The rich are winning the global economic recovery

What is income inequality?
What is income inequality?

The rich are winning the economic recovery.

That's according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which says in a new report that the poor -- who were hit hard by the financial crisis -- have been left behind in the global recovery.

"The fruits of the economic recovery have not been evenly shared," the OECD said Thursday.

The group found that the bottom 10% of earners in developed countries saw their real incomes fall by 16.2% between 2007 and 2010. The incomes of the top 10% fell by only 4.6% over the same period.

The recovery has also produced unequal results. Between 2010 and 2014, the incomes of the bottom 10% have risen by only 1.6% compared to the 5.2% growth rate enjoyed by the highest earners.

The end result is more income inequality. The wages earned by the top 10% had recovered to pre-crisis levels by 2014, while the same year the poorest earned 14% less than they did before the crisis.

OECD data show that the U.S. is among the most unequal countries. Americans with incomes at the top 20% are earning 8.7 times more than those in the bottom 20%.

income inequality

Nordic countries Iceland, Norway and Denmark have the lowest inequality among developed nations. There, the top 20% earn roughly 3.5 times more than the bottom 20%.

World leaders: We must tackle income inequality

World leaders agree that income inequality is a major problem. At the most recent G20 summit in China, the heads of the world's 20 biggest economies called for more action to make sure economic growth is inclusive.

In a separate study published on Thursday, the Institute of Fiscal Studies said that average earnings in the U.K. will not reach the pre-crisis levels before 2021.

A full recovery will be delayed further by the country's separation from the European Union.

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