Odds You’re in Top ’10 Percent’ Are Better Than You Think

If you live in the U.S., there's a decent chance your income places you at least in the top "10 percent." And you may even be in the top "1 percent."

Odds You’re in Top ’10 Percent’ Are Better Than You Think Photo (cc) by epSos.de

Those in the so-called 1 percent are celebrating a new milestone.

The people who comprise the richest 1 percent of the world population now own half the world’s household wealth, according to a new report from the Credit Suisse Research Institute.

This statistic represents a rebound from the end of the 2007-2009 recession, when the richest 1 percent’s share of global wealth had slipped as low as 44.2 percent.

As the sixth annual Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report puts it:

The trend has reversed since 2008 and the additional rise this year takes the share of the top percentile to a level not observed since 2000 and possibly not seen for almost a century.

The rebound in wealth is disproportionately high for the richest 1 percent compared with the rest of the world’s citizens, however. For example, even the richest 10 percent of the population have not seen their share of the world’s wealth surpass the 88.3 percent level they reached in 2000.

This year, a person in the top 1 percent is defined as having a wealth of at least $759,900 in U.S. dollars. A person in the top 10 percent has at least $68,800, and a person in the top 50 percent has at least $3,210.

In other words, if you have at least $3,210 to your name after subtracting any debts, congratulations — you’re among the wealthiest half of the world’s citizens. (If debts are holding you back, check out the Money Talks News Solutions Center for help.)

Most of the people in the global 1 percent are in the U.S., according to the report. Similarly, 46 percent of the world’s millionaires are in the U.S.

The statistics for the American middle class (defined in the report as having wealth between $50,000 and $500,000) are less brag-worthy, however, especially compared with the middle class of other regions. The report states:

While North America is the region with the highest incidence of middle-class adults, its share of middle-class wealth is not only lower than for the world as a whole, but the lowest of all regions, including India. More surprising is the finding that in North America … the middle class as a group have less than average wealth. In fact, the average wealth of middle-class adults in North America is barely half the average for all adults. In contrast, middle-class wealth per adult in Europe is 130% of the regional average.

What surprises you most about these findings? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.

Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More

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