U.S. Is Still Tops for Millionaires, but the Developing World Is Gaining

U.S. Is Still Tops for Millionaires, But the World Is GainingWhen it comes to its population of millionaires, the U.S. still leads the world, but other countries have gained recently, The Boston Consulting Group reported Tuesday. The BCG's eleventh annual global wealth report, titled Shaping a New Tomorrow: How to Capitalize on the Momentum of Change. says that "Propelled by growth in nearly every region, global wealth continued a solid recovery in 2010, increasing by 8.0 percent, or $9 trillion, to a record of $121.8 trillion."

The improvement in global stock markets accounted for a great deal of the gain. "The United States had by far the most millionaire households (5.2 million), followed by Japan, China, the United Kingdom, and Germany," the survey pointed out.

One of the major story lines in this report is the stagnation of wealth growth in developed nations, which contrasts to rapid growth elsewhere. Wealth in Europe grew by 4.8% from 2009, and in Japan wealth fell 0.2% to $16.8 trillion. Meanwhile, in the Asia-Pacific -- which excludes Japan -- the wealth growth rate was 17.1%.

The other significant finding of the survey is that the rich have continued to get richer. "Millionaire households represented just 0.9 percent of all households but owned 39 percent of global wealth, up from 37 percent in 2009. The number of millionaire households increased by 12.2 percent in 2010 to about 12.5 million," the Boston Consulting survey found.

The key results of the report raise two critical questions. The first is what the slowdown in wealth creation in the world's older economies in contrast to the rapid growth in developing nations means. Millionaires can be seen a proxy for the larger consumer bases in regions like Asia. China's middle class has risen sharply as its manufacturing base has grown, and the People's Republic has emerged as a major consumer market. That rise is likely to continue, along with the growth and concentration of wealth there.

The situation in Europe is the flip side of the wealth creation coin. The sharp slowdown in European GDP growth and consumer spending has probably eroded wealth and is a symptom of the region's broader economic problems. The upshot of these two trends: Global businesses will have to move their marketing focuses more and more to developing Asia and less to Europe.

The final issue the report raises is the widening divide between the world's wealthy and those with limited access to capital. This matter is becoming particularly acute as worldwide inflation sets in, thanks in large measure to high commodities prices. The costs of food and shelter have skyrocketed for many people in comparison to their incomes. While there is no case to be made that wealth redistribution will be forced by national tax policies or social upheaval, this level of tension between rich and poor probably cannot remain the status quo indefinitely.

Despite the downsides and dichotomies, the report offers one clear positive: The ranks of the wealthy have begun to grow at a rapid rate, a sign that the effects of the worldwide recession are easing.

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Just N' Time

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June 04 2011 at 12:12 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

The #1 priority is JOBS. Since private industry is reluctant to create them, even though they are sitting on huge piles of cash, then we as a nation must do it.

Building infrastructure creates jobs; having infrastructure increases productivity. Materials and labor are cheap. And we can borrow so inexpensively right now that in some cases people are actually paying for the honor of lending us money.

Only in the most colossally dysfunctional political climate would there be any hesitation to borrow large sums to jump-start an infrastructure renaissance and put the economy and the nation on a stronger and more productive economic course.

Of course the GOP will oppose this and any other job creation ideas because they figure that they will gain politically if they can keep the economy on life support until 2012. It is a gamble they are willing to make - the destruction of the economy in exchange for their election prospects. Meanwhile lots of seniors will see their 401k stagnate, and slowly slip further and further into poverty.

June 02 2011 at 5:32 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Ever notice republican­s only have a problem with giving money to poor people? You will never hear them moan about the fact that we spend more on military than the rest of the world combined or we give the oil industry huge tax breaks to thank them for bending-us-o­ver. I do not remember one time anyone on the right said anything about spending during those great bush years. If, and it will never happen, the Gop beats Obama they will be spending with impunity again.

June 02 2011 at 4:56 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to chris1011's comment

Really Chrisy dear. All I remember is President Obama giving a tax cut to wealthy people like me and himself. All of the reckless spending in the Bush years started when I became speaker. Thanks for bringing that up so I could clarify things for you dear.

June 02 2011 at 5:24 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Flush with cash, the rich are spending: Saks Inc. reported revenue in stores open at least one year jumped 20.2 percent, far higher than the 6.5 percent analysts expected, as shoppers bought designer clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories.

June 02 2011 at 4:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Mitt Romney announced his official run for the GOP nomination. Good bye and good riddance to Newt, Sarah, Pawlenty (who's he?), Perry, et al. Should be a good race to the finish - Romney-care versus Obama-care.

June 02 2011 at 4:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to chris1011's comment

Hypocritical pacifists love war monger Obama.

June 02 2011 at 3:06 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
4 replies to savemycountry911's comment

For the Republican­s/ Tea Party

I'm just curious how you thought the wars were being paid for all this time ? 10 years of wars, with no tax increase to pay for them ? How did you think the "HOMELAND SECURITY" new agency was paid for ? Small government yet you created a whole new government agency. Half a trillion dollars over the last 10 years. How did you think the prescripti­on drug plan was being paid for ? How did you think ANY of it was being paid for ? Oh wait.....t­hinking...­...maybe you just don't think.

You seem to understand the government uses tax revenue to pay for government expenses. What is astonishin­g is that for 8 years of Bush, the government kept spending and spending and at the same time you enjoyed tax cuts. Now your solution is MORE tax cuts.

What did you THINK would happen? The tooth fairy didn't come. The Easter Bunny stayed home. And yes even Santa Claus failed you.

June 02 2011 at 2:39 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
4 replies to chris1011's comment

All I have to say is thank you President Obama darling for giving me and yourself a tax cut, so you and I can continue living our life of luxury dear.

June 02 2011 at 2:15 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mrspelosi's comment

grow up

June 02 2011 at 4:01 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to chris1011's comment

Oh Chrisy, I know we liberals don't like to be reminded of what hypocrites we are. Being grown up is knowing your own shortcomings dear. You should try it.

June 02 2011 at 4:37 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down

Chris 1011
The GOP since the time of Reagan have used tax cuts as a gimmick to get votes. If you tell the voters that they can have anything that they want and not have to pay for it; this make you a hero and they will vote for you, and this is why we have such high deficits.

June 02 2011 at 1:35 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Folks, being a millionaire today is NOTHING compared to being a millionaire in the past. Your wonderous government has printed up soOOoo much money, and then paid the largely Jewish-Banker run Federal Reserve so many BILLIONS in interest, that the dollar is now worth 4 cents. THATS RIGHT! Since the inception of the Federal Reserve, the dollar has become worth 1/25 of what it was! 1/25th! SOOoooo, a millionaire today is only worth being a person with $40,000 back in 1913. Is that SAD? And as our govt flounders, and trashes not only the American Economy AND the American Constitution, they continue to paint some kind of a bright picture by telling us there are more millionaires today than ever. HAAAAAAAA! Its pathetic. Americans, GET MAD! You havnt screwed up anywheres near as bad as your government has. BE LIVID AT WHAT YOUR GOVERNMENT HAS DONE TO YOU!
One last note: The American government has printed up soOOooo much money since 2001, that the dollar has lost half its value in 10 short years! Yup again.... our wonderful politicians have sucked the value out of our dollar at an unprecedented rate since George "THE DIMWIT" Bush was handed the presidency. So once again, being a millionaire today, is only worth what a $500K-ionaire was back in 2001. YOUR GOVERNMENT IS SCREWING YOU, AND AMERICA. GET MAD, AMERICA! GET LIVID!

June 02 2011 at 1:21 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply