Equity, Inequality and Human Development in a Post-2015 Framework

By Melamed, Claire; Samman, Emma

UNDP Human Development Report Office | 1 | Issues for a Global Human Development Agenda We live in a very unequal world. Recent data suggest that the poorest 5 percent of Americans earn 35 times more than the poorest Zambians, after adjusting for relative prices (Milanovic 2011, p. 16, p. 9). Between 1980 and 2007, the top 1 percent of Americans nearly tripled their share of total national income from 8 to 23 percent.1 Disabled adults make up some 15 percent of the world’s population but some 20 percent of the world’s poorest wealth quintile (WHO and World Bank 2011, p. 28, Table 2.1). And in Egypt, women without any education are 24 times as likely to have married before age 15 as those with at least a secondary school education (UNICEF forthcoming, p. 25, Figure 4.2).