Little sign of growth
Russia experienced very rapid growth in household wealth during the early years of the century, fuelled by a world hungry for its abundant natural resources. Between 2000 and 2007, wealth per adult rose eight-fold. Since 2007, however, growth has been slow and uneven – up 15% to date in ruble terms, but down 17% when measured in current USD, due to ruble depreciation which saw the USD-RUB rate rise from 25 in 2007 to 34 in mid-2014. Nevertheless, the rise in household wealth per adult from USD 2,920 in 2000 to USD 19,590 today represents significant progress over the period as a whole when compared to other countries at a similar stage of development.
The quality of wealth data for Russia is mixed. Financial balance sheets are now available and indicate that gross financial assets average USD 4,200. There is less information on real assets, but this year we have incorporated new evidence and report revised figures that indicate non-financial assets amounting to USD 18,100 per adult. Personal debt grew rapidly in the period 2000-7, and more slowly after that. We estimate that it now accounts for a modest 12% of gross assets.
According to our calculations, the top decile of wealth holders owns 85% of all household wealth in Russia. This is significantly higher than any other major economic power: the corresponding figure is 75% for the USA, for example, and 64% for China. The very high level of wealth inequality in Russia is reflected in the fact that it has 158,000 millionaires and 200,000 individuals in the global top 1% of wealth holders. It is also well endowed with billionaires, of whom there are an estimated 111 who together own 19% of all household wealth.