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Monday
Jan202014

World's 85 Richest People as Wealthy as Poorest Half of Population 

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The world's 85 wealthiest people are as rich as the bottom half of the population, according to a new report by Oxfam.

The study from the international organization captures economic inequality as the 2014 World Economic Forum is set to meet on Jan. 22.

The report found that almost half of the world's wealth is owned by just one percent of the population. The wealth of the one percent of the world's richest people amounts to $110 trillion, which is 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half the world's population.

In a statement, Oxfam said that if left unchecked, the effects of inequality and such a huge disparity are "potentially immutable, and will lead to 'opportunity capture' -- in which the lowest tax rates, the best education, and the best health care are claimed by the children of the rich." Such results reinforce the perpetuation of poverty cycles.

The report also found that seven out of 10 people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years.

In the United States, while the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. The wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of the post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent lost money.

The study included a questionnaire for participants in six countries -- Spain, Brazil, India, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States -- in which most people believed that laws or regulations are designed to benefit the rich.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio