Australia is falling in the global rankings for wealth per person but it still has a bigger proportion of people enjoying a middle class lifestyle than anywhere else.
Australia dropped to third position from second with average wealth per adult at $US364,900, according to the Credit Suisse Research Institute.
This is a 13.6% deterioration from $US431,000 in just 12 months but much of the fall can be put down to the rise in the US dollar and the subsequent fall of the Australian dollar.
The institute, in its sixth annual Global Wealth Report, focuses on how the middle class has developed since 2000.
The size and wealth of the middle class globally grew quickly before the financial crisis but this has since subsided with rising inequality squeezing the share of wealth.
Here’s the top ten countries with the highest average wealth:
However, Australia still has the largest spread of people who can be called middle class.
Australia leads the world at 66% of adults in the middle class. Belgium and Singapore have 60%. Italy, Japan, Spain, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates and the UK have 55%. In New Zealand, it’s more than 50%.
In terms of median wealth, countries with lower levels of wealth inequality have higher median wealth per adult. New Zealand ($US182,600) and Australia ($US168,300) are the two highest in the world.
And in Australia household wealth in current US dollar terms has been growing at around 7% a year since 2008.
The Global Wealth Report 2015 defines the middle class in terms of a wealth band instead of an income range. It uses the US as a benchmark country, where a middle-class adult is defined as having wealth between $US50,000 and $US500,000 at mid-2015 prices, plus local purchasing power.
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