Via Dean Esmay and Charles Hill, I see that my annual income puts me easily into the top 1% of the global population, at least according to the calculations available here: Global Rich List. This is certainly not surprising, given the incredible poverty in which the vast majority of the world’s population finds itself. As I often say, we live in one of the few places in the world where poor people are fat.
That said, I find the methodology rather dubious, since it does not take into account cost of living issues or expenses. I’m about to move into a townhouse that costs over three times what I sold a comparable single family home for when I left Alabama. So, while my “wealth” has increased in terms of both income and the value of my home, it’s largely static. Also, my income would provide a lot less “wealth” if I were in poor health and having to spend a lot of money on medication or if I had children or aging parents to support. The calculator takes none of that into consideration.
Update (1227): Their methodology is here. My objections are not altered.
Update (1253): To clarify, my objection is in using income as the sole metric for wealth. While it has a rough utility, it is amazingly imprecise. Comparing, say, two people who make $40,000 a year, one living in Los Angeles and the other in Birmingham and saying they are exactly equal in “wealth” would be silly. For that matter, one could be phenomenally wealthy by virtue of inheritance or even retirement and have little to no “income.”