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Swiss remain the 'richest' in the world... but it's not all good news

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Swiss remain the 'richest' in the world... but it's not all good news
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP
12:51 CEST+02:00
Residents of Switzerland remain on average the richest in the world, a new study has shown. Here's why.

The average Swiss resident has a wealth of CHF557,363 (€506,635), an increase of CHF17565 (€15,961) since last year. 

Switzerland extended its lead over the United States as the country with the highest average wealth. Switzerland experienced the highest wealth growth of any country, followed by the US, Japan, the Netherlands and New Zealand. 

The data comes from Credit Suisse’s annual Global Wealth Report, which has ranked Switzerland at number one every year since it was first published in 2000. 

READ MORE: Why the French are ranked 'more wealthy' than Americans or Germans

Why so rich?

The major reason for the rise in Swiss wealth has been the comparative strength of the franc over the US dollar, particularly due to gains between 2001 and 2013. 

Since the turn of the millennium, wealth has risen by 144 percent for the average Swiss resident when measured in US dollars. When measured in Swiss francs, the rise has been 45 percent. 

Image: Credit Suisse

The news is not all rosy for Switzerland however, with Swiss residents having one of the highest levels of debt anywhere in the world. The average Swiss has CHF140,851 (€127949) in debt - a figure which represents roughly 20 percent of all assets. 

Wealth inequality

While each Swiss resident may on average be worth over half a million francs, the study also showed the level of wealth inequality across the country. Switzerland is home to 810,000 millionaires, an increase of 19,000 millionaires when compared to 2018. 

READ: Swiss richer than ever but wealth inequality persists

The study found that Switzerland had the status of “relatively high wealth inequality”, which makes sense considering that more than one in ten (12 percent) of Swiss adult residents are millionaires. 

Image: Credit Suisse

The report contradicts with one released earlier in 2019 by German insurance giant Allianz who found that the United States had taken over Switzerland as the wealthiest country.

The differing figures between the reports comes down largely due to the way in which debt is included in the totals. 

 

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