Strong property prices lifted the wealth of Australians considerably in 2021, according to an annual report which tracks wealth in 20 countries.
Credit Suisse’s annual Global Wealth Report 2022 shows that the median wealth per Australian adult increased by USD 28,450 (AUD 43,794) last year.
What’s more, we gained another 390,000 millionaires – that is, adults with net wealth* over USD 1 million, or AUD 1.53m. Australia had about 2.2 million millionaires (in US dollars) in 2021, up from 1.8 million millionaires in 2020.
Switzerland again topped the list with wealth per adult of USD 696,600, up $25,040 on the year. The United States (579,050) is in second place, just above Hong Kong SAR (552,930) and Australia (550,110).
There is then a gap before a cluster of countries appears (New Zealand, Denmark, Canada and the Netherlands) with wealth per adult in the range of USD 400,000 to 480,000. Sweden and Belgium complete the list of the ten countries with the highest level of wealth per adult.
According to the report, ranking countries by median wealth per adult favours those with lower levels of wealth inequality and results in a different list. In this scenario, Australia (USD 273,900) tops the list, closely followed by Belgium (267,890). Switzerland (USD 168,080) places sixth by this criterion, while the United States (93,270) drops to 18th place.
(Median wealth divides the wealth distribution into two equal groups where half the adults have wealth above the median and the other half below the median. Mean wealth is obtained by dividing the total aggregate wealth by the number of adults.).
The report noted that ‘generous financial support given to households in many advanced countries, coupled with lower interest rates and limitations on consumption opportunities, boosted household savings and laid the foundations for share price and house price increases, which resulted in significant rises in household wealth throughout the world’.
*Net ‘wealth’ is defined in the report as being the value of financial assets (including retirement savings) plus real estate, from which debts are subtracted.