Indians Get Richer Despite Wealth Growth Halving, Says UBS

While inequality rose in India as well as other fast-growing markets, it diminished in several developed and mature economies.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>(Source: Freepik)</p></div>
(Source: Freepik)

The average annual wealth growth has more than halved in India since 2010, according to UBS.

People around the world are getting progressively wealthier—and that doesn’t just apply to those who already own great wealth. Last year, global wealth growth bounced back: after having plunged by 3% in 2022, it rose by 4.2% in USD terms, more than offsetting the previous year’s loss.

Still, while from one year to another the aggregate growth in wealth tends to fluctuate wildly, the long-term trend points to a gradual slowdown in the pace of growth when measured in US dollars. The pace of wealth growth lost its pace in India too, having grown by about 7% between 2010 and 2023 on a compound annual growth rate basis, compared to about 14% between 2000 and 2010, according to the Global Wealth Report 2024 by UBS.

Overall, global wealth growth fell from an annual average of 7% between 2000 and 2010 to barely over 4.5% between 2010 and 2023. Along with local demographics, the strength of the US dollar vis-à-vis most other currencies explains some of the slowdown, the report said.

However, other factors such as maturing economies in Asia-Pacific and Latin America as well as the sovereign debt crisis in Europe also played a part, it said.

For India, average wealth per adult since 2008 rose by over 300% in local currency, the report showed.

In most markets of the sample, which included India, average wealth in 2023 was significantly higher than the median wealth per adult. This happens when wealth figures are skewed upwards by a cluster of particularly high wealth at the top that overstates the wealth of the general population, while median wealth figures are less distorted by such extreme tail-end figures, the report explained.

Key Highlights

  • Inequality in India rose by 16.2% between 2008 and 2023. Globally, too, inequality has tended to increase over the years in fast-growing markets, but has diminished in several developed and mature economies. In many of these, the middle wealth segments have seen their wealth grow faster than the higher wealth brackets.

  • In percentage terms, while the United States hosts 38% of the world’s millionaires, Western Europe hosts 28%, and Mainland China hosts 10%—equivalent to the sum of Japan, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand.

  • The top of the world’s wealth pyramid is made up of just 14 people, who collectively own close to $2,000 billion. This, however, is not the smallest segment. That title goes to the second-highest, populated by the 12 individuals who own between $50 billion and $100 billion.

  • When it comes to inheritance, a significant chunk of wealth will move between spouses before transferring to the next generation. This is the underexplored horizontal wealth transfer.

S&P Retains India's FY25 GDP Growth Estimate At 6.8%