The US is creating millionaires faster than anywhere in the world - but it's not as impressive as it sounds
- One out of every 20 Americans is a millionaire.
- The US has 43% of the world's millionaires, and leads all countries in churning out the greatest number of new millionaires.
- The number of millionaires and ultra-high-net-worth individuals has surged over the last several years.
About one out of every 20 Americans is a millionaire.
No, that's not a typo.
Credit Suisse released its annual Global Wealth Report, which found that the United States had about 15,356,000 millionaires in 2017 - which adds up to nearly 5% of the total US population. The number of millionaires climbed by about 1.1 million from the previous year. (We first spotted this at Money.)
The US also has the greatest number of millionaires in the world - accounting for about 43% of the world's total - and currently leads all countries in churning out the greatest number of new millionaires.
On top of that, the US houses the greatest number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWI), those who have a net worth of $50 million or more.
Having a seven-figure net worth - or more - means different things in different parts of the United States. In less expensive states like Mississippi or Alabama, $1 million goes a lot farther than in more expensive states like New York or California.
The report attributes the ninth consecutive year of rising wealth to stocks, saying that business and market conditions strengthened because of the prospect of lower taxes, deregulation, and fiscal stimulus, all of which were proposed by President Donald Trump.
The average wealth in the United States has "fully recovered," after collapsing during the financial crisis, and is now about 30% higher than its 2006 level, Credit Suisse said. We should note, however, that the bounce back in average wealth does not necessarily mean that every American has seen their finances recover to pre-financial crisis levels.
Millionaires around the world
Looking at the global picture, the number of millionaires in the world has jumped by 170% and the number of UHNWIs has risen five-fold since 2000.
In its analysis of the global picture, the Credit Suisse team also touched on an interesting idea, arguing that "increasing inequality can also boost the speed at which new millionaires are created."
That brings us back to the US, which not only has a large and increasing number of millionaires, but also a huge inequality problem. In fact, the top 0.1% of households in the US now hold about the same amount of wealth as the bottom 90%.
"To understand what's going on in 'the economy,' it is a serious mistake to look at average statistics," Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates, said in a LinkedIn post last month. "This is because the wealth and income skews are so great that average statistics no longer reflect the conditions of the average man."