Median and mean wealth per adult in 20 advanced countries, 2011
Source: Authors' analysis of Credit Suisse Research Institute (2011)
Documentation and methodology
Data are from the Credit Suisse Research Institute’s Global Wealth Databook 2011. Note that in international comparisons of income it is standard practice (including at EPI) to convert currencies using “purchasing power parity” (PPP) exchange rates instead of market exchange rates. PPPs are based on the price of buying a given “basket” of goods and services in each country, thereby equalizing the purchasing power of currencies. It should be noted that for these data, market exchange rates, not PPP exchange rates, are used to convert currencies to U.S. dollars. The authors of the report argue that there is a case to be made for using market exchange rates for international comparisons of wealth because in every country a large share of personal wealth is owned by households in the top few percentiles of the distribution, and these households tend to move their assets across borders with relative frequency. Results are not available using PPP exchange rates. It also should be noted that the ratio of mean to median is the same regardless of what exchange rates are used.