Rising wealth inequality within countries has helped to spur increases in global wealth inequality. If we assume the world trend to be captured by the combined experience of China, Europe and the United States, the wealth share of the world’s top 1% wealthiest people increased from 28% to 33%, while the share commanded by the bottom 75% oscillated around 10% between 1980 and 2016.
The continuation of past wealth-inequality trends will see the wealth share of the top 0.1% global wealth owners (in a world represented by China, the EU, and the United States) catch up with the share of the global wealth middle class by 2050.
Global income inequality will also increase if countries prolong the income inequality path they have been on since 1980—even with relatively high-income growth predictions in Africa, Latin America, and Asia in the coming three decades.
However, global inequality will decrease moderately if all countries follow the inequality trajectory followed by the EU between 1980 and today.
Depending on which inequality trajectory is followed by countries, the incomes of the bottom half of the world population may vary by factor of two by 2050, ranging from €4500 to € 9100 per year, per adult.