The ?top 1%? is the symbol of wealth and power thanks to a protest movement. Since Occupy Wall Street popularized the term almost a decade ago, inequality has surged, and this exclusive group has only gotten richer and more influential.
Yet the top 1% covers a wide span, from prosperous professionals to billionaires with more wealth than many nations. And the difficulty of making the cut varies greatly depending on where you live.
To join the group in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates requires more than $900,000, or 12 times more income than in India, a developing market so populous that the top 1% includes more than 13 million souls. In much of the developed world, an income of $200,000 to $300,000 gets you in the top 1%.
In the U.S., the wealthy have been pulling away from the middle and working classes, whose incomes have barely grown?for the past couple of decades. Inequality is widening even within the ranks of the top 1%. While it takes about $500,000 per year to enter the top 1% of Americans, reaching the 0.1% now requires an annual income of more than $2 million. The?threshold?for the 0.01% is more than $10 million.
What They Owe
Some countries make special efforts to attract the global 1% and their wealth. Singapore and Monaco, for example, have turned themselves into tax shelters where the well-off can live and invest under a lighter tax and regulatory burden. Some nations rich in oil and gas can also afford not to tax the top 1%.
In most of the world, though, politicians use taxes to try to level the playing field between the wealthy and everyone else. In many nations with a progressive income tax, the highest rates apply only to the richest portion of the 1%.