Grotesque Disparity. Richest two percent own half of global assets

(LIP-wb) — The numbers of a new United Nations study are staggering although everyone knows the problem: The poorer half of mankind possesses only 1 % of the total global income and real estate fortune. More than half of the world-wide assets is in the hand of 2 % of the world’s population.

If you look at the richest 10% in the world, these people own 85 % of the entire global real estate and money resources. "Grotesquely, the super rich have become even richer compared to their already mind-boggling wealth 50 years ago”, explained Anthony Shorrocks, director of the World Institute for Development Economics Research (Wider) of the UN yesterday. In other words: if the population on Earth was reduced to ten human beings, it would mean that one person owns 99 dollars and the remaining nine one dollar.

The study, the first world-wide research on this topic, also shows that from a geographical perspective, prosperity is also unequally distributed. “Wealth is very strong in North America, Europe and a few Asian-Pacific countries concentrating high incomes. Citizens of these countries own together almost 90 % of all global properties”, according to the results.

More than half of the people belonging to club that represents the richest one percent live in North America or the United States. “The USA and Japan stick out,because many rich people live there. The average wealth is also very high in Switzerland and in Luxembourg, even though their population is rather very small”, Shorrocks said.

In Japan the average wealth was registered with 181,000 dollar per head, in the United States about 144,000 dollar. If you own more than 2200 dollar, you belong to the richer half of mankind, according to the study. At the lower end the list you can find countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia, where the average is below 200 dollar per person.

The study is based on numbers from the year 2000, but a current comparison should confirm this data.

–>> read/download the complete study here <<– (WIDER press release, pdf file (254kb)