Gallup: Income inequality circles globe

The richest 3 percent gather one-fifth of the income in a wide swathe of the world, according to new data from Gallup.

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More than half of the poorest residents of 131 countries – 54 percent in all – also collect 20 percent of household income, the polling company found.

The income inequality figures for the United States and Canada are essentially the same as the worldwide numbers – the top 4 percent control 20 percent of the income, as do the poorest 54 percent.

The rise in income inequality has become a more prominent political issue in recent years, including with the Occupy Wall Street movement’s focus on the 1 percent.

President Obama said last month that income inequality helped pose “a fundamental threat to the American Dream,” and New York’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, made the issue a central plank in his campaign last year.

Democrats are also making legislative pushes to extend long-term unemployment benefits, and to raise the minimum wage.

Gallup also found that the inequality levels were a bit flatter in Europe, with the richest 6 percent of the population controlling a fifth of the income. Fewer than 50 percent of the poorest residents also get 20 percent of the income.

Income inequality is starker in parts of Africa and Asia, where it can take roughly 60 percent of the poorest residents and just 2 percent of the richest to collect a fifth of the income.