Study: Millionaires Got Even Richer in 2010

Last Updated Jun 1, 2011 5:17 PM EDT

Millionaires, at least, have made a quick recovery from the global financial crisis. While millionaires make up less than one percent of households-0.9 percent, to be exact-they control some 39 percent of the world's wealth. That's up from 37 percent in 2009, according to a new study from Boston Consulting Group. (The consultants define millionaires as those with at least $1 million in investable assets, not including homes, luxury goods, or ownership in their own companies.)

Among the study's other findings:

  • There are more of these lucky folks this year than there were last. BCG counted 12.5 million households with at least $1 million in investable assets, some 12.2 percent more than last year.
  • The United States has the most millionaire households (not surprising, perhaps, given the country's large population). There are 5.2 millionaires in the U.S. The runners-up are Japan, with 1.5 million and China with 1.2 million. The United Kingdom and Germany follow.
  • Singapore has the most millionaires given its population. Some 15.5 percent of households in Singapore have $1 million in investable assets. Singapore is also the country where the millionaire population is growing most swiftly. There are about 170,000 millionaire households in Singapore, up by nearly a third from last year.
  • Switzerland comes in second in millionaires-per-capita---9.9 percent of its population are millionaires.
The Ultra-Rich
This year, for the first time, Boston Consulting Group compiled data on people it describes as ultra-high-net-worth households, or those with more than $100 million to invest.
  • The United States has more super-wealthy than any other country. Some 2,692 U.S. households have more than $100 million.
  • Measured by super-rich-people-per-capita, Saudi Arabia has the most ultra-rich households of any country. Some 18 per 100,000 households qualify. Second place goes to Switzerland (10 super-rich households per 100,000), followed by Hong Kong (9), Kuwait, (8) and Austria (8).
  • China has the fastest-growing superrich population. It's got 393 households with more than $100 million to invest, which is more than 30 percent more than it had last year.
Do you think the rise in the number of millionaires, and their increasing wealth, is a cause for concern?

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Kimberly Weisul is a freelance writer, editor and editorial consultant. Follow her on twitter at www.twitter.com/weisul.
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    Kimberly Weisul is the co-founder of One Thing New, the free email newsletter for smart, busy women. She was previously Senior Editor at BusinessWeek, responsible for all coverage of entrepreneurship and for launching BusinessWeek SmallBiz, a bimonthly magazine. She is also a freelance writer, editor and editorial consultant.