New Zealanders are ranked fifth in the world when it comes to wealth, and New Zealand is becoming more equal, too
New Zealand had the biggest jump in average adult wealth of anywhere in the world last year, according to a report by investor bank Credit Suisse.
The increase was boosted by rising house prices and an appreciating currency. Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Report found that “the recovery of macroeconomic activity in a low-interest environment produced exceptionally favourable conditions for household wealth growth”.
The report noted New Zealand has 281,000 of the world’s top 1% of global wealth holders, with 2.1 million New Zealanders reportedly among the ranks of the top 10% of the world’s population.
Different Measures of Wealth
On a country-by-country basis, Switzerland still ranks highest in terms of wealth per adult at US$696,600, followed by the United States, Hong Kong and Australia, with New Zealand in fifth place.
New Zealand Is More Equal Than Others
Despite what you might see in New Zealand’s mainstream media, the report suggested New Zealand is more equal than other nations.
Alternative to the measure above, ranking countries by median wealth per adult favours those with lower levels of wealth inequality (suggesting New Zealand has less wealth inequality than other nations) and results in a different list. Median wealth divides the wealth distribution into two equal groups where half the adults have wealth above the median and the other half below the median. Mean wealth is obtained by dividing the total aggregate wealth by the number of adults. This criteria places Australia, Belgium and New Zealand in the top three positions.
Supporting this, Credit Suisse also noted: “Having started with higher wealth inequality than Australia in 2000, New Zealand mirrored Australia’s small decline from 2000 to 2007. However, wealth inequality continued to fall in New Zealand after 2008. By 2021, its wealth Gini [Gini coefficient] had fallen from the 72.0 level recorded in 2000 to 70.0 and the share of the top 1% had dropped from 25.4% to 20.1%.”
New Zealand had the highest gain in wealth per adult among any country, a huge US$114,289. For the sake of comparison, Australia was in third place on this measure, with US$66,354.
New Zealand Women Are Winning
The report also highlighted the largest percentage increase for New Zealand women versus men. To explain this, it noted: “…it is possible that growth rates for individual asset types differed between men and women during the pandemic. We will need to await new data in future to determine whether this is the case.”
Looking ahead, the report also predicted the number of millionaires globally – measured in USD –would increase by 40% in the next five years.
By 2026, there would be more than 87.5m people across the globe with at least US$1m in wealth, up from 62.5m last year.
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