© 2007 Population Reference Bureau
2007 WORLD POPULATION DATA SHEET
WORLD POPULATION HIGHLIGHTS
Levels of Income Inequality VaryAround the World.
The Gini index is the most common measure of income inequality. It isconstructed so that zero corresponds to perfect income equality (thatis, everyone has the same income), while 100 corresponds to perfectincome inequality (that is, one person has all the income while everyoneelse has none). The median value of the Gini index across the world’scountries is 39.The United States has a Gini index of 41, above the level of most indus-trialized countries and reﬂecting its greater income inequality. Amongdeveloping countries, the Gini index varies from below 40 (India, BurkinaFaso) to above 50 (Zambia, Bolivia). Greater income inequality is associ-ated with weakened social cohesion and worse health status. Incomeinequality appears to increase, at least in the short term, in countries thatare innovating and growing rapidly economically. Countries can inﬂuencetheir levels of income inequality through policies affecting taxation, publictransfer programs, education, and migration.
World Bank, World Development Indicators, online database (http://publications.worldbank.org/WDI/, accessed May 25, 2007).
Long a Problem in IndustrializedCountries, Obesity Is a Problemin the Developing World.
Globally, at least 1 billion adults are overweight (body mass index, orBMI, exceeding 25), with about 300 million of those adults consideredobese (BMI of 30 or greater). While obesity has long been a problemin industrialized countries, levels are rising in many developing coun-tries as well. For example, one-fourth of Mexican men and one-thirdof Mexican women are considered obese. Similarly, obesity rates are21 percent for Moroccan women and 35 percent for South Africanwomen—signiﬁcantly greater than the rates for women in many indus-trialized nations.
World Health Organization, WHO Global InfoBase Online, CountryComparable Data (http://infobase.who.int, accessed June 15, 2007).