The Gini coefficient was developed by the Italian Sociologist and statistician Corrado Gini to measure an economy’s level of income inequality. In the Gini coefficient, the lower the number the better, and 0 stands for perfect equality. Countries that have lowest inequalities in their distribution of income include Ukraine, Iceland, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kosovo, Finland, and Norway.
The Most Equal Countries in the World
Ukraine is an independent nation in the Eastern region of Europe. The European nation struggled through its transition from a socialist state to a free market economy after it separated from the Soviet Union. Ukraine is classified as a middle-income nation. However, the nation still suffers from poor infrastructure, bureaucracy, and corruption. Ukraine is among the poorest nations in Europe. However, it is the world leader regarding income equality among its citizens. Its Gini index stands at 25.5, which is the lowest in the world.
Iceland is a sovereign state in the North Atlantic. Due to its harsh climatic conditions, Iceland has Europe’s most sparse population. The nation ranks highly in the list of countries with a high quality of life. Regarding income distribution, Iceland comes second in the list of countries with the most equal distribution of income. Income among its citizens is fairly distributed and its Gini index is 25.6.
Slovenia is a small Central European nation with a sparsely distributed population. It is one of the most developed economies in Europe. It gains from its strategic position at the center of major trade routes. Slovenia had a smooth shift from a socialist state to a market economy after it gained independence from the Soviet Union. It has the third most even income distribution in the list of countries with equal income levels, and its Gini index stands at 25.7.
Czechia (Czech Republic)
The Czech Republic is a nation in Central Europe. It is a high-income economy with diversified means of production. The Czech Republic is highly reliant on exports, particularly to European Union nations. The country has relatively low rates of poverty among its citizens. Due to its high-income status, the Czech Republic operates a welfare system providing free healthcare and free university education to its citizens. The Czech Republic is fourth on the list of nations with most equal incomes among its residents having a Gini coefficient of 25.9.
Slovakia is a sovereign state in central Europe. The country has a highly developed economy with advanced living standards. Additionally, Slovenia was in 2017 ranked as E.U’s fastest growing economy. Its advanced economy is supported by a robust financial sector and low debt levels. Slovakia is among nations with a fair distribution of income. It ranks 5th on the list of countries with most even income distribution. Its Gini index is 26.1.
Kazakhstan is a democratic nation in Central Asia. It is among the land-locked nations in the world and has the largest area. Additionally, it is an economic leader in the Central Asia region boosted by oil and gas resources. However, Kazakhstan is among the most corrupt nations in the world. Given the country’s vast land area, Kazakhstan has a relatively low population density. Kazakhstan’s citizens have fairly equal incomes. It is ranked sixth on countries with most equal income with a Gini index of 26.5.
Belarus is an independent state in Eastern Europe. The country's governance system is mainly authoritarian. As at 2014, Belarus was listed as the least Democratic nation in Europe. The majority of its citizens are employed in the state-owned corporations that dominate the economy. Belarus government controls significant sectors in its economy, unlike its neighboring nations who have privatized vital sectors. Interestingly, Belarus is among nations with the most evenly distributed incomes having a Gini index of 26.7.
Kosovo is a small country situated in the South Eastern region of Europe. It was part of Serbia until 2008 when it declared independence. However, Kosovo's independence is not recognized worldwide. Kosovo is one of Europe's poorest nations. It has a high population living in poverty. Kosovo heavily depends on imports and financial aid from European nations. Regarding income distribution, Kosovo is listed among nations with the most even income levels among its citizens. It is the eighth nation on the list with a Gini Index of 26.7.
Finland is situated in northern Europe. With a population of 5.5 million residents, and it is one of the least populated countries in the European Union. Finland did not industrialize until after WWII. Its economy quickly developed to attain the world’s highest per-capita income. Finland is a welfare state where most of the basic services are provided free to its citizens. In the list of nations with fairly equal income distributions, Finland ranks the ninth having a Gini index of 26.8.
Norway is a sovereign state in Northern Europe. It is one of the significant oil and gas producers in the world. As a result, Norway is extremely wealthy, and it owns the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund. The state owns most of the leading economic sectors in the country. The country is rooted in deep egalitarian values which demand fair distribution of resources. Norway operates on a welfare model whereby it gives free healthcare and education to its citizens. It is tenth on the list of countries with the most even income distribution in the world. It has a Gini index of 26.8.
Equal Income Distribution among European nations
Out of the ten most equal income nations, all of them are in the European region. Majority of these countries are former members of the Soviet Union. The countries have maintained the social welfare model they used while they were under the Soviet Union. Finland and Norway are also among nations with most equal income distribution. However, they are not former members of the Soviet Union. The two countries have relatively low population and high national income. As a result, these nations have high living standards.