Poorest See Decrease in Wealth, While Largest Increase in Wealth Goes to the Struggling Middle

The Credit Suisse Research Institute this morning published its Global Wealth Report, a comprehensive analysis of global wealth and the inequality of personal wealth.

The report revealed a slight decrease in measures of wealth inequality in the UK, with the Government’s efforts to protect individuals and businesses hit hardest by COVID-19 representing a major driver of these improvements.

However, these small gains must be placed in the broader context of increasing wealth inequality, which has steadily risen from 2007 onwards. Over that time period the UK’s wealth Gini coefficient has risen from 66.7 in 2007 to 74.6 in 2019, falling in the last year to 70.7.[1] Similarly, the share of wealth held by the top 1% has risen from 20.2% in 2007 to 24.5% in 2019 and 23.1% in 2020.[2]

The data underlying the report also show that the largest increases in wealth share over the past year have been among those in the middle of the pack in terms of wealth (40/50/60th decile), while those at the bottom of the pile have seen much smaller increases and in some cases decreases in their share of wealth.[3]

In this context, there is a clear need for the Government to refocus its efforts to ensure that the recovery from COVID-19 helps to ensure and further the progress made on wealth inequality over the last year and a half. 

Dr Wanda Wyporska, Executive Director at The Equality Trust said:

“Although some miniscule progress has been made, if the Government is serious about ‘levelling-up’ and tackling inequalities, then it needs to introduce a cross-departmental inequality reduction strategy to fulfil its promises and UN Sustainable Development Goals.”


Notes for editors:

For interviews or further comment email jo.wittams@equalitytrust.org.uk.

The Equality Trust is the national charity that campaigns to improve quality of life in the UK by reducing economic and social inequality. The UK is one of the most unequal countries in the developed world and evidence shows that in countries with higher levels of inequality, we see higher rates of mental and physical ill health, higher rates of imprisonment and violent crime, worse educational outcomes and lower levels of trust. Inequality is not inevitable.

[1] Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2021 p.41.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2021 p.136, Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2019, p.168.