The world's disappearing millionaires

The economic crisis in Europe has caused many people to drop from the ranks of the wealthiest. The US still has the highest number of millionaires in the world.

By Kim Peterson Oct 16, 2012 11:55AM
Image: Wealthy woman (moodboard/Corbis)The United States is still growing plenty of millionaires. In the past year, nearly 1 million Americans moved into the realm of those with more than a million bucks in wealth.

But much of the world is losing millionaires -- and nowhere is that loss as profound as in Europe, a continent rocked by economic crisis. The loss in Europe is so steep that on a global basis, the overall number of millionaires has fallen in the past year, according to a new global wealth report from Credit Suisse.

There is also change at the bottom end of the economic spectrum. The percentage of adults around the world with wealth below $10,000 has grown to 69.3% from 67.6% a year ago.

Here's more from the Credit Suisse report:

The millionaire gainers
The U.S. is by far the No. 1 country for millionaires. About 11 million Americans have more than $1 million in wealth, and that number grew by 962,000 from last year. That was the sharpest spike in growth anywhere in the world.

Japan came in No. 2 in terms of millionaire growth. That country saw about 460,000 new millionaires for a total of about 3.6 million. And Peru and Morocco saw the oddest jump in millionaire count, going from 4,000 to 18,000 and from 1,000 to 14,000, respectively. The number of millionaires in Chile grew from 28,000 to 42,000.

The rest of the countries rounding out the list saw smaller growth, and include Columbia, the Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong and the UAE.

The millionaire losers
European countries led the way in losing millionaire residents. Italy lost more than a fifth of its millionaires in the last year, with 374,000 gone -- the steepest loss of any country. Now, it has about 1.2 million adults who qualify as millionaires.

France lost 322,000 millionaires to 2.3 million, and Germany took third place in the losing category, with 290,000 millionaires out the door for a new total of 1.5 million. Denmark, Sweden and Spain also represented Europe on the list. Other countries on the list included Australia, Canada, Brazil and Taiwan.

An overall net loss
Overall, the world ended up losing about 1 million of its millionaires in the last year, with the global total falling to 28.6 million from 29.7 million. Nearly 40% of the world's millionaires live in the United States, up from 34% a year ago.

You can see the millionaire chart here.


Oct 16, 2012 2:40PM
Given's France's radical socialist tax plan to punish the wealthy, they'll be losing a whole lot more millionaires soon!!!
Oct 16, 2012 3:07PM

If you look at the tax laws in the countries that lost Millionaires, you will see a pattern. Peru and Monaco grew not because of their natives becoming millionaires, but mainly because of the influx of millionaires moving two those countries to escape the unreasonable tax burden and unfriendly business environment in their home country.

We are headed down that road. When the business environment and tax reaches critical mass those who have wealth will move that wealth to a friendlier business climate.

It has been that way for all of history.

One of the reasons that socialism has never been successful. When the people who create the jobs and growth of a nation are at the mercy of those who want to take the incentive to do well and create jobs, they will move or give up.

Oct 16, 2012 3:24PM

What were these 962,000 new millionaires before they became millionaires...... your guessed it MIDDLE CLASS. The american dream come true. Your work hard, take risk and sometimes it pays off in success. It works, socialism does not work now or at anytime in history.


BTW they now also became the enemy of the Obama driven class warfare. They made the unfortunate mistake of making money. Now this administration will reward that hard work and success by trying to take as much as they can away and giving it to anyone they deem as being more deserving.


If this administration is successful they will take all incentive to work and live here, through taxes and redistribution of wealth. If all the wealthy left who would work to support this economy?

Oct 16, 2012 5:21PM

I had an opportuntiy to listen to a speech last night by Dinesh D'Souza who produced the movie 2016 Obama's America which I hope all Americans get an opportunity to see for themselves.


