How is Wealth Measured in Different Countries?

posted by Chris Valentine

If there is one concern that most people share, it is money. No matter how good you’re doing or how well you’re getting paid, finances are always a concern. There are bills, debts, college tuitions, and plenty of other things to worry about. It stands to reason that this is something that a lot of people consider, because we live in a world plagued by consumerism, and much is defined by how much money you’re worth. Yet, that notion alone, wealth, varies from one place to another.

Being wealthy in the United States is one thing, and being Wealthy in Uganda or Nepal is another. So, how is it exactly that wealth is measured in the different countries?


Wealth in general is something very relative, because if you’re comparing yourself to Elon Musk, then you’re probably quite poor. If, however, you’re comparing yourself to a homeless guy, you’re the richest person on earth. Still, wealth is defined differently in each country depending on a lot of things. The economy of the country itself makes a difference, as do the average salaries as well as the median pricing when it comes to commodities and amenities. All these things factor into answering the question, what exactly does it mean to be wealthy? In Europe, they calculate wealth be adding your monetary assets to your valuable possessions and subtracting any private debt you have.

What you get after those calculations is an amount of money that will either indicate that you are wealthy, or just rich. There are higher categories, though, like ultra high-net-worth individual (UHNWI). To be called wealthy, anywhere in the world, you need to have a net worth of over $30 million, which is quite a lot. In Europe, a little over 60 thousand people are considered to be UHNWI.

The United States

Things are a little bit more elaborate in the US, which makes sense considering the fact that the country has the biggest number of UHNWIs in the world. Generally speaking, wealth is more defined in the US. So, the answer to the question what does it mean to be wealthy in the U.S. can actually be stated –– an American with an average net worth of $2.3 million is considered wealthy. Having $2 million doesn’t really mean that you’re poor, though, but by common definition, you’re not wealthy. Are these numbers accurate? Not necessarily. A lot of factors contribute to your net worth and what you can do with it. The state you are in makes a huge difference in your overall wealth and its weight. Living in New York is definitely not like living in Mississippi or Alaska, simply because New York is quite expensive to live in. So, your net worth might not be as beneficial.

In fact, a lot of other experts estimate wealth at smaller numbers than $2.3 million. And some even estimate wealth to require more money than that number. At the end of the day, most Americans obviously don’t have access to that kind of money, and they are therefore not wealthy.


Wealth is a bit different in Africa, for obvious reasons. There are quite a few poor countries, and they don’t all have access to the same resources one could get in the US or Europe. That being said, there are wealthy individuals on the continent, but they are defined as those who have at least 1$ million in assets. Believe it or not, there is estimated to be only around 140,000 high net worth individuals around the continent, but they control over 40% of the wealth in Africa.


Asia is actually closing in on the United States’ position as the leading country with the highest number of ultra high-net-worth individuals, with Asia’s own ultra wealthy having a combined total wealth of around $8.365 trillion. This doesn’t come as a surprise really considering that most Asian countries are quite industrial, and some are leading exporters of several commodities in demand. Some of the world’s wealthiest families are Asian, and experts predict that a lot more UHNWIs will come out of the continent in the years to come –– the past few years have already seen a massive increase in their number, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

As mentioned earlier, wealth is quite relative, but that hasn’t stopped a lot of people around the world from accumulating significant wealth that makes them different from most people. If you want to get there one day, the first thing you need to do is know just how much money you will need to make to be considered wealthy.


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