Global inequality is continuing to grow as one per cent of the world’s population now controls half of its wealth, according to new report from Credit Suisse.
The bank’s Global Wealth Report 2015 found that while the ultra-rich has grown wealthier the middle-class has suffered since the global recession.
“From 2008 onwards, wealth growth has not allowed middle-class numbers to keep pace with population growth in the developing world,” said Markus Stierli, a researcher with Credit Suisse.
“Furthermore, the distribution of wealth gains has shifted in favour of those at higher wealth levels. These two factors have combined to produce a decline in the share of middle-class wealth.”
The bank calculates middle class differently depending on the country.
For the purposes of the survey Credit Suisse considers anyone worth between $50,000 and $500,000 “middle class” in the United States.
In Switzerland, the middle class starts at $72,000; in China, $28,000; in India, $13,700.
According to the bank’s numbers, there are 123,800 people in the world with a net worth exceeding $50 million in assets worldwide. Of these, 44,900 are worth at least $100 million US and 4,500 have assets above $500 million US.
There are 34 million people, with a collective net worth of at least $1 million that make up 0.7 per cent of the world’s adult population accounting for 45 per cent of the world’s wealth. If the bracket is extended to include those with less than $1 million, but still within the top 1 per cent then total wealth crosses the 50 per cent line.
In Canada, there were 1.1 million people last year worth at least $1 million US. That number dropped to 984,000 this year, thanks largely to the huge drop in the loonie.