Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “The poorest laborer stood on equal ground with the wealthiest millionary.” Perhaps, in a democratic society, each man has equal rights in the sense that everyone is entitled to one vote. In reality, millionaires wield infinitely more influence because of its control over financial and economic resources.
Where exactly did the word millionaire come from?
Origin of the Word
Lord Byron was the first one to use the word millionaire in the English language, doing so in a letter he wrote in 1816. Prior to that however, Steven Fentiman was known to have used the word in French, with the word being spelled with a double n.
Earning Their Millions
Millionaires can come in a lot of different forms. Some may have worked really hard for the money, while others were just fortunate enough to be born with a silver spoon. There are currently 12 million millionaires in the world. The source of their wealth and their general profile are as follows:
- 47 percent earned their millions as a result of earnings from the business that they run.
- 23 percent got their millions from sheer hard work, saving up the income they earned as professionals or managers.
- 16 percent inherited their fortune, meaning they got the money as a result of their ancestor’s hard work.
- Average age of millionaires is 61 years old.
- Average asset size of millionaires is $3.05 million.
Where the Millionaires Come From
Most millionaires come from North America, Asia and Europe. Of the millionaires around the world, these are where they come from:
- North America – 31 percent
- Asia-Pacific – 30 percent
- Europe – 29 percent
- Middle East – 4 percent
- Latin America – 4 percent
- Africa – 1 percent
In terms of percentage of the population, millionaires can be considered a rare breed, as they make up only 0.15% of the global population. In regional terms, the percentages are as follows:
- North America – 0.62 percent
- Asia-Pacific – 0.06 percent
- Europe – 0.41 percent
- Middle East – 0.10 percent
- Latin America – 0.07 percent
- Africa – 0.01 percent
In terms of number of millionaires per country, the following are the countries with the most number of millionaires:
- United States – 3.5 million
- Japan – 1.82 million
- Germany – 951,000
- China – 562,000
- United Kingdom – 441,000
- France – 404,000
- Canada – 280,000
- Switzerland – 252,000
- Australia – 179,500
- Italy – 168,000
- Brazil – 165,000
- India – 158,000
- South Korea – 144,000
The total assets of all these millionaires amount to around $46 trillion, which is about 10 percent more than the number for the previous year. This amount is actually even more than the combined gross domestic product of the United States, China, Japan and the entire European Union.
While the Asia-Pacific region used to have the most number of millionaires the previous year, North America has come back to reclaim the top spot with 3.73 million millionaires. This is around 500,000 more than the number of millionaires in Asia-Pacific, which has 3.68 million millionaires.
Millionaires from the United States tend to keep 20 percent of their wealth in cash. Japanese millionaires are far more averse to risk, as the rich people in their country keeps about half of all their wealth in hard money.
The American Standard
The United States being the country with the most number of millionaires, it is interesting to see where the rich and wealthy Americans come from. Of the American millionaires, 33 percent tend to concentrate on how to ensure that their wealth is preserved. About 28 percent, on the other hand, are focused on how to further increase their wealth and portfolio.
What counties in the United States have the most millionaires? The following are the areas in the country that have the most number of high net worth households.
- Los Angeles County, California – 268,138 millionaires
- Cook County, Illinois – 171,118 millionaires
- Orange County, California – 116,157 millionaires
- Maricopa County, Arizona – 113,414 millionaires
- San Diego County, California – 102,138 millionaires
- Harris County, Texas – 99,504 millionaires
- Nassau County, New York – 79,704 millionaires
- Santa Clara County, California – 74,824 millionaires
- Palm Beach County, Florida – 71,221 millionaires
- King County, Washington – 68,390 millionaires
A Worldwide View
In terms of countries with the highest percentage of millionaires when compared with the population however, the United States does not even come in the top five of the list. Research has shown that these are the countries where you will most likely bump into a millionaire. They are as follows:
- Singapore – 15.5 percent
- Switzerland – 9.9 percent
- Qatar – 8.9 percent
- Hong Kong – 8.7 percent
- Kuwait – 8.5 percent
- United Arab Emirates – 5 percent
- United States – 4.5 percent
- Taiwan – 3.5 percent
- Israel – 3.4 percent
- Belgium – 3.1 percent
- Japan – 3 percent
- Bahrain – 2.6 percent
- Republic of Ireland – 2.3 percent
- Netherlands – 2.3 percent
- United Kingdom – 2.2 percent
The tiny city state of Singapore has the distinction of having the highest percentage of millionaires in the world. Singapore has benefitted from robust economic growth the past years brought about by prudent pro business policies, low tax regime, efficient regulation and high quality of life. This has allowed the small Southeast Asian country to become an investment magnet with investors and businessmen from all over the world flocking into it. Even millionaires from the United States have made the move and transferred to Singapore, most notably the co-founder of Facebook, Eduardo Saverin.
Industries Most Likely to Produce Millionaires
Forbes Magazine listed down the industry sectors that are the most likely to produce wealthy people. The industries are as follows:
- Investments and Financial Services
- Information and Communication Technology
- Oil, Petroleum and Energy
- Food and Beverage
- Fashion and Retail
- Real Estate and Property
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