According to analysts at Credit Suisse, the world is slightly poorer this year than it was last.
They recently released the 2015 edition of their annual Global Wealth Report. You can download a full copy here, but in case you don’t feel like reading all 64 pages, some of the key findings are set out below.
Our collective net worth fell USD 12.4 trillion, to USD 250 trillion. It seems the poor bore the brunt of this wealth decline, continuing the trend of growing wealth inequality since the GFC hit in 2009.
I was very surprised to learn in last years wealth report that a net worth of US$3,650 put you among world’s wealthiest 50% of adults. This year, it takes only $3,210 to be in rich half.
If you’re worth $68,800 then you’re part of the wealthiest 10% ($77,000 last year). $759,900 puts you in the wealthiest 1% ($798,000 last year).
Quite staggering really.
A lot for a few, a little for a lot
For the first time since Credit Suisse have been compiling these reports, the world’s wealthiest 1% now own more than half of global wealth. In 2009 the estimate was 44.2% but it’s been steadily rising since then. Last year it was estimated at 48.2%. This reverses the trend of decline from 2000 to 2009.
“The rise this year takes the share of the top percentile to a level not observed since 2000 and possibly not seen for almost a century. We estimate that the top percentile now own half of all household assets in the world.”
Rebounding share markets and the resurgence of the US dollar against emerging market currencies are listed among the reasons for the trend.
The global millionaire club, represented by the yellow portion of the above wealth pyramid, lost 2.4 million members all told, down to 33.7 million. But if a closer look is taken at the top of the pyramid, it is revealed that the number of super rich increased.
For the first time ever there are more that 120,000 individuals known as UHNWI’s (Ultra High Net Worth Individuals), each worth $50 million or more.
Where the mega rich live
Almost half the world’s UHNWI’s come from the United States. China is distant second, but has been big mover over the last few years. Whether this continues in the face of a faltering economy and growing debt bubble remains to be seen.
In terms of average citizen wealth, Switzerland remains the wealthiest country on earth ($567,000). New Zealand ($400,800) bumps Australia from second spot.
Considering median figures, which favor countries with lower levels of wealth inequality, the Kiwi’s are now in the top spot ($182,600) with Australia second ($168,300).
The United States still doesn’t crack the top 10 using this measure, highlighting inequalities there. Wall Street has fared far better than Main Street from the post GFC burger flipping recovery.