This book provides the first study of personal wealth from a global viewpoint. Previous international studies of wealth have focused on the rich countries. Here, the transition countries, emerging economies, and the developing world are examined too. The book looks at wealth inequality andasset composition around the world, showing how these are affected by history, institutions, gender, and incomes. There is a dramatic contrast between rich countries where financial assets are so important and poor countries where farm assets and land still dominate. The book shows that wealthinequality within countries is far higher than that of income, and has been rising recently, most notably in Russia, China, and other transition countries. Concentration among the rich and super-rich has also increased. Worldwide, the top 2% have about 50% of personal wealth, and the top 10% have85%. In contrast, the bottom half has just 1%. Poor countries are even poorer in wealth than in income terms. But these are just the countries where life is most insecure and personal assets are most needed. The book concludes that steps must be taken to break down barriers and help the poor andmiddle class in low income countries build up their personal assets to overcome their wealth disadvantage.