Income distribution generally affects national and ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples in an adverse manner. In many countries the poorest sector the population coincides with these social and ethnic groups that experience discrimination.
It has been estimated that the percentage of the world population considered a minority at risk is about 17 per cent. It is not a coincidence that countries with a large population at risk also have substantial conflict, some violent and some not violent.
In Latin America, the indigenous peoples are the most discriminated against and are thus the poorest sector of the population, estimated conservatively in 1990 at 11% of the population. The question of income distribution is closely bound up the ethnic discrimination suffered by the indigenous peoples.
In the western democracies, the USA and Japan, an estimate of 10.8% refers generally to the ethnic minorities produced by migration and grant workers, who are often, or generally, among the poorest sectors of the population and usually experience strong discrimination in work, income, education and culture. Millions of illegal migrants in the developed countries have jobs, although they are generally paid less and do not have social security. It has been argued that that these migrants are an economic necessity for the developed countries.
Ethnic minorities historically have faced economic discrimination, political repression, and violence.