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, comprising wages and social protection transfers



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 that have implemented well-managed migration policies



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

Notwithstanding positive signs of reducing inequality in some dimensions, such as a reduction of relative income inequality in some countries and preferential trade status benefiting lower-income countries, inequality still persists in all forms. The COVID-19 crisis is hitting the poorest and most vulnerable people and countries the hardest and threatens to have a particularly damaging impact on the poorest countries. It is exposing the profound inequalities that exist within and among countries and is exacerbating those inequalities.

In 73 of the 90 countries with comparable data during the period 2012–2017, the bottom 40 per cent of the population saw its incomes grow. Moreover, in slightly more than half of those countries, the bottom 40 per cent experienced a growth rate in income that was higher than the overall national average. Still, in all countries with data, the bottom 40 per cent of the population received less than 25 per cent of the overall income or consumption, while the top 10 per cent received at least 20 per cent of the income.

Data from 31 countries over the period 2014–2019 show that one in five persons reported having personally experienced discrimination on at least one ground of discrimination prohibited by international human rights law. The pandemic risks exacerbating those patterns.

Of the 111 countries with available data as at September 2019, 54 per cent reported having a wide range of policy measures to facilitate the orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people. Central and Southern Asia (80 per cent) and Latin America and the Caribbean (79 per cent) reported having the highest share of countries with such policies, compared with only 33 per cent of the countries in Oceania and Northern Africa and Western Asia.

The proportion of products exported by least developed countries, developing regions and small island developing States that could enter international markets free of duty increased, from 66 to 67.4 per cent, 51.1 to 52.1 per cent and 65.4 to 66.5 per cent, respectively, from 2017 to 2018.

In 2018, total resource flows for development to developing countries from Development Assistance Committee donors, multilateral agencies and other key providers were $271 billion, of which $166 billion were ODA.

Source: Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, Report of the Secretary-General, https://undocs.org/en/E/2020/57