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There are three key measures of financial inequality: income, consumption and wealth. Usually, the term inequality is used to mean income inequality, as it’s the basis for most measures and the best documented of the three.
Using the most recent figures, South Africa, Namibia and Haiti are among the most unequal countries in terms of income distribution – based on the Gini index estimates from the World Bank – while Ukraine, Slovenia and Norway rank as the most equal nations in the world.
According to the Palma ratio figures in the UN Human Development Index, Ukraine, Norway and Slovenia were the most equal countries to live in when considering distribution of income between the richest and poorest in society. South Africa, Haiti and Botswana had the starkest inequalities in income, based on the Palma ratio.
The World Happiness Report ranks 155 countries from 1 to 10 in terms of happiness, and is based on a survey of 1,000 people from each country. The measure is based on real GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy and people’s perception of their freedom to make life choices, generosity, and perceptions of corruption.
In the latest report the Nordic countries lead the way, with Norway, Denmark and Iceland at the top of the list, while the Central African Republic, Burundi and Tanzania lag behind with low scores in GDP per capita, social support and people’s freedom to makes life choices.
However, wealth alone doesn’t bring happiness. According to the figures from the World Happiness Report, a high GDP doesn’t always equate with a high happiness ranking. Qatar, which has the highest contribution from GDP to its happiness ranking, comes in at 35. Likewise, while Hong Kong is in eighth place when it comes to GDP contribution, it only rates 71st in the overall happiness rankings. Norway, the highest ranking in terms of happiness, comes in third in the GDP rankings.