I’m currently reading all sorts of stuff on economic theory and world poverty, hoping to write a “thought piece” on sustainable systemic change for the Vincentian family. If you don’t like statistical measurements and poverty analysis, or statistics bother or frighten you, read this instead. Our Vincentian Family representatives at the UN deal with these issues as part of their work.
What follows is a “map” of “Poverty versus Inequality.” John Freund, C.M., put me on to it. Often poverty measures show the percentage of poor people, but not the unequal distribution of wealth within a given country. The Gini-coefficient of inequality is “the most commonly used measure of inequality. The coefficient varies between 0, which reflects complete equality and 1, which indicates complete inequality (one person has all the income or consumption, all others have none). Graphically, the Gini coefficient can be easily represented by the area between the Lorenz curve and the line of equality.
On the figure to the right, the Lorenz curve maps the cumulative income share on the vertical axis against the distribution of the population on the horizontal axis. In this example, 40 percent of the population obtains around 20 percent of total income. If each individual had the same income, or total equality, the income distribution curve would be the straight line in the graph – the line of total equality. The Gini coefficient is calculated as the area A divided by the sum of areas A and B. If income is distributed completely equally, then the Lorenz curve and the line of total equality are merged and the Gini coefficient is zero. If one individual receives all the income, the Lorenz curve would pass through the points (0,0), (100,0) and (100,100), and the surfaces A and B would be similar, leading to a value of one for the Gini-coefficient.”(1) Click on the map below. You’ll be redirected to a map that shows poverty line stats (boundaries) and the Gini index (pinpoints) for each country.