Chile has had one of the strongest economies in Latin America for some time. For example, compared with Argentina and Brazil, its GDP is growing faster and inflation is lower, although its stock market did less well in the year ending mid-2014.
The contrast in household wealth is even greater. Chile’s per capita GDP is 31% above Argentina’s and 23% greater than Brazil’s, but its average wealth is almost double that of Brazil and is over four times greater than Argentina’s. Since the year 2000, wealth per capita has risen 159% based on constant exchange rates and 168% based on current exchange rates. We also note that, at constant exchange rates, wealth during the global financial crisis fell only slightly and has been on a steady upward path ever since.
Chilean household wealth is equally divided between financial and real assets. Holdings of financial assets have been encouraged by low inflation, well developed financial markets, and a pioneering pension system. The high home ownership rate of 70% is equal to that of the USA, and contributes to substantial holdings of real property. At 15% of gross assets, household liabilities are moderate by international standards.
Mean wealth in Chile at USD 46,700 is well above the world average, and is also high compared with most emerging market countries. Compared with the world as a whole, Chile has more people in the USD 10,000–100,000 range and fewer below USD 10,000 or above USD 1 million. Overall inequality is relatively high, as indicated by a Gini coefficient of 79% and by the fact that Chile has 48,000 millionaires and 64,000 adults in the top 1% of global wealth holders.