Just 42 people have as much wealth as half of the world, says Oxfam

A report produced by Oxfam has claimed that the 42 richest individuals in the world have as much wealth as the poorest half of the world.

The figure is down from the 61 individuals estimated in the equivalent 2016 report.

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The figures also suggest that 0% of the wealth created in 2017 went to the poorest half, while 82% was earned by the richest 1% - though the figures have been queried by critics.

The damning stats are symptomatic of widening inequality and demonstrated a failing system, according to the global poverty charity.

The report has been released to coincide with the meeting of world political and business leaders in Davos, Switzerland.

'Unacceptable level of inequality'

According to Oxfam chief executive the stats reveal an "unacceptable level of inequality".

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He insisted that "the concentration of extreme wealth at the top is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a system that is failing the millions of hard-working people on poverty wages who make our clothes and grow our food."

The richest 1% earned 82% of the money created in 2017, according to Oxfam (Photo: Shutterstock)

Goldring suggested that better working conditions, a living wage and equality for women were essential to a "genuine route out of poverty".

He claimed that the highest earners "should be willing to pay," to make the needed changes possible.

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Who are the 42 richest individuals in the world?

Oxfam's figures are based on data from Forbes who publish an annual list of the wealthiest individuals in the world.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates tops the most recent list with an estimated wealth of $86 billion.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg also feature in the top 5, with a real time version of the list putting Bezos top of the list with an estimated wealth of $108.1 billion

Mark Zuckerberg is the fifth richest individual in the world, according to Forbes (Photo: Shutterstock)

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The 42 richest individuals in the world according to Forbes' 2017 list are as follows (estimated wealth in billions):

Bill Gates ($86) Warren Buffet ($75.6)Jeff Bezos ($72.8)Amancio Ortega ($71.3)Mark Zuckerberg ($56)Carlos Slim Helu ($54.5)Larry Ellison ($52.2)Charles Koch ($48.3)David Koch ($48.3)Michael Bloomberg ($47.5)Bernard Arnault ($41.5)Larry Page ($40.7)Sergey Brin ($39.8)Liliane Bettencourt ($39.5)S. Robson Walton ($34.1)Jim Walton ($34)Alice Walton ($33.8)Wang Jianlin ($31.3)Li Ka-shing ($31.2)Sheldon Adelson ($30.4)Steve Ballmer ($30)Jorge Paulo Lemann ($29.2)Jack Ma ($28.3)Beate Heister and Karl Albrechet Jr.($27.2)David Thomson ($27.2)Jacqueline Mars ($27)John Mars ($27)Phil Knight ($26.2)Maria France Fissolo ($25.2)George Soros ($25.2)Ma Huateng ($24.9)Lee Shau Kee ($24.4)Mukesh Ambani ($23.2)Masayoshi Son ($21.2)Kjeld Kirk Krstiansen ($21.1)Georg Schaeffler ($20.7)Joseph Safra ($20.5)Michael Dell ($20.4)Susanne Klatten ($20.4)Len Blavatnik ($20)Laurene Powell Jobs ($20)Paul Allen ($19.9)