Inequality at its lowest level since 80s

Published: 30th Apr 2014

In a comment piece in the Mirror this morning, Ed Miliband claimed that:

"You see a privileged few at the top doing well but you are being left further behind amid rising inequality".

One of the most commonly used measures of inequality is the Gini coefficient, which shows how far the income distribution of a country diverges from perfect equality.

The latest statistics found that the Gini coefficient for disposable income in 2011/12 was 32.3% - the lowest level since 1986.

A coefficient of 0 (or 0% in the graph above) represents a scenario where all incomes are equal, while 1 (or 100%) represents complete inequality (where, for example, one person holds all the wealth).

But, since these figures only cover the period to the end of the 2011/12 financial year, we do not know what impact welfare reforms from April 2013 onwards have had on inequality - the IFS has previously warned the impact of these will make it uncertain if the downward trend in inequality will be maintained.

To read more about the causes of the decline in inequality, see our factcheck from last November.


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