Levels & Distribution Of Wealth Around the World

The Credit Suisse Research Institute’s Global Wealth Report 2021 looks at levels and distribution of wealth around the world. Here are a few snapshots and comments from the report.

The Global Wealth Pyramid 2020

  • A person needed net assets of:
    • just USD 7,552 to be among the wealthiest half of world citizens at end-2020,
    • USD 129,624 to be a member of the top 10% of global wealth holders, and
    • USD 1,055,337 to belong to the top 1%.
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Here’s a summary of the wealth pyramid from the report:

  • Wealth below USD10,000 in 2020 represented 55% of all adults in the world
  • Wealth in the middle class range of USD 10,000–100,000 trebled in size…reflecting the growing prosperity of emerging economies, especially China, and the expansion of the middle class in the developing world, and the average wealth of this group was USD 33,414, slightly less than half the level of average wealth worldwide…
  • Wealth in the upper-middle segment range of USD 100,000 to USD 1 million, has also expanded significantly this century…with net assets totaling…39.1% of global wealth, which is nearly four times their share of the adult population. The middle class in developed nations typically belong to this group.
  • Wealth of the top tier of high net worth (HNW) individuals (i.e. USD millionaires) now numbers 56 million, or 1.1% of all adultsand their share of global wealth has risen from 35% to 46%

Data By Region

What about if we look by region? This next figure is perhaps a little harder to think about.

  • The horizontal axis shows the percentile in the global wealth distribution.
  • The vertical axis shows the location of people in each region in that wealth distribution.
  • The top panel shows the data for 2000.
  • The second panel shows data for 2020, so you can see the shift. For example, back in 2000 the bulk of China’s population was in the 40th-80th percentiles of the global wealth distribution By 2020, China has much larger share in the 60th-95th percentiles

Data By Country

Finally, here’s some data by country…shows the share of people in a given country who are millionaires. Remember, this is a measure of millionaires by wealth, not income. Wealth includes, for example, the savings accumulated in a retirement account and the equity in your home. Thus, this table does not say that 8.8% of Americans have $1 million in income last year. It says that when you add up retirements accounts, real estate equity, and other financial assets, 8.8% of Americans have more than $1 million in wealth. Presumably a disproportionate number of the people in this group are retired, and would have much less than $1 million in annual income.

Editor’s Note:  The above version of the original article by Timothy Taylor, has been edited ([ ]) and abridged (…) for the sake of clarity and brevity to ensure a fast and easy read.  The author’s views and conclusions are unaltered and no personal comments have been included to maintain the integrity of the original article.  Furthermore, the views, conclusions and any recommendations offered in this article are not to be construed as an endorsement of such by the editor. Also note that this complete paragraph must be included in any re-posting to avoid copyright infringement.

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