Someone with at least $3,650 in net worth -- including the value of their home, car and investments, but excluding debt -- is among the world’s wealthiest half, while the other half owns less than 1 percent of total global wealth, according to this year’s Global Wealth Report from Credit Suisse.
North America is the richest continent. It contains only 6 percent of the world’s population, yet its people have the largest share of the world’s wealth, 34.7 percent, says the report. That’s plausible since more than 40 percent of the world’s millionaires (14.2 million millionaires) live in the United States, says the Wall Street Journal.
In addition, the United States led the way in increasing its cumulative household wealth by $8.9 trillion in the past year, says the report.
Europe is close behind in garnering a disproportionate share of wealth. Around 12.5 percent of the world lives in Europe, but they own 32.4 percent of the wealth, reports Credit Suisse.
In comparison, Africa -- the world’s poorest region -- comprises 12 percent of the global population but less than 2 percent of the world’s wealth, says the report.
The world’s wealth grew at a record pace since the recession. In the last 12 months, the total wealth of the world increased by $20.1 trillion to reach a record $263 trillion, reports the Telegraph.
But fewer people are sharing in that wealth, the report continued. The bottom half of the population owns less than 1 percent of the world’s wealth.
“Credit Suisse also noted widening gaps between the rungs of the wealth ladder: While only $3,650 would place a person in the wealthier half of the global population, $77,000 was needed to reach the top 10 percent and $798,000 to hit the top 1 percent,” reports Time magazine.
This isn’t news, according to global economist Branko Milanovic, and it’s mostly due to chance. In his book, the Haves and the Have-Nots, he says that “more than 60 percent of global income disparities can be accounted for by country of birth,” says U.S. News and World Report.
The report predicts further growth in wealth and income inequality.
According to Credit Suisse, by 2019, global wealth is expected to be 40 percent higher, reaching $369 trillion, says the Guardian. And in five years, the number of millionaires will have increased by half, from 35 million to 53 million.
In response to the report, Oxfam, a renowned international charity, released a statement pleading for global poverty awareness and action.
“In poor countries, rising inequality means the difference between children getting the chance to go to school and sick people getting life-saving medicines. This report shows that those least able to afford it have paid the price of the financial crisis whilst more wealth has flooded into the coffers of the very richest,” says Oxfam’s head of inequality, Emma Seery.
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