NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 27, 2008

The United States is losing its market share of global millionaires.  Why? The millionaire population grew much faster in emerging markets than in the United States in 2007, says the Wall Street Journal.  

According to researchers with Merrill Lynch & Co. and Capgemini:

  • The population of millionaires grew five times as fast in emerging markets as it did in the United States last year.
  • The number of millionaires in Brazil, Russia, India and China jumped 19 percent in 2007, compared to 3.7 percent in the United States.
  • Brazil, China, India and Russia added 133,000 millionaires in 2007, for a worldwide total of 817,000 millionaires.
  • India's millionaire population grew 23 percent last year, the fastest in the world.


  • America's share of the world's millionaires declined to 30 percent in 2007 from 31 percent in 2006.
  • Europe's share of millionaires has fallen even faster in recent years, to 31 percent in 2007 from 36 percent in 2002.
  • The more than $40 trillion owned by the world's millionaires will move increasingly outside the United States; investments by the world's millionaires in North America are expected to decline to 39 percent in 2009 from 42 percent in 2007.

The numbers point to an economic reality: Tomorrow's rich are more likely to come from the East than the West, says the Journal.  The surge in oil and commodity prices, the shift in financial flows to faster-growing emerging markets, the higher savings rates abroad and the decline in the dollar have all fueled a boom in new millionaires and billionaires in developing nations.  At the same time, America's wealth-creation machine is sputtering because of the financial crisis, debt crunch and decline in real-estate prices, says the Journal.

Source: Robert Frank, "Ranks of Rich March From West to East," Wall Street Journal, June 25, 2008.

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