Most people like to measure a country’s economic prowess in terms of its GDP. But AfrAsia Bank argues in its latest Global Wealth Migration Review 2019 report that the private wealth held by individuals in a country is a “far better measure of the financial health of an economy than GDP.” Here we take a look at the top 10 richest countries in the world by private wealth.
Ranked: Top 10 richest countries by household wealth
AfrAsia Bank has a number of reasons why private wealth is a better indicator of a country’s financial health than GDP. It points out that GDP disregards income levels. GDP doesn’t take into account the movements in property and stock prices, which significantly affect wealth. It also doesn’t consider how the stock markets and banking sector work efficiently to retain wealth in a country.
According to the Global Wealth Migration Review 2019, the total worldwide private wealth reached $204 trillion in 2018, up 26% from 2008. The top 10 richest countries account for 74% of the world’s private wealth. Asian countries such as China and India have seen explosive growth in private wealth as well as in the number of high net worth individuals (HNWIs).
In contrast, Italy and France witnessed their private wealth shrink between 2008 and 2018. According to the New World Wealth estimate, the global private wealth will jump to $291 trillion by 2028, driven by China and India. However, money is increasingly concentrating in the hands of a few individuals, which has fueled wealth inequality around the world.
The top 1% of the world’s population holds 47% of the global household wealth. In the US, the richest 10% hold 70% of the country’s wealth in 2018 compared to 60% in 1989.
Italy’s total wealth stool at $3.8 trillion in 2018, down 14% from $4.45 trillion in 2008. The Italian economy has been struggling for the past few years due to its massive debt crisis. By 2028, its private wealth is estimated to jump 10% to $4.23 trillion.
France is another country that saw the private wealth of its citizens erode between 2008 and 2018. Its household wealth declined 7% from $6.32 trillion in 2008 to $5.85 trillion at the end of 2018. The next decade is going to be better for France, as its household wealth is expected to rise 10% to $6.43 trillion in 2028.
The household wealth per adult in Canada is $162,142, one of the highest in the world. Its household wealth surged from $4.88 trillion in 2008 to $6 trillion in 2018. It will further rise to $7.81 trillion in 2028, according to the Global Wealth Migration Review 2019 report.
Australia has a population of merely 25 million people. Its household wealth in 2018 stood at $6.02 trillion, up 48% from $4.06 trillion in 2008. Its wealth is expected to rise further to $10.8 trillion by 2028. A lower population coupled with high wealth makes Australia the country with the highest household wealth per adult, which is $240,703.
India has seen a meteoric rise in the number of high net-worth individuals (HNWIs). The country nearly doubled its total private wealth from $4.15 trillion in 2008 to $8.14 trillion at the end of 2018. Its household wealth is expected to skyrocket 180% to $22.81 trillion in 2028. However, the country’s household wealth per adult is pretty low at $6,035 due to its massive 1.3 billion population.
While most European countries were struggling through the past decade, Germany’s household wealth rose slightly from $8.24 trillion in 2008 to $8.79 trillion in 2018. It is expected to grow to $9.66 trillion by 2028. Germany’s per-adult household wealth stands at $106,537.
4- United Kingdom
The United Kingdom has per-adult household wealth of $137,066. The country’s total household wealth was $9.1 trillion in 2018, up from $8.79 trillion in 2008. Its wealth will go up another 10% over the next decade to $10.03 trillion in 2028.
Japan is home to 2.8 million millionaires. The country’s working population is declining and its economy isn’t in the best shape. Japan still managed to grow its household wealth from $16.23 trillion in 2008 to $19.13 trillion in 2018. Its total wealth is expected to grow to $24.87 trillion in 2028.
China saw the fastest growth in household wealth in this list, and it will continue to rise in the coming decade. Its private wealth rose from $10.24 trillion in 2008 to $23.56 trillion in 2018. According to the report, its household wealth will rise to $51.83 trillion by 2028. China’s per-adult household wealth stands at $16,891.
1- United States of America
The United States remains by far the wealthiest nation on the planet, though China has been rapidly closing the gap. The country’s total household wealth was $60.7 trillion at the end of 2018, up from $47.9 trillion in 2008. The US will see its household wealth rise further to $72.84 trillion in 2028. It has per-adult private wealth of $185,534, the second highest in the world after Australia. The US is home to 17.35 million millionaires.