50% of your lifetime income is determined by just one variable: your citizenship

newborn 50pc 1800-750

50% of your lifetime income is determined by just one variable: your citizenship

When it comes to inequality, birthplace is destiny. In 2012, researchers at the World Bank determined that no less than 50% of our lifetime income is determined solely by the country we live in — which, for 97% of us, is also the country we were born in.  It’s a citizenship lottery – and those of us lucky enough to be born in wealthy states are automatic winners.

This means international migration is one of the only ways in which individuals can redress the arbitrary inequalities of citizenship assigned at birth. And it works – a migrant who moves from a low-income to a high-income country can expect, on average, a 15-fold increase in income — and a 16-fold decrease in child mortality rates.