Germany is the 16th wealthiest country in the world, report finds

Germany is the 16th wealthiest country in the world, report finds

The annual Global Wealth Report published by Swiss private bank UBS has found that adults in the federal republic have the 16th highest mean and median wealth in the world. Internationally, global wealth has declined for the first time since 2008.

UBS Global Wealth Report 2023

The annual UBS Global Wealth Report 2023, published in partnership with Credit Suisse for the first time since the two banks merged in March, looks at wealth statistics from the world’s major economies in 2022.

With its report, the bank aims to provide “the most comprehensive available information on global household wealth," defining “wealth” as “the value of financial assets plus real assets (principally housing) owned by households, minus their debts."

This includes assets like savings, insurance, bonds, stocks, and pensions. UBS calculates the total value of all of these financial assets for each country and divides the overall figure by the country’s population to determine the average wealth of citizens in US dollars.

According to these criteria, the 2023 report found Switzerland to be the wealthiest nation on Earth, with adults in the alpine nation owning a mean of 685.230 dollars in 2022. The United States and Hong Kong followed, where the adult population respectively held 551.350 and 551.190 dollars worth of wealth each last year.

Wealth disparity is very pronounced, study stresses

A map of wealth distribution across the world shows only a small proportion of geographical areas; North America, Western Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand in dark grey, representing nations with high wealth per adult (above 100,000 US dollars). Russia, China, Brazil and the Gulf states make up many of the countries with between 25.000 to 100.000 USD per adult.

“The overall regional disparities evident in [the map] are reflected in the fact that North America and Europe together account for 56 percent of total household wealth, but contain only 16 percent of the world adult population,” the report reads.

“Wealth inequality is very pronounced”, and while wealth inequality between countries has narrowed over the last 20 years or so, the 2023 report pointed to the fact that coronavirus and related policies had a sudden and fluctuating impact on wealth inequality statistics, but one which the report claims has now been cancelled out. 

Since very wealthy people favour financial assets (like stocks and bonds), and coronavirus measures lead to share price rises but a simultaneous growth in non-financial assets (like housing), “the overall impact on wealth inequality was broadly neutral”.

In 2022 overall wealth inequality fell, but is now “back at the level prevailing when the pandemic began, which, for most inequality indicators, was the lowest level recorded this century." The number of millionaires (in US dollars) worldwide also fell by 3,5 million in 2022, but according to the report, there are still 59,4 million millionaires in the world.

Germany ranks as 16th wealthiest country on Earth

In 2022 the median and mean wealth per adult in Germany was 256.180 USD, a decrease of 14.360 USD from 2021 figures, making the federal republic the 16th wealthiest country in the world.

When it comes to Germany’s super-rich - of which there are many - the country has 4 percent of the world’s millionaires and, behind the United States and China, had the third highest number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals in 2022; a total of 9.100 adults in Germany had wealth valued over 100.000 US dollars at the end of 2023.

A report by Berliner Morgenpost in June provided a helpful analogy to understand wealth inequality in Germany today: if wealth distribution determined population distribution across the 16 German federal states, half of the entire population would be squeezed into the country’s second smallest state, Saarland.

UBS report: The 10 wealthiest countries in the world

The 10 countries with the highest mean wealth per adult (in US dollars) are:

  1. Switzerland (685.230)
  2. United States (551.350)
  3. Hong Kong (551.190)
  4. Australia (496.820)
  5. Denmark (409.950)
  6. New Zealand (388.760)
  7. Norway (385.340)
  8. Singapore (382.960)
  9. Canada (369.580)
  10. The Netherlands (358.230)

For more information about the study, and to see how other nations faired, check out UBS’ website.

Thumb image credit: RussieseO /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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MirceaN2 14:42 | 25 August 2023

Sorry, that doesn't have any relevance to the average Joe at all. I keep getting job offers from Switzerland and I turn them down because when I put salary vs expenses on paper, for a comparison, it's better as a single person to live in Germany than Switzerland(except if you live in Germany and work for Switzerland, to which almost no employer agrees). And then, there's the up-nose attitude of the Swiss... but that's another story.