Average Net Worth by Country — How Do You Compare?

Some of these stats really surprised me

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash
Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash
I previously wrote a very popular article comparing American average net worth by age. If you’re American and haven’t read it, you may want to read that first, as it’s likely to be more relevant to you. Most of the world’s population isn’t American, though, so the stats in that article may not have been so interesting for those of you that aren’t American. To make up for this, I decided to find out what the average net worth was in other countries around the world. In this article, I will also cover average net worth, median net worth, and the Gini Percentage.

The difference between average and median net worth

For those that aren’t sure what the difference between these two definitions is, this is what I wrote in the article mentioned above.
Average net worth is calculated by adding up the net worth of everyone and then dividing by the number of people. For example, suppose you have 3 people with a net worth of $85,000, $100,000, and $1,000,000. The total of $1,185,000 is divided by 3 to give an average net worth of $395,000.
What you’ll notice from this is that one person with a huge net worth can distort the figures. If you’re the one with a net worth of $100,000 you might not feel great if you compare yourself to the average.
The median net worth is simply the middle figure when the net worth of everyone is placed in order from lowest to highest. In the above example, it’s $100,000. If you’re the one with $100,000 you’ll probably feel good about it, as half the people have less than you and half have more.
In America, the average net worth is $748,000, yet the median net worth is only $121,700.

What is the Gini Percentage?

According to Wikipedia, the Gini % is:
Higher Gini coefficients signify greater inequality in wealth distribution, with 0 being complete equality, whereas a value near 100% can arise in a situation where everybody has zero wealth except a very small minority.

Are Americans the richest in the world?

I think everyone knows that the US is currently the richest country in the world. But does it follow that the American people are the richest? The short answer is no, but it’s more complicated than that. If we look at the average per capita net worth around the world, we’ll see that it’s the people of Switzerland that are the richest in the world. As of 2021, the per capita net worth in Switzerland is $673,962. In the US, the figure is $505,421. Americans are the second richest in the world based on these figures. Note that these figures are taken from Wikipedia. It’s incredibly difficult to come up with perfect figures for a country’s net worth. You’ll see different figures quoted in different places. It depends on what data was used and how accurate that data is. Perfectly accurate data exists, so we have to work with what we have. In my previous article, which I quoted from above, US average net worth was shown as $748,000. The Wikipedia data shows the average net worth as $505,421. That’s a big difference. As we’re comparing countries here, it’s best to stick with one set of data. Note that this data covers 168 countries. This is because the data for other countries wasn’t reliable enough to be included. The Wikipedia article has a separate section for them that includes estimated figures.

Top 10 countries by average net worth

  1. Switzerland $673,962
  2. United States $505,421
  3. Hong Kong $503,335
  4. Australia $483,755
  5. Luxembourg $477,306
  6. Netherlands $377,092
  7. Denmark $376,069
  8. Belgium $351,327
  9. New Zealand $348,198
  10. Iceland $337,787

Top 10 countries by median net worth

  1. Luxembourg $259,899
  2. Australia $238,072
  3. Iceland $231,462
  4. Belgium $230,548
  5. Hong Kong $173,768
  6. New Zealand $171,624
  7. Denmark $165,622
  8. Switzerland $146,733
  9. Netherlands $136,105
  10. France $133,559
You may notice a very interesting fact about the above. The countries that are in the top 10 by average net worth are also in the top 10 by median net worth. Except for one country. The US has been replaced by France in the second list. Why is that? It’s because the US is a very unequal country. As a non-American, this surprised me. I knew there was inequality there but didn’t realize that it was as bad as it is. This is where the Gini % comes into play.

Most and least equal countries in the world

According to Wikipedia, the country with the most equality in the world is Slovakia. It was a Gini % of 50.3. Its average net worth of $68,059, so not very different from its median net worth of $45,853. Wealth is spread quite evenly across the population. The country with the most inequality is Brunei, with a Gini % of 91.6. The average net worth is $39,098, compared to a median net worth of $5,122. You can see that there’s a huge difference.
The US has a Gini % of 85, which makes it the 24th in the world for inequality.
The US has an average net worth of $505,421, but a median net worth of only $79,274. If you’re American and have a net worth of $79,274, you likely feel pretty badly off when compared to the average. But you’re right in the middle. 50% of the population have less than you, and 50% have more than you. So you’re doing ok. When it comes to median net worth, the US is in position 26 out of 168. I’m British. The UK has a Gini % of 71.7, which isn’t too bad. It has an average net worth of $290,754, with a median net worth of $131,522. Many British people complain about the inequality, but it could be much worse. The UK is the 37th best in the world for equality.

Bottom 10 countries by average net worth

Prepare yourselves. These figures are truly shocking for people in first-world countries. If you ever complain about how bad things are, come back and look at these figures.
  1. Burundi $728
  2. Haiti $767
  3. Central African Republic $840
  4. Sierra Leone $995
  5. Mozambique $1,003
  6. Sudan $1,014
  7. Chad $1,117
  8. Lesotho $1,226
  9. DR Congo $1,240
  10. Niger $1,287
No, these are not typos. The average net worth in Burundi is just $728. The median net worth is $281. Let me spell that out for you. 50% of people in Burundi have less than $281 in total wealth. If you have a job earning $10 an hour, you will earn more in 30 hours than half of the population of Burundi have in net worth. Maybe it’s time to show some gratitude for what we have instead of complaining about what we don’t have.
I hope you found this data interesting and informative. I certainly did. You can check your home country stats on Wikipedia.

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