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Science  23 May 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6186, pp. 820-821
DOI: 10.1126/science.344.6186.820

New data allow researchers to map inequality the world over

About these data

The world Gini data, collected between 2008 and 2012, cover 117 countries and were prepared for Science by researchers Branko Milanovic and Janet Gornick of the Luxembourg Income Study Center at the City University of New York's Graduate Center. The Gini index was calculated from household-level data gathered by surveys, except in China and Japan, which do not release microdata to researchers but publish only summary results. The definitions used were disposable household per capita income (after cash social transfers and direct taxes) or household per capita consumption, both calculated across individuals. Gini may be underestimated in countries such as India, which collect data on expenditures rather than income. Databases used are: the Luxembourg Income Study Database, the Socio-Economic Database for Latin America and the Caribbean, the World Bank Europe and Central Asia database, the World Bank's POVCAL, the World Bank's World Income Distribution database, and the "All the Ginis" database.

U.S. data are based on 2012 U.S. Census Bureau surveys of 122,459 households. They include income received on a regular basis before income taxes, but do not include noncash benefits such as food stamps.

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