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Spain shoots up the wealth disparity charts

Gap between rich and poor exceeded only by Lithuania in EU

There has always been a sizeable gap between rich and poor in Spain, but that gap has now become a chasm. Fueled by the crisis and unemployment, Spain has shot to the top of the wealth disparity charts.

The so-called Gini coefficient, which measures a nation's income differential, is a clear indication of this change. If a country scores zero on the scale, it enjoys perfect income harmony; 100 would be complete disparity. Spain received a 34 on its report card, the second-highest score among the 16 EU countries that have so far handed in their data for this year. Only Lithuania, with 35.2, exceeded Spain.

But the Gini is not the only statistic that shows Spain's ill-balanced wealth spread. Eurostat's so-called 80/20 ratio is a gauge of the relation between the 20 percent who earn most and the 20 percent who earn least. In this data Spain broke the record with a 7.5, the highest figure in the EU.