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The Concentration of Wealth

The Boston Consulting Group recently issued a report on global wealth, Global Wealth 2013, Maintaining Momentum in a Complex World.

A few of the statistics from this report caught my attention:

  • Global Wealth ended 2012 at $135.5 trillion.
  • 39% of this wealth was held by 1% of all households.
  • The number of millionaire households rose to 13.8 million


Let’s look at the implication of doing a bit of math on these numbers.

  • The remaining 61% of wealth is $82.6 trillion
  • Divided over a world population, this is an average $12,000 per person for the rest of us.
  • Mean Wealth in the world is about $3600.
  • Total US wealth is $43 trillion, 32% of global wealth, with less than 5% of the population.
  • This divides down to an average $136K for each person in the US, but even this is concentrated at the top so most have much less.

An interesting report to me. It helps put into perspective how rich the US is when compared to the rest of the world, and within the US how wealth is concentrated among the select few. How you pondered these numbers? Were you surprised, or was it what you’d expect?

  • Financial Independence June 7, 2013, 5:44 am

    I think expression “number of millionaires” is not an adequate comparison. The thing came from late 70-ies. In nowadays it is probably equivalent of $ 13-15 million.
    A lot of the people live in the houses or apartments which cost $ 400,000- 1,000,000 . It just simply reflects inflation and lowering value of money.
    What I think it does not reflect is amount of money wealthy individuals and corporations are keeping abroad /outside the US. The figure could easily be doubled, at least.

  • Simon | Modest Money June 14, 2013, 4:30 pm

    I think what’s shocking about this numbers is that almost half the worlds wealth rest in the hands of a very few people. The gap between the very rich and the very poor is quite wide and widening! Not entirely a good thing in my opinion. I believe there ought to be some sort of mechanisms to ensure a more equitable distribution of wealth.

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