Total net private wealth fell by $11.3 trillion to $454.4 trillion at the end of 2022, according to the Global Wealth Report released Tuesday by Credit Suisse and UBS.
Wealth per adult also declined, dropping by 3.6% to $84,718 per adult. The report said much of this decline resulted from the U.S. dollar’s appreciation against many other currencies.
Financial assets contributed to wealth declines last year, while non-financial assets — mainly real estate — remained resilient despite rapidly rising interest rates.
Global wealth in richer regions took the biggest hits in 2022, with North America and Europe together shedding $10.9 trillion and the Asia/Pacific region recording $2.1 trillion in losses. Latin America bucked this trend, with total wealth increasing by $2.4 trillion, helped by an average 6% currency appreciation against the greenback.
The study found that millennials and Gen Xers in the U.S. and Canada continued to do relatively well in 2022, though they were not immune to the overall wealth reduction.
Non-Hispanic Caucasians in the U.S. experienced a wealth decrease in 2022, while African Americans were left almost unscathed by the downturn. In contrast, Hispanics saw their wealth grow by 9.5%, owing to their greater holdings of housing assets compared to financial assets.
Reduction in Wealth Inequality
Besides the decline in aggregate wealth, overall wealth inequality also fell last year, with the wealth share of the global top 1% dropping to 44.5%. The number of dollar millionaires worldwide fell by 3.5 million during 2022 to 59.4 million.
The report noted, however, that this figure does not take into account 4.4 million “inflation millionaires” who would no longer qualify if the millionaire threshold were adjusted for inflation in 2022.
Global median wealth, which the report said is arguably a more meaningful indicator of how the typical person is faring, in fact increased by 3% in 2022 in contrast to the 3.6% fall in wealth per adult.
For the world as a whole, median wealth has increased five-fold in the 21st century at roughly double the pace of wealth per adult, largely because of the rapid wealth growth in China, according to the report.
See the gallery for the 20 countries with the most millionaires in 2022, according to Credit Suisse and UBS.Start Slideshow