The world's richest people are getting back much of the wealth they lost since 2007, the 14th Annual World Wealth Report saysThe world's richest people are getting back much of the wealth they lost since 2007, according to the 14th Annual World Wealth Report released Tuesday by Capgemini and Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management.

According to the report, there were 10 million high net worth individuals in the world in 2009, an increase of 17.1% over the prior year. The total financial wealth of this group is $39 trillion, an increase of 18.9% from 2008 levels.

Two years ago, the world's population of ultra-high net worth individuals lost 24% of their wealth, which means they're still down from where they were before the economic downturn began.

Latin America Bounces Back

Latin Americans saw the greatest rebound, with the fortunes of the wealthiest individuals living there surpassing 2007 levels. Countries from the Asia-Pacific region have higher growth rates than other regions, while Australia has regained its 10th position by overtaking Brazil in the country rankings of populations of the world's richest people.

North America remains the single largest home to high net worth individuals, with 3.1 million residing there. This represents 31% of the global population of wealthy people, according to Capgemini.

The definition of a high net worth individual varies, depending on asset managers and the country in which the individual resides, but a general rule of thumb defines such people as those with investable assets of at least $1 million, not including a primary residence.

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