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Discrimination & Inequality

One method for identifying patterns of discrimination with data is comparing different demographic groups within the same dataset (e.g. ethnicity, gender, age, income, urban vs rural, religion, caste, etc.) While the existence of a disparity will not, on its own, indicate discrimination, it is an important part of a contextual analysis concerning discrimination. This kind of analysis can be done with any dataset containing demographic variables relevant under human rights law.

However, where demographics are concerned, data may be affected by bias for a variety of reasons. Different groups may respond to different survey methods differently, for instance, in a phone vs web survey, or if a survey is presented in only one language. Demographic categories may also not reflect the nuance of a population’s self-identification. Data collection is further complicated where social stigma or repressive policies are concerned.

Concerning wealth disparities, the World Income Inequality Database contains data about income inequality for countries in all development groups. The OECD Income Distribution Database includes data about average and median household incomes, relative poverty rates, and Gini coefficients across a large number of countries.