Monday, March 27, 2017

Recent Global Wealth Report shows US most unequal

Figures released by the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Reports for November 2016 show that the US remains the fourth highest in mean wealth per adult at $344,692 after Switzerland, Iceland and Australia.

However, the United States dropped from 25th to 27th in median wealth per adult since the 2014 figures. The median now per adult is $44,977. While the figures show that the US is getting wealthier it is also increasing in inequality. One measure of inequality is the ratio between the mean and median wealth per adult. The 2017 Credit Suisse report can be found here.
The relatively low level of the median wealth shows that many Americans simply do not have adequate resources for retirement. Many will be particularly hard hit when their income drops precipitously when they retire. As many as 49% of private sector workers in the US have no retirement plan at all. If Social Security is cut as many Republicans want, there could be a great deal of poverty among seniors.
Ranked according to inequality based on the ratio of median to mean income the United States comes first. The median income is $44,977 and the mean is $344,692 or a ratio of 7.66. Number 2 is Denmark with median $52,279 and mean $259,816 for a ratio on 4.97. Canada was ranked 8th with a ratio of 2.80. The United States ratio is 50 percent higher than the next highest rate and over two and a half times that of Canada which is only 8th of 29 that are ranked.
The Report notes that wealth inequality is increasing across the globe:The report further establishes that wealth inequality, measured by the share of the wealthiest 1 percent and wealthiest 10 percent of adults, as compared to the rest of the world's adult population, continues to rise. While the bottom half collectively own less than 1 percent of total wealth, the wealthiest top 10 percent own 89 percent of all global assets.
The top one per cent alone own 51 percent of the world's total wealth.
The report also shows that emerging economies are contributing a larger percentage to world wealth. In 2000 they contributed only 12 percent but in 2016 they contributed almost 25 percent. Emerging nations are also home to 18 percent of those with ultra-high net worth. China alone accounts for 9 percent of this group, a much larger percentage than France, Germany or the United Kingdom. In 2016 Switzerland had a total household wealth of $3.5 trillion or 1.4 percent of global assets while it is has only 0.1 percent of global population.


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