10/10/2013 04:34 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

World's Richest 0.7% Own 13.67 Times as Much as World's Poorest 68.7%

Credit Suisse issued on October 9th their Global Wealth Report 2013, which finds that the world's richest 0.7% own 13.67 times as much as do the world's poorest 68.7%. That super-rich 0.7% (each with net-worths above $50,000,000) own 41% of the planet's private assets. The world's richest 8.4% own 83.3%. The world's richest 31.3% own 97%. So: the bottom 68.7% own just 3%. (All of these findings are calculated from the data shown on page 22.)

Economic mobility into and out of the billionaire class, during the latest ten-year period (2000-2010), is low: only 24% entered or left the class during this decade (see page 28). The U.S. was average in that regard, at 23% entering or leaving. Japan was high, at 42% mobility. Canada was extremely low, at only 12% mobility.

The number of millionaires increased during the past five years by 50% globally, and by 41% in the U.S. It rose the highest percentage in Poland (89%), China (88%), and Brazil (84%). It rose 66% in India, and 58% in Russia. (See the report's page 43.)

During this past year, "Fifteen countries registered double-digit wealth gains. ... The United States lies in the middle of this group and no longer stands out. Household wealth rose at a slightly faster rate in Uruguay, Sweden, New Zealand, Azerbaijan, and Mexico." Moreover, "The ranking by median wealth per adult is ... favoring countries with lower levels of wealth inequality. Australia (USD [$]220,000 tops the list again this year, with only Luxembourg (USD 183,000) in close contention. Median wealth in Belgium, France, Italy, the UK, and Japan lies in the USD 110,000 to 150,000 range. Switzerland, Finland and Norway have slightly lower values of around USD 95,000, but the United States is much further back, with median wealth of just USD 45,000." (Page 7.)

Whereas the average (median) person in the U.S. was far poorer than the average person in the rest of the industrialized world, this nation's richest people are so extraordinarily wealthy that our per-capita (or "mean") wealth, of $51,600, is competitive with that of other industrialized countries.

Overall: "Global wealth has reached a new all-time high, ... with the US accounting for most of the rise [due to our astronomically wealthy super-richest], ... but inequality remains high, with the top 10% of the world owning 86% of global wealth, compared to barely 1% for the bottom half of all adults" worldwide (page 4). So: the top half own 99% of the planet, and the bottom half own less than 1% of it. And much of the 99% that's owned by the top 1% is owned by Americans (especially the ones highest in the Forbes 400).

Earlier this year, in May, The Boston Consulting Group issued their study, Global Wealth 2013. It said (page 6) that, "The total number of millionaire households reached 13.8 million globally in 2012, or 0.9 percent of all households. The U.S. had the largest number of millionaire households (5.9 million), followed by Japan (1.5 million) and China (1.3 million). ... The highest density of millionaires was in Qatar, where 143 out of every 1,000 households had private wealth of at least $1 million, followed by Switzerland (116), Kuwait (115), Hong Kong (94), and Singapore (82). The U.S. had the largest number of billionaires in 2012, but the highest density of billionaire households was in Hong Kong (15.1 per million), followed by Switzerland (9.4 per million)." This report also provided (page 7) a list of the top 13 countries ranked according to their "Proportion of UHNW [Ultra-High Net Worth, or $100,000,000+] Households." The U.S. was not on this list, but here were the 13 nations, starting from the top: Hong Kong, Switzerland, Austria, Qatar, Norway, Singapore, Kuwait, Israel, Belgium, U.K., N.Z., Canada, Sweden, Denmark, and UAE.

Also, the Allianz Global Wealth Report 2013 was issued on 24 September this year. It says that, "Those countries that have set the stage for a massive increase in [government and private] debt in recent years" had "fewer people of 'high wealth' than there were at the start of the millennium," and that, "The most significant membership losses in absolute terms have hit the US, Germany, the UK and Italy." (Page 55.) Also (page 76), private wealth percentage-increases this past year were the largest in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, and U.K.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.