Countries With Uneven Distribution of Wealth

The famous photo of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, showing a wealthy neighborhood directly adjacent to a poor neighborhood.

The distribution of income varies between countries. While some countries have almost equal distribution of income, others have a very unequal distribution of income. The Gini coefficient helps rank countries according to their level of income distribution, ranging from the most equal to the most unequal countries. According to this method, South Africa is the world's most unequal country. Other nations with the substantial unequal distribution of income include Namibia, Haiti, Botswana, Suriname, Zambia, Central African Republic, Lesotho, Belize, and Swaziland.

Countries Where Inequality is At Its Worst

South Africa

South Africa - as the name suggests- is an African nation at the southernmost end of the continent. The country is among the best performing economies in the African continent. South Africa has a free market economy with some aspects of state intervention. The country operates a welfare system where some basic services are provided to its citizens for free. However, despite South Africa’s high level of national income, the wealth gap is staggering and tthe rate of poverty in South Africa is quite high. It is the leading country in unequal distribution of income with a Gini index of 63.4.


Namibia is a sovereign state in the southwestern region of Africa. The country is one of Africa’s driest nations. The expansive Namib Desert in Namibia makes it one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. The primary economic activities in Namibia include mining, agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing. Approximately half of Namibia’s population depends on agriculture for its livelihood. Namibia is ranked second on the list of nations with the most unequal income distribution with a Gini index of 61.3.


Haiti is an independent nation on Hispaniola Island in the Caribbean. Haiti’s population is approximately 10.8 million residents. With an area of 10,714 square miles, Haiti is among the most densely populous nations in the Caribbean region, and it is among the world’s poorest nations. The country is burdened by corruption, inadequate healthcare systems, undeveloped infrastructure, and lack of proper education. Haiti heavily relies on foreign aid from the U.S., Europe, and Canada. Regarding income distribution, Haiti has the third most uneven income distribution with a Gini index of 60.8


Botswana is a nation in the Sothern African region. The Kalahari Desert takes up approximately 70% of the country’s land area. It is one of the world’s least populated countries with a population of only 2 million residents. The country operates as a free market economy with its largest sector being mining. Despite its economy expanding rapidly in recent years, Botswana’s rural population remains extremely poor. It is the fourth country with the most unequal distribution of income in the world having a Gini coefficient standing at 60.5


Suriname is an independent nation located along the Atlantic coast in South America. It is South America’s smallest nation with an area of 63,707 square miles. Suriname’s primary source of revenue is the mining industry. Agriculture is another critical sector in the country. Although the country has a relatively high standard of living, Suriname has the fifth most unequal distribution of income in the world having a Gini index of 57.6.


Zambia is a sovereign state in the southern region of Africa. The nation has exceptionally high rates of poverty, especially in rural areas. Zambia’s primary source of revenue is the mining industry which is affected by falling commodity prices. Most Zambians in rural areas practice subsistence farming. The country ranks sixth in the list of nations with the most unequal income among its citizens. It has a Gini index of 57.1

Unequal Distribution Of Income Among African And Caribbean Nations

Although the distribution of national income is unequal in most countries, it is most unequal among African and Caribbean countries. Most of these nations are endowed with a wealth of natural resources such as oil, gas, minerals, and wildlife. However, these countries suffer from poor leadership, high levels of corruptions, and political instability. As a result, the resources within these countries are unevenly distributed.

The World's Most Unequal Countries

RankCountryGini Coefficient
1South Africa63.4
7Central African Republic56.2

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