The top 1 percent of households “account for half of all assets in the world,” according to a new report from Credit Suisse, a leading multinational bank.
The bank’s “Global Wealth Report 2015” reveals worldwide wealth inequality to have soared to a level “possibly not seen for almost a century.” As the number of “ultra-wealthy” people continues to climb, the research informs us that the poorest half of the world’s population owns just 1 percent of its assets.
As Mark Goldring, Oxfam Great Britain’s chief executive, told The Guardian, “This is the latest evidence that extreme inequality is out of control. Are we really happy to live in a world where the top 1 percent own half the wealth and the poorest half own just 1 percent?”
From The Guardian:
The middle classes have been squeezed at the expense of the very rich, according to research by Credit Suisse, which also finds that for the first time, there are more individuals in the middle classes in China – 109m – than the 92m in the US.
Tidjane Thiam, the chief executive of Credit Suisse, said: “Middle class wealth has grown at a slower pace than wealth at the top end. This has reversed the pre-crisis trend which saw the share of middle-class wealth remaining fairly stable over time.”
The report shows that a person needs only $3,210 (£2,100) to be in the wealthiest 50% of world citizens. About $68,800 secures a place in the top 10%, while the top 1% have more than $759,900. The report defines wealth as the value of assets including property and stock market investments, but excludes debt.
About 3.4 bn people – just over 70% of the global adult population – have wealth of less than $10,000. A further 1bn – a fifth of the world’s population – are in the $10,000-$100,000 range.
Each of the remaining 383m adults – 8% of the population – has wealth of more than $100,000. This number includes about 34m US dollar millionaires. About 123,800 individuals of these have more than $50m, and nearly 45,000 have more than $100m. The UK has the third-highest number of these “ultra-high net worth” individuals.
This year’s report focuses on the middle classes, as defined by personal wealth rather than profession. It says 14% of adults worldwide are middle class, with $50,000-$500,000 of assets.
But Markus Stierli, of the Credit Suisse Research Institute, said: “From 2008 onwards, wealth growth has not allowed middle-class numbers to keep pace with population growth in the developing world. Furthermore, the distribution of wealth gains has shifted in favour of those at higher wealth levels. These two factors have combined to produce a decline in the share of middle-class wealth.”
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—Posted by Roisin Davis