World’s Ultrawealthy Grew 1.7% In 2020
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World’s Ultrawealthy Grew 1.7% In 2020

However regions away from North America and Asia saw a decline ultra-wealthy populations.

By Fang Block
Thu, Jul 1, 2021 2:56pmGrey Clock 2 min

The global ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) population showed resilient growth in 2020 despite the huge disruption from Covid-19 pandemic, a new report finds.

In 2020, the world’s wealthiest population—those with a net worth of more than US$30 million—grew 1.7% year over year, adding 4,730 individuals to bring the total to 295,450 in 2020. Their combined fortune rose 2% to US$35.5 trillion, according to Wealth-X’s ninth annual World Ultra Wealth Report released Wednesday.

Last year’s ultrawealth expansion was much slower than the nearly double-digit pace in 2019, but represented a sharp increase from 2018’s flat growth rate of 0.8%, according to Wealth-X, a global provider of information and insights on the wealthy.

The expansion was largely driven by monetary stimulus from global central banks and a strong rally in financial markets, with almost all major stock market indices posting healthy annual returns by year’s end, the report said.

The report is in sync with others by wealth-tracking firms that show the rich weathered the pandemic with the help of the rising equity markets.

Across the regions, North America and Asia continued to lead in ultrawealth creation. In North America, the UHNW population grew 6.9% year over year in 2020 to 112,250 individuals. Their combined wealth increased 7.1% to US$13.4 trillion. Asia’s UHNW population and their joint wealth both increased 5.2% with 87,460 individuals possessing US$10.2 trillion.

All the other regions, including Europe, Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and the Pacific posted a decline in their ultra-wealthy populations, according to the report.

Other key findings in the report include:

  • The U.S., with 101,240, had the largest UHNW population, which was followed by China with 29,815, and Japan with 21,300;
  • France saw the largest decline in its ultrawealthy population, down 10.8% year over year to 9,810;
  • San Jose, Calif., had the highest density of UHNW individuals, with one for every 727 city residents. This concentration is two-and-a-half times greater than New York, the world’s largest UHNW city with 11,475 individuals;
  • Paris’s ranking fell two places to seventh as its UHNW population declined 13.7%r to 3,765; London, which suffered a 17% decline in the size of its ultrawealthy class, dropping from seventh to 12th position and out of the top-tier rankings for the first time since 2004;
  • The share of self-made ultrawealthy increased to 72.5%, compared to 66.5% in 2016;
  • Sports and philanthropy were the top hobbies and interests for the UHNW.
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