Bulgaria has highest income inequality in EU – and the one that has worsened most

The highest increase in income equality in an EU country was in Bulgaria, while the country also has the highest inequality in the distribution of income, according to figures released on April 25 by EU statistics agency Eurostat.

Income inequality is shown, in technical terms, as “the quintile share ratio is the proportion of the total equivalised disposable income received by the 20 per cent of the population with the highest income (top quintile) to that received by the 20 per cent of the population with the lowest income (lowest quintile).”

Citing data from 2016, Eurostat said that in the EU, there were wide inequalities in the distribution of income.

“In the EU, the top 20 per cent of the population (with the highest income) received 5.2 times as much income as the bottom 20 per cent.”

The largest increase was in Bulgaria (from 6.5 in 2008 to 8.2 in 2017, or +1.7), Italy (+1.1), Spain and Lithuania (both +1.0).

This ratio varied considerably across EU countries, from 3.5 in the Czech Republic and 3.6 in Slovenia, Slovakia and Finland, to 6.0 or more in Bulgaria (8.2), Lithuania (7.1), Romania (7.0 in 2017), Spain and Greece (both 6.6), Latvia and Italy (both 6.3).

Compared to 2008, Latvia registered the largest decrease in the income inequality ratio (from 7.3 in 2008 to 6.3 in 2017, a decrease of 1), followed by the United Kingdom (-0.5), Belgium and Poland (both -0.3), Eurostat said.

The release of the figures by Eurostat comes two days after the release of the findings of an EU-wide poll by Eurobarometer, which said that nine out of 10 Bulgarians saw differences in people’s incomes as too large.



The Sofia Globe staff

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