United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Reduce inequality within and among countries


Related Goals

Targets and Indicators



By 2030, progressively achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40 per cent of the population at a rate higher than the national average


Growth rates of household expenditure or income per capita among the bottom 40 per cent of the population and the total population



By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status


Proportion of people living below 50 per cent of median income, by age, sex and persons with disabilities



Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard


Proportion of the population reporting having personally felt discriminated against or harassed within the previous 12 months on the basis of a ground of discrimination prohibited under international human rights law



Adopt policies, especially fiscal, wage and social protection policies, and progressively achieve greater equality


Labour share of GDP


Redistributive impact of fiscal policy



Improve the regulation and monitoring of global financial markets and institutions and strengthen the implementation of such regulations


Financial Soundness Indicators



Ensure enhanced representation and voice for developing countries in decision-making in global international economic and financial institutions in order to deliver more effective, credible, accountable and legitimate institutions


Proportion of members and voting rights of developing countries in international organizations



Facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies


Recruitment cost borne by employee as a proportion of yearly income earned in country of destination


Number of countries with migration policies that facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people


Number of people who died or disappeared in the process of migration towards an international destination


Proportion of the population who are refugees, by country of origin



Implement the principle of special and differential treatment for developing countries, in particular least developed countries, in accordance with World Trade Organization agreements


Proportion of tariff lines applied to imports from least developed countries and developing countries with zero-tariff



Encourage official development assistance and financial flows, including foreign direct investment, to States where the need is greatest, in particular least developed countries, African countries, small island developing States and landlocked developing countries, in accordance with their national plans and programmes


Total resource flows for development, by recipient and donor countries and type of flow (e.g. official development assistance, foreign direct investment and other flows)



By 2030, reduce to less than 3 per cent the transaction costs of migrant remittances and eliminate remittance corridors with costs higher than 5 per cent


Remittance costs as a proportion of the amount remitted

Progress and Info

Before the pandemic, modest gains had been made in the reduction of inequality in certain areas, for example, reducing income inequality in some countries and territories, continuing preferential trade status for lower-income countries and territories and decreasing transaction costs for remittances. However, inequality persists, whether in relation to income, wealth, opportunity or other dimensions. The pandemic is exacerbating existing inequalities within and among countries and territories and hitting the most vulnerable people and the poorest countries and territories hardest, and is likely to delay the progress of the poorest countries and territories on the Goals by a full 10 years. Globally, the number of refugees reached its highest level on record in 2020. Even with strict COVID-19-related restrictions on mobility around the world, thousands of migrants died on their migratory journey.

According to estimates of the International Monetary Fund, the COVID-19 pandemic would increase the average Gini index for emerging market and developing economies by more than 6 per cent, with an even larger impact predicted for lowincome countries and territories.

Data from 44 countries and territories for the period 2014–2020 show that almost one in five people reported having personally experienced discrimination on at least one of the grounds prohibited under international human rights law. Moreover, women were more likely to be victims of discrimination than men. The health and socioeconomic situations of many groups already experiencing higher levels of discrimination have been further affected by the pandemic.

The data from 2019 on financial soundness indicators indicated some improvement of overall loan performance, while the levels of capital, which is the main buffer for absorbing losses, remained high despite a slight decline. The share of countries and territories reporting non-performing loans whose value exceeds 5 per cent of total loans declined from 41.9 per cent in 2018 to 39.5 per cent in 2019. Meanwhile, the share of countries and territories reporting a ratio of total regulatory capital to risk weighted assets of more than 15 per cent declined from 84.6 per cent in 2018 to 82.1 per cent in 2019, although the median rose from 17.9 per cent to 18.2 per cent over the same period.

In 2020, 4,186 deaths and disappearances were recorded along migratory routes worldwide, with an increase in fatalities on some routes. Despite the pandemic and mobility restrictions at borders across the world, tens of thousands of people continued to leave their homes and embark on dangerous journeys across deserts and seas.

By mid-2020, the number of people who had fled their countries and territories and become refugees owing to war, conflict, persecution, human rights violations and events seriously disturbing public order had grown to 24 million, the highest number on record. The number of refugees outside their country of origin has risen to 307 out of every 100,000 persons, more than double the figure at the end of 2010.

Globally, in 2019, 54 per cent of the 111 Governments with data reported having instituted a comprehensive set of policy measures to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, which means that they have reported having policy measures in place for at least 80 per cent of the subcategories that make up the six policy domains of this indicator. The degree to which the policy measures were reported, however, varies widely across policy domains, with most countries and territories reporting measures for cooperation and partnerships and for safe, orderly and regular migration, and fewest countries and territories reporting measures for migrant rights and for socioeconomic well-being.

From 2017 to 2020, the proportion of products exported by the least developed countries and developing countries that receive duty-free treatment has remained unchanged at 66 and 52 per cent, respectively.

In 2019, total resource flows for development to developing countries from Development Assistance Committee donors, multilateral agencies and other key providers amounted to $400 billion, of which $164 billion was ODA.

The average global cost of sending a $200 remittance decreased from 9.3 per cent in 2011 to 6.5 per cent in 2020, bringing it closer to the international target of 5 per cent. The average annual decrease was 0.31 percentage points.

Source: Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals – E/2021/58