Millionaires hold substantial control over a country's economy. They are usually ranked along with a number of other powerful millionaires. A number of institutions report on the number of individuals in a country that hold at least $1 million in wealth, meaning all assets except that of their primary residence.
In 2012, these are countries that have made it to various lists with the most number of millionaires in the world. From Italy, which hangs on the edges of the list to the United States securing its position at the top, most of the countries listed here are backed by improving economic conditions that fueled the wealth generating activities of these millionaires.
In a span of one year, the number of Australian millionaires have risen up to 178,000. About 1.5% of the workforce or 0.08% of the 23 million population are deemed to be millionaires. Australia's personal wealth rose by 10.4%, which is faster than the global average, but slower than neighboring countries in the Asia-Pacific. It is said that almost 40% of Australia's total wealth came from equities and a lot of millionaires were able to increase their wealth through the relatively higher returns of their local stock market. This was the main reason for the country's growth in local wealth. The country's GDP is expected to grow at 4.7% over the next five years.
Italy is said to have 270,000 millionaire households. Italy's ranking fell significantly due to the worsening economic crisis in the country. Unemployment has gone up and factors like that can greatly affect even the wealthiest. Nevertheless, it is still home to a number of millionaires and billionaires and their economy, with the help of improving European Central Bank policies, may recover soon.
It is reported that out of every nine households in Switzerland, one has a private wealth of at least $1 million. There is an estimated 395,000 millionaire households in this country that is why Switzerland holds the highest density of millionaires in Europe. Worldwide, Switzerland ranks second with the highest millionaire density next to Qatar. Likewise, Switzerland tops the list of European countries with millionaires that have a private wealth of up to $100 million. In that category, Switzerland is second to Hong Kong.
In 2012, it was reported that the number of millionaires in Canada with assets amounting to $1 million or more grew to 422,000, which represents 1.2% of the Canadian population. Twenty-six percent or $1.53 trillion of assets are controlled by these millionaires. The outlook for this country is very optimistic, which applies also to the United States. Canadian GDP is expected to surpass the U.S., at 2.2% versus the 2.1% of their North American counterpart.
The population of millionaires in France has jumped 1.9% from 396,000 to 404,000 in 2012. France's wealth is dubbed as resilient by some financial institutions and despite the GDP contraction of its neighboring countries, France seems to be holding its ground along with Germany. France is said to have the highest wealth per adult of any G8 Nation.
5 United Kingdom
Although economic growth is generally weak in Europe, it is reported that the United Kingdom has a total of 590,000 millionaire households. This is the case because the wages in some of the country’s financial centers are slowly rising and improving. Millionaires have doubled in numbers due to the country's recovery from the recent financial crash.
Germany holds the third largest population of millionaires in the world. According to reports, they are getting richer. The perception of being stable contributes to Germany's reputable position of providing a favorable environment for millionaires. Amidst the Eurozone crisis, the number of millionaires grew 3% from 924,000 to 951,000. The rate of growth of millionaires was higher than in any other European country.
China is fourth on the list. It is estimated to have 1.3 millionaire households. According to Boston Consulting Group, China has taken advantage of the surge in offshore wealth of about $1.2 trillion last year, because most Asian millionaires chose to invest in local financial centers, shying away from those that are in Europe, due to the instability of the European economy. Asia-Pacific centers are expected to benefit from the sudden rise of newly created wealth in the region, finding its way via offshore means. It was predicted that China will probably top this list in a number of years.
With millionaires in Asia outnumbering those in the North America, it is not a surprise that Japan ranks second on the list of countries with the most number of millionaires. According to a study conducted by Boston Global Consulting Group, Japan's total wealth decreased slightly to 0.2% to $16.8 trillion. They are said to have 1.5 millionaire households. However, since 2008, Japan has been weakening in its position as leader in the Asia-Pacific region. Japan is most likely to leave their wealth as cash, unlike other countries who might put it into equities or properties.
1 United States
The United States caps our list of countries with the most millionaires. The U.S. is home to approximately 313 million Americans as of 2012. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country is at U.S. $15.065 trillion. It is said that in America, 5.9 million households are millionaires, and their wealth contribute to 56% of the entire country. This brings back the United States of America as the top country with the most millionaires in the world, after being ousted by their Asian counterparts a year ago. It is said that the U.S. benefited greatly from the marginal GDP growth and through stable returns from the equity and real estate markets. Most increases in wealth were led by those dubbed as the super rich who have at least $30 million to spend on investments and have assets that increased by about 11%.