Australians are the richest people in the world in 2018

A new report released by Credit Suisse finds Australians are the richest people in the world, where the greatest number of people are rich. Together, North America and Europe account for 60 percent of total household wealth despite being only 17 percent of the world’s adult population

When comparing the average amount of wealth per adult, which divides a country’s overall wealth by the total population, Switzerland ranks first, followed by Australia, then the United States, where wealth is growing most quickly in the world. “The United States has the most members of the top 1 per cent global wealth group, and currently accounts for 41 per cent of the world’s millionaires,” Credit Suisse's report notes.

However, when ranking the richest countries in the world by looking at which countries have the greatest number of people who are rich, Australia places first, whereas the U.S doesn’t place the top ten. Australia’s median wealth is USD $191,453 per adult, compared to Canada at USD $106,342, New Zealand at USD $98,613, the United Kingdom at USD $97,169, and the U.S. at USD $61,667 per adult.


Decreasing inequality

The report also concluded wealth inequality is not rising: the early twentieth century experienced the most broad-based wealth creation in history and all levels of society shared in the rewards. This came to an abrupt halt with the 2008 global financial crisis, which changed the pattern of wealth creation.

Top wealth holders benefited most from the rise in financial wealth, leading to rising wealth inequality in all parts of the world. In every region, with the exception of China, median wealth stopped rising and declined in many places. Evidence suggests the growth pattern has begun to shift back to the pre-crisis pattern. Wealth inequality has not yet fallen significantly but has stabilized according to most indicators. Therefore, future prospects for inclusive wealth growth appears promising.

The proportion of global adults with wealth below USD $10,000 has decreased since 2000. At the beginning of the century, 80 percent of global adults belonged to this stratum, whereas today the fraction is 64 percent, with projections show a further decrease to 61 percent in 2023.


Wealth outlook

In the past twelve months, total global wealth grew by 4.6, percent, which is lower than 2017 but higher than the average growth rate post-2008 global financial collapse. Global wealth also increased by USD $14 trillion in 2017, with China ranking second after the United States (U.S.), which is home to more millionaires than any other country in the world.

Global wealth is projected to rise by nearly 26 percent over the next five years, reaching USD $399 trillion by 2023. Emerging markets are responsible for a third of the growth, although they account for only 21 percent of current wealth.

Wealth will primarily be driven by growth in the middle segment, but the number of millionaires will also grow markedly over the next five years, anticipated to reach a new all-time high of 55 million.


Women and wealth

This global wealth report reviewed evidence regarding women's wealth around the world for the first time. After rising as a share of global wealth in the twentieth century, women’s wealth has risen this century in absolute terms and also relative to men’s wealth in some respects. There are signs that more self-made women are succeeding in business and entering the highest wealth ranks.