The world’s eight richest individuals have as much wealth as the 3.6bn people who make up the poorest half of the world, according to Oxfam.

The charity said its figures came from improved data, and the gap between rich and poor was “far greater than feared”.

Ben Southwood, Head Of Research at the Adam Smith Institute, said it was not the wealth of the world’s rich that mattered, but the welfare of the world’s poor, which was improving every year.

The world’s eight richest billionaires

  1. Bill Gates (US): Co-founder of Microsoft (net worth $75bn)
  2. Amancio Ortega (Spain): Founder of Zara owner Inditex (net worth $67bn)
  3. Warren Buffett (US): Largest shareholder in Berkshire Hathaway (net worth $60.8bn)
  4. Carlos Slim Helu (Mexico): Owner of Grupo Carso (net worth $50bn)
  5. Jeff Bezos (US): Founder and Chief Executive of Amazon (net worth $45.2bn)
  6. Mark Zuckerberg (US): Co-founder and Chief Executive of Facebook (net worth $44.6bn)
  7. Larry Ellison (US): Co-founder and Chief Executive of Oracle (net worth $43.6bn)
  8. Michael Bloomberg (US): Owner of Bloomberg LP (net worth $40bn)

It was still the case that the world’s richest 1% had as much wealth as the rest of the world combined, Oxfam said.

Oxfam’s report is based on data from Forbes and the annual Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report, which gives the distribution of global wealth going back to 2000.