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Richest 85 = wealth of 3.5B poorest

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Monday, January 27, 2014
Posted: 6 am ET

The combined wealth of the 85 richest people in the world is equal to that of 3.5 billion people -- or half the global population -- according to a report by Oxfam.

Click on the graphic to enlarge.

Click on the graphic to enlarge.

The report states, "The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world."

Among the report's other findings, it notes that 70 percent of the world's population reside in countries where income inequality has risen since the 1980s and 1 percent of families in the world own nearly half, 46 percent, of the world's wealth, or $110 trillion.

The report was published in time for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where one of the most pressing topics has been global income inequality and its repercussions for economic health. Oxfam is asking the government to take action to reverse what it sees as a troubling trend of the growing influence of the rich on public policy and tax reform.

Oxfam conducted polls in six countries, including the U.S., Spain, Brazil, India, South Africa and the United Kingdom, that show a majority of respondents believe laws are enacted to favor the wealthy.

"Without a concerted effort to tackle inequality, the cascade of privilege and of disadvantage will continue down the generations," the report says. "We will soon live in a world where equality of opportunity is just a dream. In too many countries economic growth already amounts to little more than a 'winner takes all' windfall for the richest."

Read Bankrate's analysis of the widening income gap in the U.S.

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February 02, 2014 at 9:39 pm

Betty, YOU read the article again. that's two different stats. One's about the wealth of the richest 85 VS. half the global population. 46% of the worlds wealth is owned by 1% of the population hence the other 54% is owned by the remaining 99%. The other statistic is the total wealth of the of the poorest half of the world's population VS. the richest 1% of it.

February 02, 2014 at 9:24 pm

correction That's 17.5 MILLION families own 46%

February 02, 2014 at 9:22 pm

1% of the families own close to half {46%] of the wealth. 7 billion people, figure 4 people to a family,divide by 4, 1% of that = 17.5 million families. 17.5 families own 46% of wealth. Plausible
BTW 1000 Billion = a Trillion. Gates 70 Bil plus Buffet 45 Bil =115 Bil, not 1000 Billion

February 02, 2014 at 9:06 pm

Bill Gates was worth 150 Billion back in the early 1990's,dropped to 40-50 billion, and rebounded to 70 billion, If the stock market crashes, Buffet would be almost broke

February 02, 2014 at 8:54 pm

Even if the entire content of the article is true (which does seem like it) so what??? There is no analysis behind it. It's designed to stir up emotions about "income inequality". How many millionaires have come out of Microsoft? How many jobs, how many lives have been enhanced (even the poor). How much money has Warren Buffet given away? If all income was equal, we would all be poor (equally) - which is what the left wants. If you produce something (like MS or Oracle), you might get rich but you produce rich in others along the way and you increase GDP of your nation.

The article also gives no analysis by country. 100 $/mo in US is poor but the same amount in other countries could feed a large family each month. It's a stupid article!

February 02, 2014 at 8:50 pm

Unfortunately, the numbers in the article ARE accurate.

It's not saying the richest 85 own half of the worlds wealth, but rather that they have the same amount of wealth as the bottom 50% of people.

The bottom 50% does NOT have 50% of the wealth...

February 02, 2014 at 8:43 pm

And in this "richest" vs. "poorest" ... how do these numbers compare:
- How many people are employed by each?
- How much taxes does each group pay?
Simply comparing the gross revenue of each is simply not enough.
Results are not an "equality" issue ... opportunity is.

February 02, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Read the article again folks. It says that "1 percent of families in the world own nearly half, 46 percent, of the world's wealth, or $110 trillion."
85 is 1% of 8,500 which is not the population of the world.

February 02, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Are you serious each person of the 85 would have to have 1.3 trillion there are no trillion Aries Period. The top ten might have a combined 1.3 trillion Morons print and morons believe.
Slim 73 Bil gates 72 Bil ect
common people there is a thing called GOOGLE

February 02, 2014 at 6:15 pm

Carlos Slim and Bill Gates could easily have 1.3 Trillion btw them, it just depende upon when this study was done. Slims fortune has taken a little hit since 2011 but is back up there and at one point he was the richest guy in the world with Gates second and Buffett third.