Income distribution statistics released by TurkStat indicate that income inequality in Turkey has reached a record high for many years. The Gini coefficient, which shows that income inequality decreases as it approaches zero, rose from its lowest level of 0.391 in 2014 to 0.433 in 2023, the reference year of 2022, indicating the most unjust income distribution in the 2006-based series. The sharp deterioration in income inequality has been particularly striking in the last two years. The share of income received by the wealthiest 20 percent approached 50 percent. It was noteworthy that the income distribution deteriorated further as the deciles became smaller.
In the distribution of annual household disposable income by 5 percent groups, only the share of the wealthiest group increased in the last two years, while the share of the remaining 95 percent decreased. In the last 10 years, the share of the highest 5 percent income group increased 11.6 times compared to the income of the lowest 5 percent and rose 31 times.
According to TurkStat’s income distribution index, the share of the richest 20 percent of the population in the share of income by 20 percent groups increased by 1.8 points compared to the previous year and reached 49.8 percent. This rate means that the richest 20 percent of the population earns as much income as the remaining 80 percent.
According to TurkStat data, the share of the richest 20 percent has increased in all years except 2019. According to the 2023 population, 16.6 million people in Turkey earn as much income as the remaining 68.7 million people. Looking at the data for the top 10 percent, about 8.3 million people earn about a quarter (24.3 percent) of the total income. The remaining 75 percent is shared by 77 million people.
The TurkStat income distribution survey measures income levels in the previous year. Therefore, 2023 data shows the income level in 2022. In 2023, the deterioration in income distribution is likely to increase due to high inflation. The extent to which the increases in pensions and the minimum wage can eliminate this distorting effect will be seen in the data to be announced next year.
Gini coefficient deteriorated by 10% in 10 years
The Gini coefficient, which shows the deterioration in income distribution, continued to increase compared to the previous year and became 0.433. The Gini coefficient is based on indices created to measure income distribution. This coefficient takes a value between 0 and 1. As it approaches zero, it is concluded that income distribution improves, while as it approaches 1, it is concluded that it deteriorates. The Gini coefficient increased from 0.391 in 2013 to 0.433 in 2022. Except for the short-term improvement in 2019, income distribution deteriorated in all periods between 2013 and 2022. The Gini coefficient deteriorated by 10.7 percent compared to 2013.