We do not publish estimates of the global income distribution. In order to calculate the income distribution for a region or the world, data would need to be collected through uniform surveys across all countries in the region or the world. Such data are not presently available. Income distribution by country, currently published by the World Bank, is calculated using data from nationally representative household surveys. Because the underlying household surveys differ in method and type of data collected, the income distribution data are not strictly comparable across countries. These problems are diminishing as survey methods improve and become more standardized, but achieving strict comparability is still not possible.
Two sources of noncomparability should be noted in particular:
- First, the surveys can differ whether they use income or consumption expenditure as the living standard indicator. The distribution of income is typically more unequal than the distribution of consumption. In addition, the definitions of income differ among surveys.
- Second, households differ in size (number of members) and in the extent of income sharing among members.
Note: Poverty aggregates can be calculated using PovcalNet.