Graphic: Gates Foundation, "Examining Inequality"

Bill Gates, in an interview about a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation report on global inequality that's out Tuesday, told Axios that gender inequality cuts across every single country on earth — a shortfall that unites the U.S. and the developing world.

What he's saying: "The developed world hasn't fully solved the problem, and yet we know it's important and we know we need to work on it," Gates said by phone. "The gender issues are much worse as you get down into these poor countries."

  • As the report puts it: "No matter where you are born, your life will be harder if you are born a girl. If you are born in a poor country or district, it will be even harder."

The report's most memorable sentence: "Where you are born is more predictive of your future than any other factor."

  • The paradox: "Even in the worst-off parts of low- and low-middle-income countries, more than 99 percent of communities have seen an improvement in child mortality and schooling. Yet despite this progress, persistent gaps in opportunity mean that nearly half a billion people — about one in 15 — still do not have access to basic health and education."
  • "Inequality between countries has narrowed but remains large."

Released ahead of next week's UN General Assembly in New York, this is the Gates Foundation's third annual Goalkeepers Data Report, tracking progress on the UN Global Goals.

  • "The world is a tumultuous place even without paying attention to developing countries," Gates said. "So I think this year will be a particular challenge."

Gates told me he remains concerned about discussion in the U.S. "about turning inward."

  • But he said the data shows that the government's small amount of foreign aid, relative to the budget, is "not just guilt money that ends up not having an impact."
  • "People think, 'Hey, Africa is in tough shape,'" Gates added. "They don't realize that in terms of literacy and child survival, it's in dramatically better shape today than it has ever been."

Go deeper: Read the entire report

Go deeper

The apocalypse scenario

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic lawyers are preparing to challenge any effort by President Trump to swap electors chosen by voters with electors selected by Republican-controlled legislatures. One state of particular concern: Pennsylvania, where the GOP controls the state house.

Why it matters: Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, together with a widely circulated article in The Atlantic about how bad the worst-case scenarios could get, is drawing new attention to the brutal fights that could jeopardize a final outcome.

Federal judge rules Trump administration can't end census early

Census workers outside Lincoln Center in New York. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled late Thursday that the Trump administration could not end the 2020 census a month early.

Why it matters: The decision states that an early end — on Sept. 30, instead of Oct. 31 — would likely produce inaccuracies and thus impact political representation and government funding around the country.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
2 hours ago - Health

Where bringing students back to school is most risky

Data: Coders Against COVID; Note: Rhode Island and Puerto Rico did not meet minimum testing thresholds for analysis. Values may not add to 100% due to rounding; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Schools in Southern and Midwestern states are most at risk of coronavirus transmission, according to an analysis by Coders Against COVID that uses risk indicators developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The big picture: Thankfully, schools have not yet become coronavirus hotspots, the Washington Post reported this week, and rates of infection are lower than in the surrounding communities. But that doesn't mean schools are in the clear, especially heading into winter.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!