News Release

The Davos Billionaire Class is Seeing Their Wealth Skyrocket


The report “Extreme Wealth” [full PDF] was just released by the Institute for Policy Studies,  Oxfam, Patriotic Millionaires, and Fight Inequality Alliance. This report is a complement to Oxfam’s recently released “Survival of the Richest.”

The groups state: “The global billionaire class is gathering this week in Davos, Switzerland to talk about the ongoing ‘polycrisis‘ — a term embraced by the World Economic Forum (WEF) to describe the convergence of ecological, political, pandemic and economic disruptions. The one acute crisis they won’t talk about is the extreme levels of concentration of wealth and power happening across the globe.”

The report estimates that “$1.7 trillion could have been raised in 2022 alone if a progressive wealth tax were imposed on the ultra-rich.” In addition, over the last decade:

  • The global billionaire class has more than doubled and their wealth has skyrocketed at a similar rate: 99.6 percent. This is a gain of more than $5.9 trillion — almost twice as much as the combined GDP of Africa, a continent with over 1.3 billion people.
  • Wealth in the U.S. has been steadily concentrating in fewer hands. U.S. households with more than $50 million have seen their wealth increase 53.9 percent since 2012.  
  • As of November 22, there are an estimated 1,468,400 individuals in the U.S. with wealth over $5 million. Their total combined wealth is equal to $28 trillion.
  • Within this group, there are 64,500 individuals with wealth over $50 million, with a combined wealth of $12.5 trillion.
  • There are 728 U.S. billionaires with a combined wealth of $4.5 trillion, a 34.6 increase since the pandemic began in mid-March 2020.
  • Since 2012, the richest 1 percent in the U.S. saw their wealth gain 19 times more than the bottom half of the country’s population.
  • For every $100 of wealth created over the last decade, $37.40 went to the top 1 percent. The bottom half of U.S. households only saw a $2 gain. 
  • In the U.S., a graduated annual wealth tax of 2 percent on millionaires over $5 million, 3 percent on wealth over $50 million, and 5 percent on wealth over $1 billion, would raise $583.5 billion in revenue annually.

For more information and to speak with report co-authors Chuck Collins and Omar Ocampo, contact IPS’s deputy communications director Olivia Alperstein at