Nearly half of the world's entire wealth is in the hands of millionaires

The Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report sheds light on inequality.

October 22, 2019, 12:25 PM

Millionaires own nearly half of the world's global total wealth, according to a new report from Credit Suisse.

The total amount of global wealth grew in 2019 to a total of $360 trillion, according to the Global Wealth Report published Monday from the Credit Suisse Research Institute.

Nearly half of that wealth -- or 44% -- lies in the hands of the world's millionaires, the report noted.

There are a total of 46.8 million millionaires worldwide, according to the report, and they collectively own approximately $158.3 trillion.

"China and other emerging markets have contributed significantly to this growing contingent and show signs of progress and opportunity for investors,” Nannette Hechler-Fayd’herbe, the chief investment officer of international wealth management and the global head of economics and research at Credit Suisse, said in a statement announcing the findings.

Researchers also found that China had more members in the top global 10% than the United States for the first time.

PHOTO: Man's hands sweep money.
Millionaires now have about half of the total global wealth according to a new report.
Getty Images, STOCK PHOTO

The number of millionaires worldwide rose by 1.1 million in 2019, Hechler-Fayd’herbe added.

The United States alone added more than half of these new millionaires, or 675,000 in total.

While a handful of millionaires holding nearly half of the global wealth may be alarming, the report said "global inequality fell during the first part of this century."

The total share of the bottom 90% accounts for 18% of global wealth -- up from 11% in 2000, according to the report.

In 2019, however, the report said that the "bottom half of wealth holders collectively accounted for less than 1% of total global wealth," while "the richest 10% own 82% of global wealth and the top 1% alone own 45%."

"While advances by emerging markets continued to narrow the gaps between countries, inequality within countries grew as economies recovered after the global financial crisis," the report stated. "As a result, the top 1% of wealth holders increased their share of world wealth. This trend appears to have abated in 2016 and global inequality is now likely to edge downward in the immediate future."

Overall, global wealth also grew over the past year by 2.6%, reaching the new high of $360 trillion. If divided equally, that would mean there is approximately $70,850 per adult in the world.