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 85 people now own as much wealth as half the world's population, while nearly a billion people can barely afford to feed their families.

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 new 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

Rana Plaza: a catalyst for progress on living wage

Following our recent paper looking at the steps being taken towards delivering a living wage across global supply chains, Rachel Wilshaw showcases two examples of how, in Bangladesh, the recent Accord on Fire and Building Safety has also acted as... Read more

Taking the Hunger Challenge - Day 1

I am taking part in Team V's hunger challenge as apart of the beyond a tin of food campaign. For 3 days I will be living on what typically would be given out in an emergency food parcel at a food bank. I'm lucky enough... Read more

Defining a living wage means understanding the local context

To mark Human Rights Day, Oxfam published a paper outlining why a living wage is essential and positive steps that have been taken to achieve it. Here, Mike Kelly, Chairman of the Living Wage Advisory Council and of the Living Wage Foundation,... Read more

What would it take to deliver a living wage in supply chains?

The concept of a living wage is not something new, but with recent reports warning of the lag between wages and productivity and outlining the failures in trickle down economics, it is in the spotlight. On Human Rights Day, Rachel Wilshaw talks... Read more

Oxfam reaction to OECD research on the impact inequality has on economic growth

In response to research published today by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which says that income inequality is having a significant impact on economic growth, Oxfam's head of UK campaigns, Nick Bryer, said: ... Read more