The gap is starker than previously thought, with just eight men, from Bill Gates to Michael Bloomberg, owning as much wealth as 3.6 billion people, according to an analysis by Oxfam. It's urging leaders to do more than pay lip-service to the problem.
If not, it warns, public anger against this kind of inequality will continue to grow and lead to more seismic political changes akin to last year's election of Donald Trump as U.S. president and Britain's vote to leave the European Union.
"It is obscene for so much wealth to be held in the hands of so few when 1 in 10 people survive on less than $2 a day," said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International, who will be attending the meeting in Davos. "Inequality is trapping hundreds of millions in poverty; it is fracturing our societies and undermining democracy."
The same report a year earlier said that the richest 62 people on the planet owned as much wealth as the bottom half of the population.