French median wealth higher than in Germany or the United States?


While purchasing power has been falling sharply for several months, the wealth of the French has increased sharply in 2021. In its annual Global Wealth Report published on Tuesday September 20, Credit Suisse has indeed noted a 9% increase in the median wealth of French adults. Thus, the group estimated that it amounted to $144,989 last year.

Based on the average exchange rate in 2021, this amounts to 128,000 euros. In 2020, this figure was lower, at $132,959. The previous year, it was even lower: Credit Suisse estimated it at around $120,000.

If these figures are to be believed, the French would therefore have greatly enriched themselves over the past few years. However, this remains virtual and the causes are actually quite complex. Indeed, the majority of French people’s wealth is represented by non-financial assets, mainly real estate. However, the price of real estate has risen sharply in recent years, which partly explains why the French have more wealth.

The median and average heritage are to be distinguished. The median is a line that divides the population in two. Half of the French own more while the other half owns less. Conversely, the average wealth does not take into account the distribution and is therefore much higher because it is driven upwards by large fortunes. It thus amounts to $322,000 for the year 2021, i.e. $37,000 more than in 2020.

The median wealth of the French is therefore particularly high, even compared to countries with a more dynamic economy and a lower unemployment rate.

By looking at the median wealth of other countries in the world, we can see that that of the French is particularly high. With nearly 145,000 dollars, it is ahead of that of the British ($140,299), the Japanese ($134,919), the Italians ($117,224), the Spaniards ($107,090) but also the Americans ($93,271). dollars) and Germans ($61,741).

These figures may seem particularly surprising since they establish that a median Frenchman would be virtually 1.5 times richer than an American and 2.3 times more than a German.

How can such a discrepancy be explained?

One of the first explanations for this figure is that wealth is better distributed in France than in many countries, as the Credit Suisse report reveals. In France, the wealth held by the wealthiest 1% of the population represents 22.3% of total wealth. In Germany or the United States, this figure is 31.7% and 35.1% respectively.

Thus, the average wealth ($322,070) is much less favorable for France since that of the United States is $579,050. However, it remains higher than that of the Germans, which is $257,000.

The explanation for this strong difference in heritage that we display vis-à-vis our neighbors across the Rhine comes, once again, from the real estate sector. In France, the average price of one m² for an apartment is 4,008 euros, while it is 2,959 euros in Germany, reveals BFMTV. Thus, two owners of apartments of similar sizes, each located on one side and the other of the border, will have a totally different heritage. In addition, Eurostat data shows that 63.6% of French households owned their home in 2020 compared to 50.5% of German households.