Research shows surge in household finances despite economic stagnation

Despite a sudden increase in unemployment across many countries at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, personal equity has proven to significantly grow across many OECD countries throughout 2020, according to new research by Compare the Market.

Of the 20 countries studied, South Korea recorded the greatest positive change in household net wealth last year despite the onset effects of COVID-19. The nation saw a 19% increase, jumping from US$46,810.10 per capita in 2019 to US$55,675.78 per capita in 2020.

Coming in close second to South Korea, Denmark experienced an 18% increase in net wealth, going from US$145,203.50 to US$171,386.80 per capita. In third, Poland with an overall increase of 16%, equivalent to US$3,426.27 per capita of its household net wealth.

What’s more, 18 of the 20 countries recorded an increase higher than the 3.2% global inflation rate for the same period (2019 to 2020). Other notable changes in household net wealth include the United States with a 13% increase, claiming fourth spot on the list.

Just over the border, Canada recorded 8% increase which left the nation in 11th place.

Worst performers

At the other end of the list, Chile had smallest change in household net wealth with a decrease of 2% (US$36,426.50 to US$35,607.32 per capita), which was followed by Spain with 1% decrease (US$54,623.15 to US$54,252.78 per capita).

Despite being third from the bottom, Portugal actually recorded a small increase (4%) during the same period, growing from US$46,464.13 to US$48,540.63 per capita.

Compare the Market’s list was compiled using the Household net wealth statistics available for each country from 2015 to 2020 on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) website, with a focus on the change in household net wealth 2019-20.

The OECD defines household net wealth as the total financial assets, such as household items, and any equity the household owns, less the financial liabilities and outstanding loans.