Inherited or Self-Made Wealth Statistics

With the holidays fast approaching, here are a few interesting statistics to spark conversation at gatherings. First, you’ve likely heard that wealth comes from hard work. However, of the richest people in each nation, 52% inherited their wealth, as shown in’s map below:worlds-billionares-inherited-or-self-made-7970

However, the good news for anyone born without a silver spoon is that the self-made tend to have greater wealth. By wealth, the top three Blog.SilverSpoon_2015.10.26people richest within their nation are all self-made: Bill Gates in the US ($79.4 billion), Amancio Ortega of Spain ($78.7 billion), and Carlos Slim in Mexico ($62.8 billion). All surpass the greatest inherited wealth on the map (Liliane Bettencourt of France at $43.3 billion).

Also interesting is’s scaling of each country by how much unsustainable debt they have. Japan is at the top of the list, with a debt-to-GDP ratio of 230%. Greece is number two at 177%. The lowest ratios belong to countries with big nationalized oil and gas industries, like Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.


What about the United States? The U.S. has 103%. It’s pointed out that the U.S. has dropped from the sixth most-indebted nation in debt-to-GDP terms last year to 12th this year. However, the improvement is really a result of other countries taking on more debt, since the U.S.’s ratio actually increased this year from 101.5%.

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