Dinesh was brilliant at outlining how President Obama who comes from a background of anti colonialism thinks business people and entrepreneurs are raiding and stealing the wealth of the United States which keeps everyone else poor.  


President Obama is now doing all he can to decrease the power and influence of the United States of America by alienating our few alies in the Middle East and allowing us to become so insolvent with debt at home that we will one day not be able to take on Russia, China, Spain, Japan and the other countries that are behind us in wealth.


As a business owner and entrepreneur who started from scratch, I hope and pray this does not happen to us all.  Obama is bad news.  Watch the movie even if you favor Obama and see how you feel afterwards.

Oct 16, 2012 3:53PM

The missing millionaires most likely moved to more affordable countries.

Take a look at taxes in Italy, the country that lost the most millionaires. Another interesting fact, “everyone” pays!

Italian income tax:

23% for income up to 15,000 Euros (approximately 19,500 US dollars)

27% for income 15,000 – 28,000 Euro (approximately 19,500 – 36,500 US dollars)

38% for income 28,000 – 55,000 Euro (approximately 36,500 – 71,700 US dollars)

41% for income 55,000 – 75,000 Euro (approximately 71,700 – 97,000 US dollars)

Other Italian taxes:

     Bollo Auto (Car Tax), which includes the tax on your car radio and the stamp duty on your Italian driving licence

     Bollo Moto (Motorbike Tax)

     Bollo Motorino (Scooter Tax)

     Canone RAI (TV Tax)

     Tassa Rifiuti (Garbage Tax)

     Imposta Comunale Sugli Immobili - ICI (Municipal Property Tax)

Oct 16, 2012 4:51PM
so is it okay to move your money to Swiss Bank of invest in cayman island?
Oct 16, 2012 5:37PM
Obama is pushing us all into bankruptcy.
Oct 16, 2012 3:45PM
tax them a bit more... that'll solve the problem

Oct 16, 2012 9:02PM
Patience. By the time the Fed gets done devaluing the dollar we will all be billionaires. That assumes you have some gold in your valult. At that point,  the price of and ounce of gold will probably be around $1 million. Unfortunately, that will also be the price of a tank of gas. 
Oct 16, 2012 5:05PM
Work hard, and maybe you all will be millionaires too. We are set to hit our first million at age 35. I am 31 now.
Oct 16, 2012 10:52PM
The most socialist area of the free world---EU---losing millionaires like they are going out of style.   That SOCIALISM experiment over there is a real KILLER.
Oct 16, 2012 9:23PM
We should become socialistic like Europe, its working so well!!!
Oct 16, 2012 11:04PM
We have more than 160,000 less millionaires in the US, does the middle class have more money as a result?? This discussion is the biggest scam of the political season.
It's obvious that the U.S. is the number one since the country brings in the greatest minds.
Oct 16, 2012 7:25PM

Sure lets tax the rich so the poor dont have to work. let obama pay your way at the expence of the rich. The rich hire not the poor when was the last time you got a job from a poor person? Give Tax breaks to the rich and you WILL see a more job's FACT.  MOre jobs means a better economy

Oct 17, 2012 9:50AM
Socialists and disappearing millionaires. 

Looks like they are doing the job they intended, make everyone poor and miserable, people are so much easier to control when they are at the bottom of the barrel.

It's been done by communism, proven and effective.

Oct 16, 2012 9:13PM
Who is John Galt???? Wake Up John Galt is US.......
Oct 17, 2012 1:32PM
If someone went down to my local bank and deposited a million dollars into a cd they would get around $10,000 a year in taxable interest based on the 1% they are paying. After taxes that would pay for a little more than half of my families health insurance premiums. A million dollars just isn't what it used to be.
Oct 17, 2012 11:11AM
Remember that a millionaire has a million dollars in assets. That's a long way from someone earning a million dollars a year. A small increase in the tax rate for the highest earners would not affect their lifestyle in the slightest. Why do we allow a pledge to Grover Nordquist to paralyze our Congress?
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