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Closer look to income inequality in Kazakhstan

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

Income inequality is a persistent issue that plagues economies around the world, and Kazakhstan is no exception. While Kazakhstan has experienced significant economic growth and development since gaining independence in 1991, distribution of it is increasing subtly.


 

  • Gini Coefficient

One of the widely used measures of income inequality is the Gini coefficient, which ranges from 0 (perfect equality) to 100 (perfect inequality). According to data from the World Economics, Kazakhstan's Gini coefficient has shown fluctuations over the years but generally indicates a moderate level of income inequality. In Kazakhstan's Gini coefficient was around 58.8 in 2019, which is lower than the global average but still indicative of significant disparities in income distribution.

  • Urban vs. Rural Divide

Income inequality in Kazakhstan is often characterized by a stark divide between urban and rural areas. Urban centers like Almaty and Nur-Sultan enjoy higher income levels and greater economic opportunities, while rural regions, where a significant portion of the population resides, tend to face greater challenges in terms of access to education, healthcare, and employment.

  • Wage Disparities

Data from the Kazakhstan Statistics Committee revealed significant wage disparities within the country. In the 2nd quarter of 2023, the average monthly nominal wage in Kazakhstan was approximately 365 502 tenge tenge, but this average masks considerable variation. Workers in sectors such as finance, oil and gas, and technology tend to earn substantially higher wages than those in agriculture, education, or healthcare.

  • Regional Disparities

Income inequality also manifests itself at the regional level. Some regions of Kazakhstan, particularly those rich in natural resources, have seen substantial economic growth and higher incomes, while others, often in less resource-rich areas, lag behind. For instance, the Atyrau Region, home to Kazakhstan's oil industry, has significantly higher average incomes compared to regions in the southern part of the country.

  • Gender Pay Gap

Gender inequality is an additional dimension of income inequality in Kazakhstan. Women in Kazakhstan often face wage disparities and underrepresentation in decision-making positions. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), Kazakhstan ranked 62nd out of 146 countries in terms of gender equality, highlighting the need for more inclusive policies and initiatives.


Income inequality remains a complex and multifaceted issue in Kazakhstan. While the country has made strides in improving its overall economic development, addressing income inequality should be a priority for policymakers in order for our country to reach higher standard of living. Initiatives aimed at reducing the urban-rural income gap, promoting equal pay for equal work, and investing in education and healthcare in underserved regions are critical steps toward creating a more equitable society. Monitoring income distribution through measures like the Gini coefficient and implementing targeted policies can help Kazakhstan move closer to achieving economic and social justice for all its citizens.

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