In most countries around the world, wealth inequality decreased from the beginning of the 21st century, but that trend was reversed in some places. The global financial crisis of 2007-2008 had a negative effect on the attempt to close wealth gaps. After having fallen to a still-high 43 percent by 2008, the share of global wealth held by the wealthiest 1 percent increased again to nearly 46 percent in 2021, according to Credit Suisse's annual Global Wealth report.
Wealth inequalities (and their dynamics) vary enormously from one country to another. Previous to the invasion of Ukraine, Russia was the country with the highest wealth concentration in the hands of the 1 percent, revealing a deep-reaching system of cronyism. Last year, 1 percent of the Russian population had still held nearly 60 percent of national wealth. Since then, Russian billionaires’ fortunes have dwindled.
Other countries exhibiting big wealth inequality shares are Brazil, India and the United States. In China, wealth inequality has grown significantly from 2000 until 2021.
Japan and France are among the least unequal G20 economies based on this indicator. Wealth inequality actually decreased in the two countries, with the wealthiest 1 percent now holding around a fifth of national wealth. Canada also saw wealth inequality decrease.