New study: Top 1 percent own half the world’s wealth

A new study by Swiss-based global financial services company Credit Suisse reveals that the richest 1 percent of the world’s population own over half the wealth, the Guardian reports.

Tuesday’s Credit Suisse global wealth report found that the top 1 percent’s share of global wealth jumped from 42.5 percent during the 2008 financial crisis to 50.1 percent in 2017–suggesting a recovering economy is at least partially responsible for the change.

A new study finds that the top 1 percent of the world’s population own 50 percent of global wealth.

The Swiss bank notes the improvement in the fortunes of the extremely wealthy, and relates it to growing “wealth inequality.”

“The share of the top 1% has been on an upward path ever since [the crisis], passing the 2000 level in 2013 and achieving new peaks every year thereafter. … global wealth inequality has certainly been high and rising in the post-crisis period.”

But the figures indicate it isn’t just established wealthy households that are reaping the benefits of an improved economy. According to the study, 2.3 million new millionaires have been created over the last year, bringing the total global millionaire count to 36 million.

“The number of millionaires, which fell in 2008, recovered fast after the financial crisis, and is now nearly three times the 2000 figure,” Credit Suisse wrote.

Moreover, ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs)–those who have a net worth at or above $50 million–has increased at a faster rate.

“The number of millionaires has increased by 170% [since 2000], while the number of UHNWIs has risen five-fold, making them by far the fastest-growing group of wealth-holders,” the report reads.

Millionaires make up 0.7 percent of the world’s population and own 46 percent of the world’s $280tn.

By contrast, the 3.5 billion poorest adults in the world–approximately 70 percent of the world’s working-age population–have assets of less than $10,000. That amounts to just 2.7 percent of the global wealth.

Credit Suisse chairman Urs Rohner, says millennials face the greatest hurdles in overcoming the wealth gap.

“With baby boomers occupying most of the top jobs and much of the housing, millennials are doing less well than their parents at the same age, especially in relation to income, home ownership and other dimensions of well-being assessed in this report.”

Rohner went on to say:

“We expect only a minority of high achievers and those in high demand sectors such a s technology or finance to effectively overcome the ‘millennial disadvantage.'”

A large proportion of the low-wealth population consists of young people, the study finds.

Oxfam, an international coalition of charitable organizations united against global poverty, cited the Credit Suisse study as evidence of the need for government policies that address the “huge gulf between the haves and the have-nots.”

The study isn’t a mandate for the left’s favored wealth redistribution policies. But liberal groups like Oxfam are likely to use the data to support their agenda by failing to make important distinctions.

For example, the report looks at wealth on a global scale, which means it lumps together people in affluent nations like the US with people in developing countries.

While the citizens of such nations have less wealth and income than their counterparts in the US, they also have drastically lower costs of living.

Indeed, Credit Suisse notes that the “poor” are mostly found in developing countries. More than 90 percent of adults in India and Africa have less than $10,000 in assets. This skews the average for the rest of the world.

Rohner also states that “those with low wealth tend to be disproportionately found among the younger age groups, who have had little chance to accumulate assets.”

What this means is that a large percentage of the globe’s low-wealth consists of people who would be expected not to have significant wealth–because they are young. But as they grow older, they potentially begin to accumulate more.

As always, fact-checking is important to keep socialists at bay.


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