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A Zacatecas man accepts alms from a stranger. A Zacatecas man accepts alms from a stranger. Shutterstock

Mexico is one of the most unequal countries in the world, study reveals

47% of household wealth is controlled by the richest 1%

Mexico is one of the most unequal countries in the world, according to a new report by a research laboratory dedicated to the study of inequality around the world.

The top 10% of income earners in Mexico earn over 30 times more than the bottom 50%, said the World Inequality Report 2022, completed by the World Inequality Lab.

The former earn 1.33 million pesos (US $63,750) per year on average while the latter make 42,700 pesos (US $2,040).

Just over 57% of all income goes to the top 10% of wage earners, the report said, while only 9.2% ends up in the pockets of the bottom 50%. About one-third of income goes to the middle 40% of wage earners while just over one-quarter goes to the top 1%.

“Unlike large European, Asian and North American economies, available data suggest that Mexico did not experience a strong reduction in inequality over the 20th century. In fact, income inequality in Mexico has been extreme throughout the past and present centuries,” the report said.

Mexico has a long history of income inequality, the report found.
Mexico has a long history of income inequality, the report found. World Inequality Report 2022

“The top 10% income share has oscillated around 55-60% over that period, while the bottom 50% has been constant at around 8-10%, making of Mexico one of the most unequal countries on Earth.”

There is also significant gender inequality in the realm of labor income. Mexican women’s share of labor income is 33%, the report said, noting that the figure is below the Latin America average of 35% and only slightly higher than the 28% average in Sub-Saharan Africa. Women’s share of income is 39% in the United States and 38% in Canada, the United Kingdom and Western Europe.

While the figure for Mexico lags that of many countries, it has been on the rise, gaining almost 10 points since 1990.

With regard to household wealth, 46.9% is concentrated in Mexico’s richest 1% and 78.7% in the richest 10%. The share of wealth of the poorest 50% is  -0.2%, the report said. Their share is negative because the value of their debt exceeds the value of their assets.

Average household wealth across the population is 833,660 pesos (US $39,800), while the richest 10% have assets worth 6.56 million pesos (US $313,500) on average.

The report also said that “carbon inequalities” are very high in Mexico. The poorest 50% of the population are responsible for the emission of fewer than two tonnes of carbon dioxide per person per year, while the richest 10% are responsible for 20 tonnes per capita, or more than 10 times more.

Mexico scored below the Latin American average for gender income inequality.
Mexico scored below the Latin American average for gender income inequality. World Inequality Report 2022

“These levels of inequalities are significantly higher than in Brazil (where the top 10% of the population emit eight times more than the bottom 50%) and comparable with China,” the report said.

While Mexico is one of the world’s most unequal countries, the most unequal region is the Middle East and North Africa, the report said. The second most unequal region is Sub-Saharan Africa while Latin America has the third highest levels of inequality. The most equal region is Europe followed by East Asia and North America (excluding Mexico).

The report said that inequality has increased within most countries over the past two decades but global inequalities between countries have declined.

“… This sharp rise in within country inequalities has meant that despite economic catch-up and strong growth in the emerging countries, the world remains particularly unequal today,” it said.

Mexico News Daily 

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