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In 2016, just 1 percent of the world's population owned more than 50 percent of the world's wealth. According to the data from the Credit Suisse Research Institute, inequlity of world wealth continues to grow every year. The Institute's assessment is based on a global analysis of national wealthdefined as the value of the financial assets plus real estate (housing) owned by the households, less their debts—and use of the Gini Index, a traditional measure of income distribution and, thereby, inequality. As noted in the Institute’s report:

  • About 3.5 billion people—or, 73 percent of the global population—own less than $10,000.
  • Another 900 million people have between $10,000 and $100,000. This group represents the main driver of growth in demand for goods and services.
  • That leaves the 65 million people globally who eacg possess more than $100,000, including 33 million multi-millionaires who control the bulk of global wealth.

An increase in wealth inequity can affect the economy of a given nation by reducing the purchasing power of the main drivers of economic growth. Which countries should be put on notice? Many.

  • While the wealth distribution of countries differs widely, the number of US millionaires, the total population of African adults with wealth under $10,000, and the share of wealth represented by the top-1 percent of Russian citizens are especially noteworthy.
  • Based on the Gini Index alone, many countries of central Europe score the best on income equality. Among the world's major economies, Japan scored the best on the Gini Index, however, the share of the country's population with wealth greater tha $100,000 is still seven times the global average.
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