November 22, 2023
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What’s new about inequality in South and Southeast Asia in 2023?

The 2023 update of the World Inequality Database includes new findings for South and Southeast Asia, with a focus on Thailand.

  • Levels of inequality vary widely across South and Southeast Asia:
    • In the most unequal countries such as India, Maldives, and Thailand, the richest 10% earn more than half of the national income;
    • Bangladesh, Nepal, Singapore have lower levels of inequality where the richest 10% earn about 35% of the national income;
    • And in between, countries like as Indonesia, Pakistan, Vietnam have the richest 10% of the population earning between 40-50% of the national income.
  • This year, the new estimates for Thailand from 2017-2022 show that:
    • Income inequality levels in Thailand remain amongst the highest in the world: the richest 10% of the population now earn just over half of the total national income, while the bottom half of the population earns about 10% of total income.
    • The income distribution patterns, which seemed to be moving more in favour of the bottom 50% after 2001, reversed after 2019. This is most likely due to Covid-19 and how the lockdown affected the labour market through informal labour, especially in the service and tourism sector. This aspect will be further explored in a forthcoming working paper to be released soon.




  • Thanasak Jenmana, PhD candidate working on data for Thailand: thanasak.jenmana[at]
  • Nitin Kumar Bharti, South and South East Asia coordinator:[at]


  • Media enquiries: Alice Fauvel, Communications Manager,, +33(0)763918168 , press[at]