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As the business and political elite met at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, there was much talk of rising inequality, and many references to the “wealthiest 1%”. The phrase conjures up images of billionaires living on private islands – but is that really who the 1% really are?
A report by the charity Oxfam released to coincide with the Davos gathering caused a stir by predicting that the wealthiest 1% will soon own more than the rest of the world’s population.
It drew on research from the bank Credit Suisse, which estimated total global household wealth in 2014 at $263tn (£175tn).
That’s wealth, not income. It is calculated as assets minus debt.
Obviously billionaires like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg are part of the 1%. But who else is? According to Credit Suisse, another 47m people – everyone with wealth of $798,000 (£530,000) or more.