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Fewer people are millionaires, wealth inequality declines

Worldwide wealth is dropping, and fewer people are millionaires, but that wasn't really bad news for America's middle class.
Fewer people are millionaires, wealth inequality declines
Posted at 12:12 PM, Aug 17, 2023

The annual Global Wealth Report is now out and for the first time since 2008, there was a decline in global wealth. 

According to the report prepared by UBS, global wealth dropped 2.4% in 2022 to $454 trillion. The average wealth per adult also dropped by 3.6% to $84,718 per adult. 

UBS noted that one key reason is the appreciation of the U.S. dollar against many other currencies. UBS economist Anthony Shorrocks noted that if you take out exchange rates, global wealth might have gone up in 2022, but said global inflation would have negated those gains.

One result of the decline in global wealth is that the total number of millionaires in the world has declined by 3.5 million. 

SEE MORE: Where are the wealthiest buying their homes?

The U.S. had the largest losses, with the country losing $5.9 trillion in wealth. The loss comes after the U.S. gained over $19 trillion in wealth in 2021.

While average wealth in the U.S. dropped by nearly $27,000 in 2022, median wealth increased $14,460. That means the average person in the U.S. saw their wealth increase, even if some lost significant wealth. 

"The median wealth holder in the United States is not someone with the average portfolio of the country, they have a different portfolio," Shorrocks said. "They hold less financial assets and more non-financial assets. So this increase in median wealth in the United States in 2022 reflects the fact financial wealth went down but non-financial wealth went up and this has benefited those in and around the median wealth income level."

Shorrocks also noted that the gap between wealthy and non-wealthy nations has declined. 

But the U.S. continues to dominate, with 51% of the world's 250,000 wealthiest people holding American citizenship. 

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