May 21, 2022

Working Paper/Data Analysis: “Inequalities in Household Wealth Across OECD Countries”

From the OECD:

This paper describes how household wealth is distributed in 28 OECD countries, based on evidence from the second wave of the OECD Wealth Distribution Database. A number of general patterns emerge from these data.

First, wealth concentration is twice the level of income inequality: across the 28 OECD countries covered, the wealthiest 10% of households hold, on average, 52% of total household wealth, while the 60% least wealthy households own little over 12%.

Second, up to a quarter of all households report negative net worth (i.e. liabilities exceeding the value of their assets) in a number of countries. In addition, some countries feature large shares of households with high levels of debt relative to both their incomes and the assets that they hold; this potentially exposes such households to significant risks in the event of changes in asset prices or falls of their income.

Third, more than one in three people are economically vulnerable, as they lack liquid financial assets to maintain a poverty-level living standard for at least three months.

Fourth, one in three households has received some gift or bequest in their life, with this share being considerably larger among high income and high wealth households. The paper also describes changes in wealth distribution since the Great Recession among the sub-set of countries for which repeated observations are available in the OECD Wealth Distribution Database. Finally, the paper discusses a number of methodological challenges, notably on how to better account for the top end of the wealth distribution.

Direct to Full Text Report (Read Online) ||| PDF Version
70 pages; PDF.

See Also: Direct to OECD Wealth Distribution Data

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.