Richest Two Percent Own More than Half World’s Wealth
The richest two percent of the world’s population controls more than half the world’s wealth, according to a study by the World Institute for Development Economics Research of the U.N. University.
Two percent of adults have more than half of the world’s wealth, including property and financial assets, according to a study by the U.N. development research institute published on Tuesday.
The Helsinki-based institute said its study was the first global research on the topic, for which there is only limited data. “We’ve estimated that the richest 2 percent of adults own more than half of global wealth, while the bottom half own 1 percent,” said institute director Anthony Shorrocks.
By their own admission, the group is having to make educated guesses and assumptions, since the data to do this study really does not exist. Still, considering what we know about the nature of wealth distribution in developing societies, where the ruling elites typically control virtually all resources, and that there is a heavy skew even in advanced societies where we have good economic data, the findings are quite plausible.
Even more so when you see this:
According to the study, in 2000 a couple needed capital of $1 million to be among the top 1 percent on the wealth list — the richest 37 million people in the world. More than one in every two of those people lives in the United States or Japan. And it found that net assets of $2,200 per adult would put a household in the top half of the world wealth distribution.
So, virtually every American who is not currently homeless is above the median and the vast majority of the middle class are likely in the top two to three percent. The most interesting result here is not that a handful of people are incredibly rich but that the vast majority of the world’s people are incredibly poor.