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Wealth per adult: Switzerland defends its title

Switzerland is said to be one of the richest countries of the world. But how rich is Switzerland? Credit Suisse’s global wealth report reveals the latest data about the global household wealth, including Switzerland’s wealth per adult.

Switzerland’s wealth per adult has increased

Since the turn of the century, wealth per adult in Switzerland has risen by 129 percent to USD 530,240. Disregarding Iceland, for which the data are unreliable, Switzerland has headed the global rankings every year. Most of the rise since 2000 has been due to appreciation of the Swiss franc against the US dollar, especially between 2001 and 2013. Measured in Swiss francs, household wealth rose 39 percent from 2000 to 2018 – an average annual rate of 1.9 percent.

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Increase in Switzerland’s wealth per adult

Wealth per adult since 2000

Source: James Davies, Rodrigo Lluberas and Anthony Shorrocks, Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2018

Financial assets amount to more than half of Switzerland’s wealth 

Financial assets make up 56 percent of gross wealth in Switzerland – somewhat higher than their share in the United Kingdom, but less than in Japan or the United States. Debts average USD 138,810 per adult, one of the highest absolute levels in the world. They represent 21 percent of total assets. The debt ratio has crept up from a low of 19 percent in 2014.

530240

US dollar is the average fortune of a Swiss adult.

High inequality in Switzerland’s wealth distribution

Among the ten countries with long series of wealth distribution, Switzerland is alone in having seen no significant reduction in wealth inequality over any subperiod of the past century. A combination of high average wealth and relatively high wealth inequality results in a large proportion of the Swiss population being in the upper echelons of the global distribution. Switzerland accounts for 1.8 percent of the top 1 percent of global wealth holders, which is remarkable for a country with just 0.1 percent of the world's population. 

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Wealth distribution Switzerland relative to world (in %)
 

Source: James Davies, Rodrigo Lluberas and Anthony Shorrocks, Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2018

Over 60 percent of Swiss adults have assets above USD 100,000, and 11 percent are US dollar millionaires. An estimated 2,650 individuals are in the ultra-high net worth (UHNW) bracket, with wealth over USD 50 million. 980 individuals have net worth exceeding USD 100 million.