Special Report

Countries Where the 1% Control the Most Wealth

The so-called 1% of a nation’s highest earners have become one of the most politicized cohorts in our society. They have been criticized for exercising disproportionate power in the economy and in government, and have been pilloried for not paying their fair share of taxes.

In this country, they have become the bête noire of progressives. Filmmaker Jamie Johnson made a movie actually called “The One Percent,” about how the very richest segment of American society has accumulated so much power that it is a threat to democracy.

To find the 50 countries with the richest rich people, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the World Inequality Database’s 2022 World Inequality Report, ranking countries by the highest percentage of each country’s wealth controlled by the top 1% of their earners. In the countries on this list, the 1% hold at least 31% of total household wealth.

The world’s richest countries are by no means necessarily the same as those countries where the 1% controls the most wealth. The list of countries includes some of the world’s poorest nations, including Rwanda, Malawi, and Benin. Still, the list also includes some of the world’s wealthiest nations, including Switzerland, Qatar, and the U.S., which ranks 30th. (These are the richest countries in the world.)

Most of the nations whose richest 1% hold at least 31% of total household wealth are African and Asian countries whose economies are the fastest growing in the world. In the course of this development, wealth has been accumulated by a select few in industries such as energy, communications, technology, and agriculture. As a result, some of these countries have the greatest disparity of wealth in the world. (These are the countries with the biggest income gaps.)

While the 1% in the United States have become ever richer, their share of our nation’s wealth is significantly lower than that in some other countries among the 50 on this list. While the top 1% of households hold nearly 36% of wealth in the United States, the top 1% hold a whopping 55% share of wealth in the No. 1 ranked country.

Click here to see the countries with the richest rich people
Click here to see our methodology