What's our true gini?

2015-02-22 15:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

It is hard to say for sure if South Africa is the “most unequal society on earth” because, for much of the world, there isn’t enough information to make fair comparisons.

Even determining how unequal South Africa is has become a battleground of ideas, where different versions of the famous Gini coefficient and other measures provide vastly different results.

Depending on the measure you use, inequality might be getting better or not changing at all.

South Africa could be said to have a Gini of 0.65 or 0.77 or 0.59. And no one really knows what the Gini coefficients for much of the world’s countries are. The world’s most-cited source for these figures, the World Bank, has no Gini estimates for about 50 countries – and old ones for dozens of others.

What is completely uncontroversial is that South Africa is very unequal compared with the other countries for which information is available.

Most measured countries fall somewhere between 0.3 and 0.5. A coefficient of 1 means a single person earns all a country’s income, while 0 means everyone earns exactly the same amount.

South Africa’s target under the Millennium Development Goals set in 2000 was a Gini of 0.3 by 2015 – as we now know, that’s a far-fetched prospect. The National Development Plan has a target of 0.6 by 2030.

Depending on who you believe, South Africa’s present Gini could almost be there already.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.