I read this claim in Quora:
The "richest" country in the world (the u.s.) would assuredly lose that place if you excluded just the top 5% of wealth holders
Is this claim true? Is there any evidence to back it up?
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EDIT:I found better figures so I'm updating the wealth values. This does change my conclusions somewhat.
The MacKinsey Global Institute conducted a study of the wealth of the world . Wealth was defined in the economic sense of assets minus liabilities. All figures are for the year 2010.
Household wealth accounts for about $27trillion in the US. The top 10% of households own about 70% of that, or $19trillion - logically the top 5% must own at least $10 trillion and probably much more - say $15trillion.
So the wealth of the US minus its top 5% of households is around $43-48trillion.
The next richest country is Japan, with a wealth of $28trillion.
TL;DR This statement is probably not true. The uncertainty in the figures make it impossible to be definitive
Clearly to be a fair comparison you should also exclude the wealthiest 5% of Japanese households. Japan has nearly as much of its wealth owned by its top 5% of households as the US.
Interestingly, government assets make up only a few percent of total national wealth. After household wealth institutional investors are the next largest bracket, then corporations.
I should confess that I am not sure how these studies handle an asset that is owned by a company whose shares are owned by a thousand different household. I would welcome input from someone who understands this.
The United States isn't necessarily the richest country even with the top 5% wealth holders.
I'm not sure if GDP is a perfect measure of wealth, but it should be closely correlated.
If you go by nominal GDP, then Wikipedia lists Luxemborg as the highest, with the US in 14th place. If you go by purchasing power parity GDP, then Wikipedia lists Qatar as the highest, with the United States in 7th place.
If you think Luxemborg and Qatar are too small to count, then Norway does better than the United States on both counts, and has a population of approximately 5 million.