The oil-rich emirate of Qatar led the field with an astounding 17.5 percent of households being worth more than 1 million U.S. dollars in 2013. In Switzerland, the figure was 12.7 percent, while Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuwait were in the 9-10 percent range. The U.S., China and Japan had the most millionaires by number.
In terms of “ultra-high net worth” households, those with more than $100 million in assets, the U.S., U.K. and China led in absolute numbers, while Hong Kong, Switzerland and Austria had the highest percentages.
Overall, 2013 was a good year to be rich, as global private wealth rose 14.6 percent to $152 trillion, and became even more concentrated toward the top.
The report states, “The total number of millionaire households (in U.S. dollar terms) reached 16.3 million in 2013, up strongly from 13.7 million in 2012 and representing 1.1 percent of all households globally. The U.S. had the highest number of millionaire households (7.1 million), as well as the highest number of new millionaires (1.1 million).
“Robust wealth creation in China was reflected by its rise in millionaire households from 1.5 million in 2012 to 2.4 million in 2013, surpassing Japan. Indeed, the number of millionaire households in Japan fell from 1.5 million to 1.2 million, driven by the 15 percent fall in the yen against the dollar.”
And the richest can look forward to getting even richer, the report predicts. “Wealth held by all segments above $1 million is projected to grow by at least 7.7 percent per year through 2018, compared with an average of 3.7 percent per year in segments below $1 million.” Ultra-high-net-worth households are expected to hold $13.0 trillion in wealth, 6.5 percent of the global total, by the end of 2018, up from $8.4 trillion, 5.5 percent of the total, in 2013.
By that year, Asia will overtake North America as the wealthiest continent, with Europe legging further and further behind.
On the other hand, Brent Beardsley, a partner at Boston Consulting Group, said, according to Forbes, “It’s important to remember that going forward much of that concentration of wealth is going to be offset by the growth of a middle class in emerging markets.”