Gini Coefficient: Portugal between the European countries with more unequal income distribution


In 2012, Portugal with a Gini Coefficient of 34,2%, continues to be above the EU-28 average (30,5%) and is one of the European countries where income distribution is more unequal, next with Bulgaria (35,4%), Latvia (35,2%), Lithuania (34,6%) and Greece (34,4%).

Among the EU member countries, Slovakia has now the lowest Gini Coefficient (24,2%), followed by Slovenia (24,4%), Czech Republic (24,6%) and Sweden (24,9). In all the countries considered in Figure 1, Serbia is the most unequal (38%) and Norway the least (22,7%) – between them is a difference of 15,4 percentage points.

Cases that stand out regarding the year before: the Gini coefficient in the United Kingdom (30,2%) and Slovakia (24,2%) decreased by 1,1 percentage points – recording the largest improvement of all these countries. In the opposite situation, Lithuania (34,6%), Luxembourg (30,4%) and Bulgaria (35,4%) were the countries where inequalities further increased (respectively, +2,6 points, +2,4 points and 1,8 points). It should also be noted the rise of 1,4 points in Germany’s coefficient (28,3 to 29,7%) and Cyprus (from 31 to 32,4%).



Figure 2 portrays the evolution of the Gini coefficient in Portugal and EU average (EU-15 and EU-27). Between 2003 and 2009 there was a reduction of inequalities in Portugal, and the Gini coefficient decreased by 4,1 pp. However, since 2010, we are witnessing a reversal of that trend. In Figure 3, we compare the behaviour of this inequality measure in Portugal compared to that recorded in Greece and Spain. It appears that Portugal has always had a higher value of this indicator, although since 2011, it’s interesting to see that the three southern countries are experiencing similar values on this indicator. In 2012, Greece has exceeded the value of the Portuguese Gini and, in turn, Spain, after a period of rising inequality, showed signs of slight improvement (-0,5 pp).