While the number of wealthy people has been rising internationally, the United States has seen a decrease in the number of millionaires. A new study from the Boston Consulting Group showed that there were 129,000 less millionaire households in 2011 than in the previous year. Millionaires are defined as having more than $1 million in cash, stock or other assets, excluding property, business and luxury items.
According to the study, 4.3 percent of American households qualify as millionaires, ranking seventh worldwide in that statistic. Singapore has the highest ratio, with 17 percent of all households in the country being millionaires. Countries were also ranked in proportion of “ultra-high-net-worth” households, which are those with more than $100 million in wealth. In this category the United States failed to make the top 15, likely due to its large number of households. Switzerland had the highest ratio with 11 of every 100,000 households meeting the criteria for ultra-high-net-worth, with Singapore just behind with 10 for every 100,000.
Singapore was one of the Asia-Pacific nations where wealth increased by 10.7 percent to 23.7 trillion, whereas North American wealth fell by 0.9 percent to $38 trillion. The Boston Consulting Group attributed the shift to Asia’s strong economic growth, while the U.S. has struggled with increasing national debt and the downgrade of the country’s credit rating. The group has projected that Asian wealth will surpass Europe in the near future.
“Wealth in the region is expected to continue to grow at a double-digit rate… reaching $40.1 trillion by the end of 2016, at which time it will have slightly overtaken Western and Eastern Europe combined,” the report said.