Inequality and poverty

Across the world, the gap between the rich and poor is spiralling out of control. It's hurting us all and standing in the way of ending poverty.

Join us: Together we can tackle extreme inequality 

Why inequality?

Oxfam's vision is a world free from injustice and poverty. Yet today, just 80 people now own as much wealth as half the world's population, while nearly a billion people can barely afford to feed their families.

And inequality is rising: the combined wealth of the richest 1 per cent will overtake that of the other 99 per cent of people next year unless the current trend is checked.

Such extreme economic inequality is threatening to undo much of the progress made over the past 20 years in making sure millions more people have food on the table, a decent education and health care.

It is as unfair as it is uneven. This stark inequality is the result of political and economic choices. We're not on a level playing field. So whilst the wealth of a powerful minority grows greater, the poorest people get left behind.

Extreme inequality:

  • robs millions of people of better life chances
  • fuels crime, corruption and violent conflict
  • widens the gap between women and men
  • damages nations' economic growth
  • and is one of the biggest barriers to ending global poverty.

Oxfam is taking a stand against inequality with our massive 'Even it up' campaign. And people from all walks of life around the globe are backing our call for a fairer world, including leading economists, academics, politicians and activists.

Video: The rich and the rest

Inequality video

Video: The rich and the rest

Read the report

Oxfam's major report presents new evidence that the gap between rich and poor is growing ever wider and is undermining poverty eradication.

Even It Up: Time to end inequality

Photos: Inequality around the world

Kofi Annan

Oxfam's report is a call to action for a common good. We must answer that call.

Kofi Annan is a former Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Jay Naidoo

All those who care about our common future should read this report from Oxfam.

Jay Naidoo is chair of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition.

Andrew Haldane

There is an imperative - moral, economic and social - to develop public policy measures to tackle growing inequality. Oxfam's report is a valuable stepping stone towards that objective.

Andrew Haldane is the Chief Economist at the Bank of England.

H.E. Graça Machel

I hope that government officials, business and civil society leaders, and bilateral and multilateral institutions will reflect on Oxfam's recommendations and take sustained actions to tackle the inequality explosion.

Graça Machel is Mozambique's Minister for Education and Culture.

Joseph Stiglitz

Oxfam's report is a timely reminder that any real effort to end poverty has to confront the public policy choices that create and sustain inequality.

Josef Stiglitz is a Professor of Economics at Columbia University and a former chief economist at the World Bank.

Nawal El Saadawi

Oxfam reveals a new challenge to the capitalist patriarchal world and its so-called free market.

Nawal El Saadawi is an Egyptian writer and activist.

Photos: Rosa Pavanelli: Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung-New York Office; Joseph Stiglitz: Алый Король; Jay Naidoo: Open Knowledge; HE Graca Machel: World Economic Forum; Kofi Annan: public domain; Nawal El Saadawi: Global.finland.fi

The latest blogs on inequality and poverty

The world could be so much fairer: an introduction to inequality

Seven out of ten people live in countries where the gap between the rich and the poor has increased in the last 30 years. In this introduction to inequality Deborah Hardoon, Senior Researcher at Oxfam, explains why extreme and increasing inequality... Read more

Oxfam Scotland Welcomes Appointment of Poverty Adviser

Responding to the appointment of Naomi Eisenstadt as an independent adviser on poverty and inequality to the First Minister, Head of Oxfam Scotland, Jamie Livingstone said:

Oxfam launches new programme for the legal profession

Oxfam today launches Lawyers Against Poverty, a new programme focusing on access to justice. Oxfam's CEO, Mark Goldring, and Chilean human rights lawyer Magdalena Sepulveda Carmona, will launch the programme together with the President of the... Read more

European Commission wastes chance to fight corporate tax dodging

Commenting on plans to reform the corporate tax system published by the European Commission today, Oxfam's tax policy advisor Alison Holder said: "These watered down, vague plans are a wasted opportunity by the European Commission... Read more

IMF: making the rich richer is not good for growth

Commenting on the International Monetary Fund's latest report 'Causes and Consequences of Income Inequality', which shows that inequality and the currently limited distribution of income has a negative impact on growth, Nicolas Mombrial,... Read more