500
19Iran (13,200)Afghanistan (1,000)12,200
20Libya (14,100)Chad (1,900)12,200
21Russia (17,000)Mongolia (4,800)12,200
22Gabon (16,400)Republic of the Congo (4,600)11,800
23Libya (14,100)Sudan (2,800)11,300
24Kazakhstan (13,200)Kyrgzstan (2,400)10,800
25Turkey (14,700)Iraq (3,900)10,800
26South Africa (11,100)Zimbabwe (500)10,600
27Iran (13,200)Pakistan (2,800)10,400
28South Africa (11,100)Mozambique (1,100)10,000
29Romania (12,600)Moldova (3,400)9,200
30South Africa (11,100)Lesotho (2,000)9,100
31Costa Rica (12,100)Nicaragua (3,200)8,900
32Thailand (9,500)Burma (1,300)8,200
33Dominican Republic (9,400)Haiti (1,300)8,100
34China (8,500)Afghanistan (1,000)7,500
35China (8,500)Nepal (1,300)7,200
36China (8,500)Burma (1,300)7,200
37Turkmenistan (7,900)Afghanistan (1,000)6,900
38China (8,500)North Korea (1800)6,700
39Algeria (7,400)Mali (1,100)6,300
40China (8,500)Kyrgzstan (2,400)6,100
41Algeria (7,400)Niger (800)6,000
42Namibia (7,500)Zambia (1,600)5,900
43Angola (6,000)Democratic Republic of the Congo (400)5,600
44Angola (6,000)Zambia (1,600)4,400
45Swaziland (5,400)Mozambique (1,100)4,300
46Republic of the Congo (4,600)Democratic Republic of the Congo (400)4,200
47Republic of the Congo (4,600)Central African Republic (800)3,800
48Dijibouti (2,700)Eritrea (700)2,000
49South Sudan (2,300)Democratic Republic of the Congo (400)1,900
50Tanzania (1,500)Democratic Republic of the Congo (400)1,100

More in World Facts