Worldwide wealth inequality keeps growing, with the richest 1 percent of the global population accounting for “half of all assets in the world,” according to a new report. Meanwhile, the poorest half has just 1 percent of its wealth at its disposal.
The pace of wealth growth in the middle classes has slowed down, unlike the growth of the richest people, said the Global Wealth Report issued by the Zurich-based Credit Suisse bank.
“This has reversed the pre-crisis trend which saw the share of middle-class wealth remaining fairly stable over time,” Tidjane Thiam, the chief executive of Credit Suisse wrote in the report.
“These results reinforce our findings from last year’s edition of this report, which argued that wealth inequality had widened in most countries in the years after 2008,” he added.
The number of super-rich people in the world, meaning those with a net worth of more than $50 million, went down by 800 in mid-2014 due to a stronger dollar.
There are 123,800 people worth more than $50 million, with half of them living in North America and a quarter in Europe.
“This year, the United States continued adding to global wealth at an impressive rate, with solid growth also evident in China. Elsewhere, local currency wealth gains were offset by depreciation against the US dollar, so that world wealth declined overall by USD 12.4 trillion,” the report states.
Europe saw two million people falling out of the millionaire club over the course of a year.
The US was home to the opposite trend – the number of super-wealthy there increased by 3,800 and reached 58,900 for the year until mid-2015. China’s results are far more modest with only 9,000 super-rich people. However, it still fell second.
Despite this year’s financial crisis China added $1.5 trillion to its wealth. The country has seen an impressive fivefold rise in wealth since the beginning of the century, the report says.
The UK, Germany and Switzerland are also top of the superrich list.
The US is expected to remain the richest nation over the next five years, although the level of wealth growth in Europe may overtake that of the US.
“While the bottom half of adults collectively own less than 1 percent of total wealth, the richest decile holds 87.7 percent of assets, and the top percentile alone accounts for half of total household wealth,” the report goes.
The report is aimed at the “understanding of wealth creation and its implications on consumption, retirement savings, and asset allocation,” researchers claim.
The data has been collected since 2000. This is the sixth edition of the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report.