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Global Distribution of Wealth: A 2023 Overview

Global Distribution of Wealth: A 2023 Overview

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It seems that unequal distribution of wealth is part of the human condition. Simply put, some have more, some have less, and it’s an issue that’s been present in virtually every society since time immemorial. But what is exactly hidden behind these numbers? What are the exact facts and stats behind the global distribution of wealth?

In this article, we will cover the presence of income and wealth inequality across multiple countries, give a short global overview, and talk about how this concept is measured.

Global Distribution of Wealth: The Raw Numbers

The sad reality of global wealth around the world can, essentially, be presented as a pyramid. At the top, we have the 1.2% (62.5 million people) of the world’s population holding 47.8% of all global wealth—$221.7 trillion dollars.

Then, 11.8% of the population (627 million people) controls 38.1% of the planet’s wealth. The third level includes 33.8% of the population, which hold 13%, or $60.4 trillion.

Finally, 53.2% of the population (2.8 billion) holds $5 trillion, just 1.1%.

Even looking at individual countries, some harbor significantly more wealth than others.

(Credit Suisse – Global Wealth Report)

…and You Might Be in the Top 25%

The reason you are probably higher on the world wealth distribution totem pole than you think is, again, due to the distribution of wealth. Now, the odds are low that you are in the 1.2%, which is characterized as people having a net worth higher than $1 million. 

But if you own your home, you are probably within the globe’s 11.8% of people who have a net worth of $100,000 to $1 million. If not, think about what you own, your car, your electronic gadgets, and how high you are within the 33.8% group, who have a net worth ranging from $10,000 to $100,000. 

Note that half of the entire population has a net worth lower than $10,000.

(Credit Suisse – Global Wealth Report)

Top Countries by Wealth Inequality

Measuring how equal or unequal a country’s wealth distribution is can be an almost impossible task. One of the measures that came pretty close is the Gini index.

Developed by statistician Corrado Gini, this index measures “the extent to which the distribution of income or consumption among individuals or households within an economy deviates from a perfectly equal distribution.” 

So, if a country has a Gini index of 100, it is completely unequal (i.e. one person has all the wealth, nobody else has anything), and an index of 0 means every single person has the exact amount of wealth.

With that in mind, we have presented the countries with the highest Gini index numbers today, as well as the median wealth of their citizens. This should give you a solid overview of wealth inequality by country.

Note that the information below is based on data from the World Bank, which used income studies and both government and NGO polling agencies as a source. Furthermore, the date of when the data was gathered for certain countries varies, as much as two decades in some cases.

CountryMedian Wealth in $Gini Index
South Africa5,25263
Central African Republic27756.2

(The World Bank, The World Bank – Glossary)

Richest Countries by Median Wealth of Adult Citizens

The country with the most wealth in the world is the United States of America, with a Gross Domestic Product of $23 trillion. However, the median wealth of a country’s citizens might give a more honest picture.

For the purposes of this article, we presented the top ten richest countries in terms of the median wealth of their (adult) citizens. We also presented their respective Gini Index scores for reference.

CountryMedian Wealth in $Gini Index
Luxembourg 350,27134.2
Australia 273,90334.3
Belgium 267,88727.2
New Zealand 231,25736.2
Hong Kong 202,37653.9
Denmark 171,17527.7
Switzerland 168,08433.1
Canada 151,24833.3
Netherlands 142,99429.2

(Credit Suisse)

Poorest Countries by Median Wealth of Adult Citizens

Just like the data for the richest countries in the world, we measured a country’s wealth (and its economic injustice) by the median wealth of its citizens. 

CountryMedian Wealth in $Gini Index
Central African Republic 27756.2
Sierra Leone 35235.7
Lesotho 35344.9
Burundi 36038.6
DR Congo 40742.1
Congo 44748.9
Mozambique 46954.0
Haiti 48341.1
Togo 48842.4
Chad 50337.5

(Credit Suisse)

Notes on Measurements

A caveat must be made when talking about issues like these. Namely, the above numbers calculate wealth. It takes into account net worth, assets, and things of that nature. What it does not do is include quality of life metrics, happiness scales, or even the average cost of living. 

So, just because Canadians have on (median) average more wealth than the Danes doesn’t mean life there is better or that there is less financial inequality. And that’s without going into something as subjective and difficult to define as “where is life better.”


And there you have it, a sobering overview of wealth inequality in the world today. The numbers are staggering, but at the very least, they point to countries that seem to do it right. Looking towards them as examples can give some direction in today’s unfair economy. 


Is wealth distributed equally over the world?
Which country has the best distribution of wealth?
What is income distribution in a country?


Aleksandar Hrubenja
Aleksandar Hrubenja
With a BA in English literature and linguistics, training provided by veteran licensed court interpreters, and direct SEO management experience, Aleksandar Hrubenja knows what good content looks like. He’s tackled any topic thrown his way, spending the last six years writing articles on SEO, digital marketing, and finance - just to name a few.