The number of millionaires is growing rapidly and is concentrated largely in the U.S. By comparison, overall, the wealth growth since the millennium – $139 trillion – appears to have be the slowest since the Great Recession, according to a report released by the Credit Suisse Research Institute.
The number of millionaires in the world has increased by 155%, while the number of ultra high net worth individuals (defined in the report as people with a net worth above US $50 million) increased by 216%. Of the latter group, 51% reside in North America and 49% live somewhere else in the world, demonstrating that the U.S. continues to dominate in terms of the ultra wealthy. According to a forecast included in the report, the U.S. is expected to have the highest growth of millionaires – both standard and high net worth – in the world over the next five years.
How big? The number of U.S. households with a net worth of $1 million or more, not including the primary residence (NIPR), increased by 400,000 to reach a record 10.8 million in 2016. (See also: How Much to Save to Become a Millionaire.)
In the U.S., there are 13.6 million people with $1 million or more in wealth, up 283,000 from the previous year. By the year 2021, the number of millionaires will reach 18 million – a 33% increase from current figures – and a number that is significantly higher than any other country. A different report on the same topic released by Spectrem Group in March 2017 suggests that the number of millionaires in the United States is even higher.
Credit Suisse also suggests that financial inequality in the U.S. is on the rise. Although the average wealth is $345,000 per person, the median wealth is only $30,000, marking a significant drop from last year and three times as low as other countries with similar average wealth.
In the UK, over 406,000 people now find themselves outside of the millionaire’s club, after roughly US $1.5 trillion was wiped from the country's household wealth. The decline is largely blamed on the impact of Brexit. Overall global wealth has grown 5.2% annually in terms of USD since the year 2000 – representing only modest growth, according to the report. In dollar terms, wealth has grown by $139 trillion over the same period; by comparison, the estimated GDP of the entire world in 2015 is US $73.2 trillion.