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Richest 2% own over half of world's wealth

December 05, 2006 20:03 IST
The richest two per cent of adults in the world own more than half of global household wealth, according to a study released on Tuesday.

In 2000 the richest one per cent of adults owned 40 per cent of global wealth, a report by the Helsinki-based World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University said.

Its comprehensive study of personal wealth has revealed that the richest 10 per cent of adults accounted for 85 per cent of the total global assets.

In contrast, the bottom half of the world adult population owned barely one per cent of global wealth. Average wealth amounted to $144,000 per person in the USA in year 2000, and $181,000 in Japan.

In India, the per capita assets is $1,100, and in Indonesia its $1,400. According to the study, almost all of the world's richest individuals live in North America, Europe, and rich Asia-Pacific countries. Each of these groups of countries contribute to about one third of the world's wealthiest 10 per cent. 

The second group of richest people belong to China, while India, Africa, and low-income Asian countries dominate the third group.

A small number of countries, the study finds, account for most of the wealthiest 10 per cent in the world.  While Americans account for 25 per cent of the wealthiest, 20 per cent are Japanese.

These two countries feature even more strongly among the richest one per cent of individuals in the world, with 37 per cent residing in the USA and 27 per cent in Japan.

Dharam Shourie in New York
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