Wealthiest 1% will soon own more than rest of us combined, Oxfam says

Posted at 7:35 AM, Jan 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-19 07:37:08-05

(CNN) — Turns out, the rich really are getting richer. And they’ll soon own more than the rest of us put together.

So says a new report, which estimates that the richest 1% will have as much wealth as the other 99% combined by next year.

“The richest 1% have seen their share of global wealth increase from 44% in 2009 to 48% in 2014,” Oxfam says in a report Monday.

At that rate, the wealthiest will own more than 50% by next year, according to the report.

“Do we really want to live in a world where the 1% own more than the rest of us combined?” asked Winnie Byanyima, executive director of the international aid agency.

‘Global inequality … simply staggering’

Byanyima will co-chair the annual World Economic Forum in Davos this week.

She plans to use the platform at Davos to call for urgent action on the rising inequality.

The 80 richest people on the planet have the same wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion people, the report says.

“The scale of global inequality is quite simply staggering; and despite the issues shooting up the global agenda, the gap between the richest and the rest is widening fast,” she said.

“It is time our leaders took on the powerful vested interests that stand in the way of a fairer and more prosperous world.”

Call for action

While 1% of the population owns 48% of the world’s wealth, a majority of the remainder follows the same trend.

“Of the remaining 52% of global wealth, 46% is owned by the rest of the richest fifth of the world’s population,” the report says.

The remainder of the population only possesses 5.5% of global wealth.

Their wealth last year? An average $3,851 per adult, the report says.

‘Global elite’

Meanwhile, the “global elite” members had an average wealth of $2.7 million each last year, it says.

The report comes a day before President Barack Obama is expected to unveil proposals that close tax breaks on the wealthy.

Obama will unveil his plans to help the middle class during his State of the Union Address on Tuesday.