The financial gap between the rich and the poor remain large, the 2022 World Inequality Report finds.Yulia Reznikov
  • The 2022 Word Inequality Report says the richest own more than 75% of global wealth. The poorest own 2%.
  • Over the past two decades, the income gap between the top 10% and bottom 50% has nearly doubled.
  • The income gap varies between countries, and typically depends on policy choices by governments. 

In 2021, the average adult worldwide makes $23,380 and owns $102,600 in net worth.

Someone in the top 10% of the global income distribution makes $122,100 per year.

And someone from the poorest half of the world makes just $3,920 per year. 

This is according to a massive new World Inequality report by a team of economists coordinated by Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman that confirmed the wealth global wealth gap is only getting bigger. Researchers calculated these dollar averages in terms of PPP, or purchasing power parity, an economic theory that allows the purchasing power of different currencies to be compared. 

To be sure, these average incomes may be misleading given that the rich minority own most of the world's income while the poorest are responsible for a slim percentage of it. In percentage terms, the world's richest 10% far exceeds that of the poorest 50%, taking home more than half of global income. The poorest half only earns 8%. 

And researchers pointed at that wealth inequality — as opposed to income — are even more stark. "The poorest half of the global population barely owns any wealth at all, possessing just 2% of the total. In contrast, the richest 10% of the global population own 76% of all wealth."

They summed it up glumly: "The bottom 50 percent own almost nothing."

The divide between the rich and the poor is getting worse in some countries — and it's a political choice to let it 

Over the past two decades, the income gap between the top 10% and bottom 50% has nearly doubled, the team, which includes economist Thomas Piketty, writes.

20 years ago, members of the highest global income bracket made 8.5 times as much as those in the lowest one. Now they make 15 times as much. 

The report ultimately found that these disparities weren't unavoidable. Even though inequality is global, certain countries experienced much greater increases in their wealth gaps than others: namely, the United States, Russia, and India. Others, like European countries and China, experienced relatively smaller increases in inequality. 

The US, for example, has seen inequality grow between the richest and the middle class due to massive debt loads — largely mortgages and student debt, according to the report.

"These differences… confirm that inequality is not inevitable, it is a political choice," the report says. 


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