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BW Businessworld

Who Is A Wealthy Indian?

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India may be home to a large number of poor, but the average wealth of an Indian has nearly tripled in the last 10 years to $5,500 (nearly Rs 2.70 lakh), making the country the sixth largest contributer to overall global wealth, a study said on Wednesday.

Still, the average wealth for Indians was way below the global average of $51,000 and just about one per cent of the world's highest per-adult wealth of $5,40,010 recorded in Switzerland, found a global wealth study by investment banking major Credit Suisse.

The wealth per adult in India has increased from $2,000 in the year 2000 to $5,500 currently, but the wealth distribution remains very disproportionate and poverty was still rampant in the country, Credit Suisse said in its report.

"While wealth has been rising strongly in India, and the ranks of the middle class and wealthy have been swelling, not everyone has shared in this growth and there is still a great deal of poverty," the report said.

As per the study, 43 per cent of adults' wealth in India is below $1,000, as against the world average of 27 per cent.

Also, a very small proportion of the Indian population (just 0.4 per cent) has net worth of over $100,000.

The report said that the global wealth has grown by 14 per cent since January 2010 to $231 trillion as on June 2011, driven by strong contribution from emerging economies including India.

India was the sixth largest contributor to the global wealth accumulation, while the US was the largest wealth generator in the world over the 18 month-period, adding $4.6 trillion to global wealth.

Asia Pacific was the main contributor to the rise in global wealth during the period, with China, Japan, Australia and India among the top six contributors to global wealth accumulation.

Based on Credit Suisse's June 2011 estimates, there are 84,700 ultra high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) with net assets exceeding $50 million each globally.

The USA is at the top of the ladder with 35,400 UHNWIs, followed by China with 5,400 UHNWIs, Germany (4,135), Switzerland (3,820) and Japan (3,400), Russia (1,970), India (1,840), and Brazil (1,520).

In the year 2011 alone, India has acquired 34,000 new millionaires, however, a larger share of these wealthy individuals "may be more properly regarded as residents of other countries" the report said.