Indicators of inequality across the world show trends which seem to be contradictory. In fact, they are based on different concepts. The types of information they provide are therefore complementary. Inequality in the per capita GDP of more than 150 countries is rising, but this does not prevent the majority of the world’s population from belonging to countries whose average incomes are converging. To obtain a more complete image of world inequality it is, however, necessary to look beyond national averages and take into account within-country inequality. Here estimates differ due to the data and statistical methods used. Nevertheless, they suggest that since the mid-1990s world inequality has been falling from previous, very high levels, because of its international component. In contrast, the world average of within-country inequality is increasing.
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