Do Inequalities Increase under the Impact of the Epidemic?

by | May 5, 2021 | Global inequalities | 0 comments



By Yunbing Yang

Inequality usually occurs when there are big differences in income, wealth, and opportunities between different groups of people. As the economy grows, the Gini coefficient increased dramatically, this has led to more countries starting to pay more attention to the wealth gap and its impact on people. Due to the new coronavirus in 2020, most countries have issued rules to save people’s lives, such as the closure of nonessential businesses. Some of these rules have led to serious economic setbacks and a decline in people’s quality of life. Through this epidemic, the poor and the rich have shown great disparities through finances, and health.


The poor face more finical problems than the rich

Several UK companies have announced job cuts amid the covid-19. The unemployment rate increased sharply in 2020. For example, (Labour market overview, UK – Office for National Statistics, 2020) shows the unemployment rate was 4.5% from June to August. That means 1.5 million people were unemployed and there are 2.7 million workers claiming benefits for being out of work from March to September. This resulted in the loss of a source of livelihood for working people who could barely feed themselves. Instead, they are spending more because of the epidemic buying more protective stuff, such as masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer. Due to the lockdown policy, they will also pay more money for buying food to fill the fridge and order takeout. Therefore, the poor will spend more money because of covid-19, even some of them are facing unemployment. However, many rich believe they can get more vacation time through the epidemic and they were willing to spend more money to enjoy life for themselves and their families. For example, (Jackman, 2020) shows Charter flights are available reporting that large numbers of wealthy people are willing to pay five-figure sums to flee Europe. Several wealthy families have booked mega-super yachts to escape the epidemic and self-quarantine, at a cost of half a million a week. Therefore, although covid-19 has a huge effect on the rich, they can still live well and get a high level of life quality.


Poor people have more risk of contracting covid-19 relative to rich people

The types of work performed by the poor are different from the rich. Most poor people work in the service sector as servants, construction workers, cleaners, drivers, or security guards. Most of them can not work at home, it’s different from the rich. Wealthy people who do mental work can work from home and do self-isolation well. That makes poor people get more risk from working than the rich because they have to meet more people face-to-face during the workday. Most poor will rely on public transportation when they go to work, but rich people can drive their own cars. That causes poor people to have more dangerous than the rich because, under the covid-19, the poor can not guarantee their safety. Similarly, most poor people live in overcrowded settlements and they can not get well service from the community, which leads to a higher risk of infection for the poor. In comparison to the rich, it was harder for the poor because the rich had access to limited quality health care slots. . Rich people can also get better treatment if they have covid because they can afford the expensive medicine and get the test in advance. For example, VIPs can go to the head of the line for coronavirus tests in the US. Therefore, This widens the gap between the poor and the rich, as the rich have better opportunities than the poor.


As the poor get poorer, some of the rich people working on the Internet get richer

With the increase in the unemployment rate, most companies make layoffs in unimportant positions. More and more workers who rely on manual labor are facing unemployment, which is making their lives increasingly stressful. Even if some manual laborers can continue to be employed, their workloads still become larger. However, In the midst of the epidemic, some companies working on the web have reaped huge benefits. For example, the companies of Zoom and Tiktok, YouTube, and Netflix. As most companies or schools faced temporary closure during the epidemic, the time of people who stayed at home is longer than before. As most entertainment programs shut down, people began to spend more time on their phones, (Waghorn, 2020) shows 43% of respondents say they spend more than five hours a day on their phones. This allowed these Internet-connected industries to reap huge profits during the epidemic. Therefore, although poor people faced the finical problems, some companies are still made profit.




World Bank Blogs. 2020. COVID-19 Will Hit The Poor Hardest. Here’S What We Can Do About It. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 7 November 2020].

BBC News. 2020. Unemployment Rate Hits Highest Level In Three Years. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 9 November 2020].

Jackman, R., 2020. How The Super-Rich Self-Isolate | Spectator Life. [online] Spectator Life. Available at: <> [Accessed 7 November 2020].

World Bank Blogs. 2020. COVID-19 Will Hit The Poor Hardest. Here’S What We Can Do About It. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 7 November 2020].


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