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1% of the World’s Population Owns Over 50% of the World’s Wealth, Report Finds

The numbers on global inequality are in —and they’re astounding.

According to a new report on global finance released Tuesday, the richest 1% of the population owns over half over the world’s wealth.

That comes out to about $140 trillion sitting in the pockets of the ultra wealthy, while over 3.5 billion people living on less than $10,000 per year own only about 2.7% of global wealth.

Released by the banking and research institution Credit Suisse, the 2017 Global Wealth Report paints a picture economic growth occurring across the world, with many of the gains being concentrated in the hands of wealthy individuals living in wealthy countries.

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Since 2000, over 23 million people became millionaires, with the vast majority of them in high-income countries. Over 60% of the world’s millionaires reside in the US and Europe. The number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals, owning more than $50 million, grew by 13% in the last year.

The dramatic rise in the number of the ultra wealthy has been steady since the recovery from the 2008 economic crisis. Over 70% of these individuals live in the US and Europe.

Meanwhile, in low-income countries, up to 90% of people own less than $10,000 of assets, as is the case in many African countries and India.

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Those who fit into this poorest category of having less than $10,000 account for an astonishing 70% of the entire world’s population.                

“In some low-income countries in Africa, the percentage of the population in this wealth group is close to 100%,” the report reads. “For many residents of low-income countries, life membership of the base tier is the norm rather than the exception.”

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The report found that the average personal wealth of adults across the world came out to $56,540, but this number is skewed by a few ultra wealthy individuals, and is not representative of the majority of people. Although numbers indicate average wealth rose 4.9% over the last year, these gains are in most cases not trickling down to the masses.

Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development, and reducing global inequalities is goal number 10. You can take action on this issue here.

The United Nations reports that income inequality is often accompanied by similar inequalities in access to education, health services, and other basic needs.

The organization’s website on global inequality notes that increasing global wealth will not be enough to eliminate poverty across the world.

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“There is growing consensus that economic growth is not sufficient to reduce poverty if it is not inclusive and if it does not involve the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental,” the site reads.

“To reduce inequality, policies should be universal in principle paying attention to the needs of disadvantaged and marginalized populations.”