The inequality takes two broad forms: inequality in income and wealth, and inequality of opportunity, which results from unequal access to basic essentials such as health and education, among others.
Asia is home to an increasing number of millionaires and billionaires, with the ultra-rich in the region accumulating wealth much faster than the ultra-rich in any other part of the world. At the other end of the spectrum, the region also accounts for two-thirds of the world’s extreme poor. According to UNESCAP, despite the rapid economic growth witnessed across much of Asia, the region still has 85 million chronically malnourished children under the age of five. Eighty percent of workers are not covered by any pension scheme, and just 20 percent of the region’s population has access to affordable health care.
In China the richest 1 percent of households own a third of the country’s wealth, while the poorest 25 percent of households own just 1 percent of the wealth. In India, the top 1 percent increased its share of the country’s wealth from 36.8 percent in 2000 to a staggering 53 percent in 2016.