GLOBAL wealth has increased from $117 trillion in 2000 to $262 trillion this year. That comes to $56,000 for each adult on earth. But the fortune is far from evenly distributed. In 1906 the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto observed that 80% of land was owned by just 20% of the Italian population. Today 94.5% of the world’s household wealth is held by 20% of the adult population, according to new data from Credit Suisse.
Wealth is so unevenly distributed, that you need just $3,650 (less debts) to count yourself among the richest half of the world’s population. A mere $77,000 brings you among the wealthiest 10%. And just $798,000 puts you into the ranks of the 1%—within the reach of many white-collar urban professionals in the West. Hence, more than 35m people carry such a plump purse. Among the three billion adults at the bottom with less than $10,000 in wealth, 90% reside in developing countries. Yet 15% of millionaires live in developing countries too.