The world’s 62 richest people now own as much wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of the global population, according to a new study by Oxfam.
The data, released ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Switzerland, shows the gap between richest and poorest continues to widen.
In 2015 it required the combined wealth of the world’s 80 richest people to match the wealth of the poorest half of the population. In 2010 that figure was at 388.
While the number of people living in extreme poverty halved between 1990 and 2010, Oxfam argued that had inequality not increased during that period an extra 200 million people would have escaped extreme poverty. That number could have increased to 700 million had the world’s poorest benefited more than the rich from economic growth, according to the charity’s research.
Wealth within the poorest half of the world’s population has fallen by one trillion dollars since 2010, despite that population increasing by 400 million people during that period. That 41 percent drop is in stark contrast to a 44 percent increase in wealth for the richest 62 people during the past five years. The rise, of more than half a trillion dollars, has seen their amassed riches pass $1.76 trillion.
Oxfam said its prediction that the richest one percent would own the same wealth as the poorest 50 percent had come true one year earlier than expected.