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62 rich people are now as wealthy as half of humanity—3.6 billion people

The rich are still getting richer, only faster.


Dell Cameron


Posted on Jan 18, 2016   Updated on May 27, 2021, 8:41 am CDT

The rich are getting richer, and the poor are, well, still poor.

While the world’s wealthiest 1 percent remains richer than everyone else on the planet, combined, the daily income of the world’s poorest 10 percent has risen by less than a single cent every year, which is the same pay raise they’ve gotten for a quarter of a century, according to new research by the nonprofit Oxfam. 

Sixty-two people in the world now have the same wealth as 3.6 billion people, or half of humanity. In other words, if you add up the world’s wealthiest billionaires until, collectively, they had the same wealth as half of the world’s poorest people, you couldn’t fill three rows in a standard movie theater. 

The number of billionaires it takes to equal the wealth of the global bottom half has dropped significantly over the past five years. The number was 80 two years ago; four years before that, it was 388.

Oxfam, which published the study, “An Economy for the 1%,” is an international confederation of organizations that works to eliminate poverty and strengthen disaster relief efforts, among other causes. 

“There is no getting away from the fact that the big winners in our global economy are those at the top,” the study says. “Our economic system is heavily skewed in their favor, and arguably increasingly so. Far from trickling down, income and wealth are instead being sucked upwards at an alarming rate.”

Once the money reaches the richest few, an “elaborate system of tax havens and an industry of wealth managers ensure that it stays there, far from the reach of ordinary citizens and their governments,” Oxfam concludes. 

Photo via Kevin Dooley/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Jan 18, 2016, 6:01 pm CST