A survey asking a million people worldwide has returned a surprising set of answers – no one really knows.
The Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) set up a compare your income tool online to highlight where individuals stood on the global income ladder.
More than a million people took part in the research, but the OECD says the rich don’t think they have enough money and poor think they are better off than they really are.
The statistical reach of the survey could do with a bigger sample – so far the results are based only on the USA, Mexico and France.
Few people in any of the countries correctly worked out their individual earnings ranking.
Poor believe they are better off
Just 10% of Americans had any idea, while the figures were slightly better in Mexico (1 in 8) and France (1 in 6).
“Those from the middle income group best guessed their ranking,” said the OECD report.
“They tend to realise they are neither rich or poor, but the poorest did not realise how far behind everyone else they were and most top earners actually believed they were on the bottom half of the rankings when they were at the top.
“The results reflect the results of other research which shows people just do not realise how they are doing in comparison with everyone else.”
The report cited a survey by Boston College that discussed income with several millionaires and a couple of billionaires.
Rich still have money worries
The research found the rich had just as many money worries as the rest of the world and felt they would only be financially secure if they had roughly 25% more money than they had, even though many were worth tens of millions of dollars.
The OECD research also looks at attitudes towards money, who gets the most and how much people believe they should earn.
In France, people taking the survey thought 60% of wealth belonged to 10% of individuals, when the real figure is only 25% of national wealth belongs to the 10% of the richest.
People also reckoned a fair share of national wealth for the richest was 30% – higher than the actual amount in their bank accounts.
“People fail to realise the difference between income and wealth,” said the OECD report.
“Income is what you earn, while wealth is savings and investments accrued over time.”
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