View Full Version : Which European country's citizens are the wealthiest ?

04-11-05, 05:04
Expatica : Belgian households lose rank as Europe's wealthiest (http://www.expatica.com/source/site_article.asp?subchannel_id=24&story_id=25039)

In ratio to Gross Domestic product (GDP), Belgians were crowned as the wealthiest Europeans in 2002, newspaper 'De Tijd' reported on Thursday.

At that time, their financial wealth amounted to 255 percent of GDP, the EU statistics office Eurostat said.

But new figures indicate that Belgium lost its top position in 2004. Despite combined wealth increasing to 257 percent of GDP, British and Dutch nationals made bigger leaps ahead.

The wealth of Britons in ratio to GDP rose from 252 to 270 percent, while Dutch wealth rose by 247 to 268 percent.

The change is possibly due to the fact British and Dutch nationals invest more in the stock market, meaning more of them profited from the recovery of markets since 2003.
Meanwhile, the stronger growth of Belgium's GDP in comparison with the Netherlands and Britain can help explain the nation's slide in the wealth rankings. The Belgian economy grew 2.7 percent last year, 1 percent more than Dutch GDP.

This ranking is not absolute but only relative to the GDP. So countries with higher GDP like Luxembourg have less chances to rank high, although its people could well be the richest.

Unfortunately, I don't have the data for other countries, so I'll just compare these 3. Which GDP figures to choose is yet another problem. Here is the data of the IMF for GDP/capita vs GDPcapita at PPP for 2004 :

Belgium : 33,866/29,707
Netherlands : 37,326/29,332
Britain : 35,548/28,938

Let's calculate each country's citizen average wealth by multiplying by the percentage from the article.

Belgium : 33,866/29,707 x 257% = 87,035 / 76,346
Netherlands : 37,326/29,332 x 268% = 100,033 / 78,609
Britain : 35,548/28,938 x 270% = 95,979 / 78,132

So at both nominal and PPP values, in 2004 the Dutch were the wealthiest, followed by the Brits, then the Belgians. Gaps are closer at PPP. The nominal GDP per capita alone had the same ranking, but the GDP per capita at PPP ranked Belgium first, followed by the Netherlands then Britain. The wealth as percentage of GDP are exactly the reverse though.

All this to say that depending how you look at the stats, the ranking can be quite different. The Belgians are first for GDP/capita at PPP, the Brits are first for wealth as percentage of GDP, but the Dutch are first when it comes to nominal GDP per capita AND real individual wealth (percentage of GDP x GDP/capita).

04-11-05, 13:03
Figures like these always use the mean average, and I wonder if that puts them artificially high, as those that are extremely rich skew the mean in that direction? I wonder how the figures would look if they used mode or median?

04-11-05, 13:16
I still thinking the people living in the Vatican are the wealthiest of all....

14-07-07, 21:08
The VRT has posted two articles related to the wealth of Belgians compared to other Europeans.

VRT : Many Belgians have their own house (http://www.flandersnews.be/cm/flandersnews.be/News/070714_renting)

Research shows that around 7 in 10 Belgians are house owners. Only a minority rents a place. The number of house owners in Belgium is higher than in the rest of Europe. This is partly due to tax incentives.
Belgium has an elevated number of single-family dwellings.

75% of Belgian real estate belongs to this category, that's much more than the European average of 53%.

The number of row houses is particularly high; 43% is well above the European average of 25%. This also means that Belgium has less flats, 21% compared to the European average of 45%.

In Greece and Spain, homeownership is 85%, against only 40% in Germany. So I don't think it is such a good factor in determining individual wealth. Do statistics consider that someone who hasn't paid back their house loan is already owner ? Most probably, although it is not really the truth.

VRT : Flemings are quite well-off (http://www.flandersnews.be/cm/flandersnews.be/News/070713_Flemings_rich)

3 in 10 Belgians have more than 50,000 euros in savings. In Europe, Belgium is only (narrowly) beaten by Switzerland. If we look at Flanders itself, the figure climbs to 37%, the highest in Europe.
Belgians are even better off if we include Eastern Europe. The threshold is 25,000 euros, but 98% of the families fail to make even that figure.

I wonder if they could the value of one's assets (house, stocks...) as savings, or whether it is just cash. I suppose it is just cash, as it is nearly impossible to buy even a small apartment for 50,000 euro, and yet 70% of Belgian own their home according to the above article. So this does not mean that Belgians are the richest, just that they save more or invest less (not necessarily a good thing).

31-07-07, 23:20
According to this article (http://www.flandersnews.be/cm/flandersnews.be/News/070731_rich_belgians), some 10 million Belgians had personal assets (in cash, securities, shares or other investment funds) totalling 836.8 billion euros, as of 31 March 2007. This means that the average assets per person is 83,680 euro.

As the country's population is 10.3 million (8.7 million Belgians and 1.6 million foreigners), it should be assumed that the assets of children and teenagers is really their parents, so it is reasonable to assume that the average household of 2 children has over 200,000 euro in savings (excluding their material property, such as real estate). As immigrants are usually very poor and have very little savings/investments, the real figure for the "average Belgian family" should be closer to 250,000 euro.

Miss Marple's nephew
20-02-09, 15:40
Any such statisitcs are completely misleading. If 50% of the population of Liechtenstein (for example) were multi millionaires and the other half of the population were destitute - what would the rank of the country reflect? Nothing of much interest.

Some of the weathiest people in the world might come from the U.S. yet the United States has some of the most impoverished citizens in the whole industrial world. I doubt the poor people of the U.S. would be impressed very much by the statistics.

martin parra
24-07-09, 03:24
The VRT has posted two articles related to the wealth of Belgians compared to other Europeans.

VRT : Many Belgians have their own house (http://www.flandersnews.be/cm/flandersnews.be/News/070714_renting)

how much do they charge for owning a small house in spain?