How many Germans are in the one percent?

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 20 Jan, 2015 Updated Tue 20 Jan 2015 15:20 CEST
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After Oxfam released a report saying that half the world's wealth will be owned by just one percent of the population by 2016, we investigate just how many Germans are on top of the heap.

The British aid charity used data from Credit Suisse to produce their report, which found that the richest one percent of the global population owned 48 percent of the wealth in 2014.

And the richest 20 percent of people worldwide owned most of what was left, with the poorest 80 percent owning just 5.5 percent of the world's wealth.

That top one percent – just 70 million people around the world – owns on average $1.8 million (€1,552,000) of assets.

Far fewer than one percent of people in Germany would be in that category, with the wealthiest percentile beginning at €886,744 in 2012, according to a report for the German Economy Institute (DIW).

But the BBC calculated that the lower boundary of the top one percent stands at around $800,000 – or €690,172.

That places Germany's one percent firmly among the global upper crust.

And that's without mentioning the 5,500 of the world's 128,000 "High Net-Worth Individuals" (people with assets worth more than $50m) who call Germany home.

GALLERY: The ten richest people in Germany

Last year's DIW survey found that Germans had an average wealth of €83,000 – or US $96,000 – in 2012.

That puts them well outside the top 10 for the highest wealth per adult in Credit Suisse's figures for mid-2014, where the lowest entrant was Singapore at $290,000 (€250,000).

And the median net wealth was €17,000 lower than that, in what the DIW said was a sign of the uneven distribution of wealth in the country.

Private households in Germany had total net assets of €7.4 trillion, of which the majority - €5.1 trillion - was made up of real estate, compared with €1.1 trillion of liabilities, mostly in mortgages.

But one-fifth of people had no net wealth - calculated by deducting debts from assets - while seven percent of people had more debts than assets.

Germany's Gini coefficient - a measure of inequality - got worse between 2002 and 2012, the researchers found, increasing from 0.776 to 0.78 (a Gini coefficient of 1 is maximum inequality while 0 is total equality). 

And West Germans remained significantly wealthier than East Germans throughout the period the DIW studied, with East Germans increasing their assets from €36,700 to €41,140 between 2002 and 2012 while West Germans grew from €90,000 to €93,800.

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The Local 2015/01/20 15:20

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