Income inequality and religion globally 1970–2050


  • Jose Navarro Columbia University
  • Vegard Skirbekk Columbia University, New York & Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo


Income distribution, Demography, Economics -- Social aspects, Social conflict


Economic inequality is a paramount issue for the future of global affairs and interreligious relations. This study contributes to the field by providing the first ever estimates of global inequality by religion. We combine estimations and projections of religious compositions and distribution of income by age and sex across the world between 1970 and 2050. Understanding economic inequality from a religious dimension can contribute to decreasing tension, creating targeted pol-icies and reducing the risks of social upheaval and conflict.

We find that in societies with higher proportions of religiously unaffiliated populations, income distribution is more equal than in religious ones. We also describe the inequality of distribution of income within religious groups and find that Christian and Jewish societies tend to be the most unequal, while inequality has risen substantially across all societies, concomitant with strong economic growth. Societies formed of Muslim, Hindu and unaffiliated populations are among the more equal ones. Muslim societies have experienced the highest rise in income inequality of all religions since 1990.




How to Cite

Navarro, J., & Skirbekk, V. (2018). Income inequality and religion globally 1970–2050. Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis, 28, 175–199.