The Changing Wealth of Nations 2021 report

World Bank recently published its report titled “The Changing Wealth of Nations 2021”. As per report, South Asia suffers the most in terms of loss of human capital loss because of air pollution.


  • Latest edition of the report has measured wealth creation and distribution among 146 countries. It covers a 20-year period from 1995 to 2018.
  • World Bank included gross domestic product, human capital, human-produced capital, and natural capital such as renewable & non-renewable natural resources to measure the wealth.
  • According to the bank, human capital is defined as “earnings over a person’s lifetime.”

Key findings of the report

  • As per report, human capital was the largest source of worldwide wealth. In the year 2018, it comprised of 64 per cent of total global wealth.
  • Middle-income countries increased their investment in human capital as a result, their share of global human capital wealth increased significantly.
  • In South Asia, human capital accounts for 50 per cent of total wealth in the region. This figure did not change during the survey period. Thus, report highlights the importance of a healthy workforce.

Concerns highlighted in the report

  • As per report, air pollution was impacting this significant wealth generator. South Asian region was most severely affected by estimated human capital loss because of air pollution.
  • No such human capital loss due to air pollution was quantified in other regions.
  • Wealth in South Asia has increased since 1995. But its per capita wealth is among the lowest across the world due to population growth, as compared to sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Gender disparity: about 80 per cent of wealth in the region was attributed to men.




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