If you have just $4,210 to your name, you’re better off than half of people around the globe.
That’s according to the 2018 Global Wealth Report from Credit Suisse Research Institute, which also found that to be among the top 10 percent, you don’t even need six figures: A net worth of $93,170 U.S. is enough to make you richer than 90 percent of people worldwide.
It takes significantly more to join the global 1 percent, Credit Suisse reports: a net worth of $871,320.
The institute defines net worth, or “wealth,” as “the value of financial assets plus real assets (principally housing) owned by households, minus their debts.”
These numbers reflect the extreme level of persistent wealth inequality. As Credit Suisse puts it, “While the bottom half of adults collectively owns less than 1 percent of total wealth, the richest decile (top 10 percent of adults) owns 85 percent of global wealth, and the top percentile alone accounts for almost half of all household wealth (47 percent).”
The United States continues to lead the pack in the world wealth hierarchy, with the most members of the top 1 percent global wealth group. The U.S. “currently accounts for 41 percent of the world’s millionaires,” Credit Suisse reports, and, “the number of UHNW individuals with wealth above USD 50 million is about four times that of the next country, China.”
The average wealth per adult in the U.S. is $403,974, while the median wealth per adult is $61,667, significantly more than the net worth required to be among the global 50 percent.
But that doesn’t mean inequality isn’t a problem in the U.S. A separate report from the Economic Policy Institute that looks at income rather than net worth shows a massive gap between the top 1 percent of Americans earners and everyone else.
The good news is, around the world, “there are signs that wealth inequality is no longer rising,” Credit Suisse says.
The share of financial assets among many of the richest people and richest countries “peaked in 2015 and has been declining since then. In previous reports, we predicted that wealth inequality would follow suit — possibly with a slight lag — and there is evidence that this is now the case. The share of the top decile and the top 5 percent remains at the same level as in 2016, while the share of the top 1 percent has edged down from 47.5 percent to 47.2 percent, according to our best estimate.”
It’s too early to conclude that wealth inequality is on a downward trend, Credit Suisse reports, but “the prevailing evidence suggests it may well have leveled out, albeit at a very high level.”