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Turkey’s income distribution gap widened in 2023

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The portion of total income going to the wealthiest 20 percent of the population in Turkey increased to 49.8 percent, local media reported on Monday, citing data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).

According to Income Distribution Statistics, 2023, published by TurkStat on its website on Monday, the wealthiest 20 percent of the population saw their share of total income rise from 48 percent in 2022 to 49.8 percent last year. During the same period the portion of total income for the poorest 20 percent decreased from 6 percent to 5.9 percent.

The Gini coefficient, one of the measures of income inequality that varies between 0 indicating complete equality and 1 indicating complete inequality, was estimated at 0.433 with an increase of 0.018 points compared with 2022, TurkStat said.

The statistics further showed that the mean annual household disposable income was TL 167,983 ($5,535) in 2023, with an increase of 70.7 percent compared to a year earlier, whereas the mean annual equivalent household disposable income increased by 72.3 percent compared to 2022, from TL 48,642 ($1,602) to TL 83,808 ($2,761).

Turkey ranked last among 36 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries and 74th among 161 countries in total in the 2022 Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index, which reviewed the spending, tax and labor policies and actions of 161 governments during the 2020–2022 period.

Over the past several years Turkey has been suffering from backsliding in its economy, with high inflation and unemployment as well as a poor human rights record. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is criticized for mishandling the economy, emptying the state’s coffers and establishing one-man rule in the country where dissent is suppressed and opponents are jailed on politically motivated charges.

The country’s official annual inflation rate ticked up to 64.77 in December, from 61.98 percent in November.

The rate reached a decades-long high of 85 percent in October 2022 and then fell off before resuming a steady climb.

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