Thursday, December 07, 2006

Distribution of Wealth Across the World.

Here are some interesting figures I read in the Financial Times a couple days ago about how personal wealth is unevenly distributed across the world.The figures were compiled by the World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University (UNU-Wider)

  • The richest 2% of adults own more than 50% of the world’s assets
  • The poorest half hold only 1 per cent of wealth
  • Not surprisingly, almost 90% of the world’s wealth is held in North America, Europe and high-income Asian and Pacific countries, such as Japan and Australia.
  • North America has 6% of the world’s adult population and 34% of household wealth.

Differences in rich countries:

  • In the U.S. the top 10% hold 70% of the country’s wealth
  • In France, the top 10% hold 61% of the country’s wealth
  • In the U.K. , the top 10% hold 56% of the country’s wealth
  • In Germany, the top 10% hold 44% of the country’s wealth
  • In Japan the top 10% hold 39% of the country’s wealth

Who would have thought that France should be less egalitarian than Britain!.

Now if you have more than $2,200 (1,6549 Euros) of assets, you are in the top half of the global wealth league table, and if you have more than $61,000 (45,8854 Euros) you are in the top 10%.
And to make it to the top 1%, you need $500,000 (
376,3505 Euros).

NOTE: The FT warns us rightfully that wealth is difficult to measure “even in the most advanced countries”, so those figures must be taken with a grant of salt. They’re just indications.


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