On The Come Up: 5.2 Million People Join The Millionaires Club

CultureBanx Team

  • Millionaire’s are on the rise with 5.2 million people achieving this status last year globally
  • Black people represent 8% of total millionaires in the U.S.

Millionaire’s are on the rise with 5.2 million people achieving this status last year globally, and nearly half of them residing in the United States. Credit Suisse’s latest annual wealth report found that “this is the largest increase in millionaire numbers recorded for any country in any year this century.” There are about 1.79 million African American millionaires in the country, according to Statista. Just how much has the wealth gap opened up with this new batch of millionaires?

Why This Matters: The vast majority of the 62.5 million global millionaires in 2021 had wealth between $1 million and $5 million, which reinforces the rapid rise in millionaire numbers seen in the United States since 2016. For African American millionaires the number is growing but still lower than other ethnic demographics. Specifically, Black people represent 8% of total millionaires in the U.S., 76% are white, 8% are Asian, and the Hispanic community captures 7% of the total millionaire population across the country.

The aggregate wealth of High Net Worth adults has grown five-fold, from $41.4 trillion in 2000 to $221.7 trillion in 2021, according to the Credit Suisse report. Altogether, their share of global wealth has risen from 35% to 48% over the same period. The number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals expanded at a much faster rate, adding 21% new members in 2021.

Not every country saw a growth in their millionaire club, numbers fell by 395,000 in Japan and by 135,000 in Italy, but elsewhere the declines were quite modest. Exchange rate fluctuations are likely to explain most or all of these losses. Each one of the aforementioned countries experienced currency depreciation versus the U.S. dollar in 2021.

If we compare U.S. Black millionaires to the number of millionaires found in the top 19 countries in Africa, there are only 120,900 millionaires. This means across the continent the total number of  millionaires only represent .014% of the population. These numbers show that the number of millionaires in the United States Black population is 224x greater than the top 19 African countries.

What’s Next: For most purposes, analysis of wealth inequality and its widening gap can be reduced to two simple questions: how far are top wealth groups ahead of the average citizen and how far below the average do the bottom groups lie? The repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic are widely believed to have led to a rise in wealth inequality. Regarding the bottom half of the wealth distribution, there is now some evidence concerning the wealth impact of the pandemic on various subgroups such as women, minorities or younger generations, but it will be some years before survey data gives a clear indication of the full distributional effects.

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