Richest 1% owns half the world’s wealth: Credit Suisse


The annual world’s wealth report by Credit Suisse financial group was recently released. For the first time in history, the top 1% of the world’s richest now owns 50% of all the wealth. And I bet they’re working hard to get the rest, lol. 😀 Here are some of the highlights I found interesting from the report. Wealth is defined as the value of net assets including property and stock market investments. Everything is in $US unless otherwise specified.

At a Glance

  • In total, global households have $250 trillion (an amount equal to 100 times JP Morgan’s assets.)
  • There are 34 million millionaires in the world. They make up 0.7% of the world’s adult population.
  • Wealth inequality was actually falling before the financial crisis but has increased every year since 2008. Median wealth has stagnated in the U.S. while the country created 903 new millionaires between 2014 and 2015.
  • 71% of the world’s population (3.4 billion adults) have less than $10,000.
  • Global wealth could reach $345 trillion by mid-2020, 38% above its mid-2015 level.


The Upper Class

  • There are 123,800 people in the world with a net worth exceeding $50 million. Of these, 44,900 are worth at least $100 million, and 4,500 have assets above $500 million. 😯
  • There are 984,000 millionaires in Canada.
  • Canada has a disproportionate number of millionaires as Canadians represent 0.6% of the global population but make up 3% of the world’s 1% wealthiest.
  • Having $68,800 would secure you a place in the top 10% of the world’s wealthiest.
  • The top 1% have at least $759,900.
  • Millionaires from just about every country saw their collective wealth decline last year, but the main factor was the rise of the U.S. dollar, which made wealth denominated in other currencies look comparatively smaller.

Here’s the full press release from Credit Suisse.

This year’s report focuses on the middle classes, as defined by personal wealth rather than profession. It says 14% of adults worldwide are middle class, with $50,000 to $500,000 of assets. From 2008 onwards, wealth growth has not allowed the middle-class to keep pace with population growth. Furthermore, the distribution of wealth gains has shifted in favor of those at higher wealth levels. So if you want to benefit from this trend, or at least make your financial life easier, simply get your net worth above the middle-class range. 🙂

Random Useless Fact:

Mosquito bite? Press a hot spoon onto the spot. The heat will destroy the protein that caused the reaction and the itching will stop.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Finance Journey
10/16/2015 8:36 am

Great stats Liquid,

“Having $68,800 would secure you a place in the top 10% of the world’s wealthiest”. I am so glad that I secure my position in the 10% of the world’s wealthiest 😀 .

People who work hard in a smart way and have the right mind set become millionaires. The people who blame those millionaires become poor.


Sherry @ Save. Spend. Splurge.
10/16/2015 9:17 am

I just realized that if that net worth is by household, I think I’m in the top 1%…

Never occurred to me. Individually though, I am not.

10/17/2015 7:45 am

“There are 984,000 millionaires in Canada.” Misleading. Firstly, the report accounts for adults population only. You cannot omit a section of data just because it may not contain a significant enough weight. That would be like claiming lottery winners or African Americans are not really millionaires because there are so few of them. Lies, damn lies, and statistics. Secondly, and perhaps more damning, is the report includes principal residence in the net worth calculation. With the average Canadian house priced around $450,000, and with the majority of millionaires in the $1,000,000 range, housing makes up a big chunk of their wealth. Calculating non-principal residence net worth gives a much clearer, and correct, picture. Capgemini (w/RBC) also publishes a “World Wealth Report”, but they exclude “primary residence” in their calculations. This results in a much lower (and more realistic) Canadian millionaire count of ~330,000. Thus adjusting the rate from 3% down to 1%. Why is this significant? Because if your financial advisor at the bank tells you that you need $1,000,000 to retire…ask him how he intends to do that for you when 99% of the population have failed. Perhaps Picketty’s assumption is correct — the middle-class is an anomaly and… Read more »

10/18/2015 5:52 am

Even 10 years ago! I have “millionaire” family in Vancouver who have seen their house price rise 12%/yr for the last decade.

House owners can access that home equity wealth via a HELOC, but then again, it’s costing them to use their own money.

Owning a house isn’t really all it’s been hyped up to be.

10/17/2015 8:18 am

For an even more eye-opening view of who really owns and controls the world’s wealth, read this:

A little dated, but the gist remains the same.

10/17/2015 8:33 am
Reply to  Anon

Addendum: why is this analysis significant? If you want an unsinkable index fund, what better way to construct a solid long-term portfolio than to own shares of companies that own and control almost everything in the world!

10/17/2015 9:33 am

I’m 1/3 of the way to being in the 1%! Hoping to add another millionaire to the statistics in Canadian in the next decade. Ya wanna race to it?

10/17/2015 9:51 am

“Having $68,800 would secure you a place in the top 10% of the world’s wealthiest.”
That is a sad thing to think about really, I mean yes that is A LOT of money but if you really think about it the entire worlds population consists of mostly people who have been working 10 to 40 years and if in that time frame they are unable to save that amount then that is a tremendous problem. If all you did was max out your IRA you would have that amount of money easily saved just in that.

10/17/2015 12:32 pm
Reply to  Tyler

Um….dear Tyler, are you forgetting that “the entire worlds population consists mostly of people who have been working 10 to 40 years” and will have each earned much less than $68,800 in totality!

Classic Americancentric mentality.

10/18/2015 5:58 am

Average: $1,500
Median: $10,000(?)

The non-rich are highly wage dependent, whereas the rich are highly asset dependent = the reason millionaire growth is very slow (compared to population growth) and why the inequality gap keeps growing.

10/18/2015 1:21 pm

According to the most recent Global Wage Report “The estimated world average monthly wage is about US$ (PPP) 1,600.”

Not sure we’ll ever have accurate data, ballpark at best.

10/17/2015 10:02 am

Do you know what is the cut off point for belonging to the top 5% of world net worthers? I am way above the top 10% cutoff but way below the 1%, so I’m hoping you can tell me the 5% cut off. Thank you!