How Much It Takes to Be in the Richest 1% Around the World

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Rich man in a car
sirtravelalot /

What does it take to be among those earning the top 1% of income? Bloomberg looked at data from Statistics Canada and the World Inequality Database to find out how much you must earn in 14 countries.

Bloomberg learned that “inequality is widening even among the ranks of the top 1%.” In the U.S., for instance, it takes $500,000 a year to be in the top 1%, more than $2 million for the top 0.1% and more than $10 million in income annually to be in the elite 0.01%.

The bottom line: The ease or difficulty of belonging to the wealthy castes depends a lot on where you live. In some countries, well-paid professionals inch their way in with pretax incomes of “only” $200,000 to $300,000 a year. Elsewhere, though, you must be a billionaire “with more wealth than many nations,” Bloomberg says.

Read on to learn where what it takes in these 14 nations, including one place where you need nearly $1 million a year to in the 1%.

14. India

Taj Mahal
Arvnd14 /

Pretax income of the richest 1%: $77,000 per year or more

India’s population is so great that the top 1% includes about 13 million people.

In Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India, one of the world’s most-sought-after real estate markets, $1 million could buy a 990-square-foot two-bedroom, two-bath apartment overlooking the Arabian Sea when we checked.

This wealthy city is India’s commercial and financial center and it is the most-populous city in India.

13. China


Pretax income of the richest 1%: $107,000

China’s wealthiest class has grown rapidly. In late fall 2019, when The Guardian published a report, 100 million Chinese were members of the world’s top 10% of richest people, according to a Credit Suisse analysis.

That beats the U.S.’s richest, a group that includes 99 million Americans.

12. Italy

Colosseum in Rome
prochasson frederic /

Pretax income of the richest 1%: $169,000 annually

At least before the current explosion of cases of coronavirus there, Italy had been attracting “global super-rich.”

One reason: Many are drawn to buy spectacular luxury Italian homes and villas. These wealthy buyers were attracted by the country’s “flat tax” of only 100,000 euros, regardless of income, The Guardian reported not long ago.

11. Brazil

CP DC Press /

Pretax income of the richest 1%: $176,000 annually

A 2019 analysis by the publication Live and Invest Overseas found Brazil to be the best international market in which to buy real estate when the U.S. dollar is strong.

The buying power of the dollar increased enormously in the past couple years and many expatriates from around the world have settled in Brazil. Read more in “The 5 Best Countries to Buy Property in as the U.S. Dollar Soars.”

10. South Africa

South Africa
TUX85 /

Pretax income of the richest 1%: $188,000

South Africa is home to a host of Africa’s six wealthiest cities, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, an independent think tank.

Three South African cities, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban are on the list.

South Africa “is the continent’s most developed (country), with a highly diversified economy increasingly based on knowledge,” the CFR says.

9. Canada

Vancouver, Canada
Hannamariah /

Pretax income of the richest 1%: $201,000

Canada’s rich are getting richer, says BNN Bloomberg.

Citing consulting firm Capgemini’s World Wealth Report, BNN Bloomberg reports that Canadian “high net worth individuals” rose 5.5% in 2017, the year of the study. At that time, Canada was home to 376,700 millionaires.

8. France

Eiffel Tower
MarinaD_37 /

Pretax income of the richest 1%: $221,000

The town of Annecy, France, was named the second best-place to retire overseas by Live and Invest Overseas’ 2019 Overseas Retirement Index.

Vogue Magazine calls Annecy, in the mountains of southeastern France (just an hour south of Geneva, Switzerland), “the Venice of the French Alps.”

What’s the best place to retire overseas? See for yourself, at “The Best Place to Retire Abroad in 2019 Is Remarkably Affordable.”

7. Australia

Sydney, Australia
Taras Vyshnya /

Pretax income of the richest 1%: $246,000

A 2019 Investopedia analysis ranks Australia among the top 10 countries that make for affordable and safe retirement destinations.

One estimate says that retirees can have a life in Sydney, for instance, for under $3,500 per month for a family of four, not including rent. Learn more about this list in “10 Countries That Are Cheap and Safe for Retirees.”

Australia’s bush fires of 2019 have, however, had a devastating effect. The fires killed at least 30 humans and roughly 1 billion animals, burning 2,500 homes and millions of acres of land.

6. United Kingdom

Queen Elizabeth II
Shaun Jeffers /

Pretax income of the richest 1%: $248,000

The United Kingdom — which includes England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland — was among the top 10 of “The 25 Easiest Places in the World to Do Business” in a recent Money Talks News report.

The Guardian reports that “the UK’s six richest people control as much wealth as the poorest 13 million,” citing research into “gaping inequality in British society.” The newspaper calls this “the story of Ferraris and food banks. ”

5. Germany

A couple in Frankfurt, Germany
Syda Productions /

Pretax income of the richest 1%: $277,000

Germany is another of the “The 25 Easiest Places in the World to Do Business,” Money Talks News reports.

WealthX says that Germany has third greatest number of billionaires, after the United States and China. However, the site, which develops and analyzes data about wealth, adds:

“Both the UK and France have a higher number of wealthy individuals per capita than Germany.”

4. Bahrain

Manama, Bahrain

Pretax income of the richest 1%: $485,000

Wealthy Bahrain is a tiny island nation off the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf.

Surrounded by oil-rich nations, Bahrain doesn’t have the vast oil reserves of many of its neighbors, Britannica says. But it has taken advantage of its location to become a processor of crude oil. It also is a financial, commercial services and communications hub.

USA Today named Bahrain among the 25 richest countries in the world. In all 25 wealthier countries, life expectancy at birth is higher than the world’s average of 72 years.

3. United States

Statue of Liberty
dibrova /

Pretax income of the richest 1%: $488,000

Much of the wealth of the U.S. is concentrated in a handful of cities. It may be no surprise that cities in Texas, California and the New York region are among them.

The metro area of New York City-Newark-Jersey City, New Jersey alone holds almost 10% of the nation’s gross domestic product, Money Talks News reports, in “10 Cities With the Biggest Percentages of American Wealth.”

2. Singapore

Jaromir Chalabala /

Pretax income of the richest 1%: $722,000

A 2019 analysis finds Singapore to be one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world, as we report in “How Much Home $1.25 Million Will Buy in 20 Cities Around the Globe.”

Your money won’t go far in this island nation. For $1.25 million, you’ll be able to purchase a home of about 1,169 square feet — certainly not huge by American standards.

A majority of Singaporeans are dissatisfied with the state of their property market and 88% say high prices are their biggest concern.

1. United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates
S-F /

Pretax income of the richest 1%: $922,000

This federation of seven emirates, also called The Emirates or UAE, is a modern state on the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia.

The Emirates is a member of OPEC, the powerful Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Some 30% of the UAE’s gross domestic product comes directly from its oil and gas, OPEC says.

Have you visited — or are you from — any of these countries? Tell us about it in a comment below or at Money Talks News on Facebook.

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