The gap between wealthy and poor is widening, according to a new report by the World Institute for Development Economics Research at United Nations University.
The top 1% of the population accounted for 40% of the world’s total net worth, each having a net worth of at least $500,000. The richest 2% of the population accounted for 50% of the world’s worth, and the richest 10%, who had a net worth of at least $61,000, accounted for 85%.
Meanwhile, 50% of the population owned a mere 1.1% of the world’s total worth, for an average of less than $2,200. The data was as of 2000.
What’s driving this is underdeveloped countries are failing to advance, while rich nations are enjoying economic growth.
“Developed countries have pulled ahead of the rest of the world. With the notable exception of China and India, the third world has drifted behind,” said Edward N. Wolff, a professor of economics at New York University and co-author of the study.
For example, the average wealth of an American citizen in 2000 was $144,000, while in Japan, it was $181,000. Wealth is heavily concentrated in North America, Europe, and high income Asia-Pacific
Countries, where residents collectively hold almost 90% of total world wealth.