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

Before the pandemic hit, modest gains had been made in reducing inequality in some areas, for instance, reducing income inequality in some countries, continuing preferential trade status to lower-income countries, and reducing transaction costs of remittances. However, inequality persists in its various forms, whether income, wealth, opportunities or other dimensions. The pandemic is now exacerbating existing inequalities within and among countries and hitting the most vulnerable people and the poorest countries hardest and is projected to push back the poorest countries a full 10 years on their SDG progress. Globally, refugees were at the highest absolute number on record in 2020. Even amidst strict COVID-19 mobility restrictions across the globe, thousands of migrants died along the migratory journey.

The World Economic Outlook October 2020 estimates that COVID-19 increases the average Gini index for emerging market and developing economies by more than 6%, with an even larger impact for low-income countries.

Data from 44 countries and territories from 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 are more likely to be victims of discrimination than men. Many of those groups already experiencing higher discrimination have been further negatively impacted by COVID-19 regarding their health and socio-economic situations.

The 2019 data for financial soundness indicators showed some improvement of overall loan performance, while capital, which is the main buffer to absorb losses, remained strong despite a slight decline. The share of countries reporting non-performing loans to total loans above 5% declined from 41.9% in 2018 to 39.5% in 2019. Meanwhile, the share of countries reporting total regulatory capital to risk weighted assets above 15% declined from 84.6% in 2018 to 82.1% in 2019, but the median rose from 17.9% to 18.2% over the same period.

In 2020, 3,884 deaths and disappearances were recorded on migratory routes worldwide, with some routes seeing an increase in fatalities. Despite COVID-19 and mobility restrictions on 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 became refugees due to war, conflict, persecution, human rights violations and events seriously disturbing public order had grown to 24 million, the highest absolute number on record. Globally, for every 100,000 persons, 307 are refugees outside their country of origin – a figure that has more than doubled since the end of 2010.

Globally, in 2019, 54% of the 111 Governments with data reported to have instituted a comprehensive set of policy measures to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people -- meaning that they have policy measures that satisfy the criteria for the indicator covering a wide range of policy categories. The degree to which these policy measures were reported, however, varies widely across policy domains -- from the highest proportions reporting policy measures on “cooperation and partnerships” and “safe, orderly and regular migration” to the lowest proportions reporting policy measures covering “migrant rights” and “socioeconomic well-being”.

From 2017 to 2020, the proportion of products exported by LDCs and developing countries that receive duty free treatment has remained stagnant at 66% and at 52%, respectively.

In 2019, total resource flows for development to developing countries from DAC donors, multilateral agencies and other key providers were $400 billion, of which $164 billion were ODA.

The global average cost of sending $200 remittance decreased from 9.3% in 2011 to 6.5% in 2020, which is closer to the international target of 5%. The average annual decrease was 0.31 percentage points.

Source: Advance unedited copy of 2021 report of the Secretary-General on Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals