Global High-Net-Worth Population Grows to 8.7 Million, Worth $33.3 Trillion

The wealth of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs), people with net financial assets of at least U.S. $1 million, excluding their primary residence and consumables, climbed to $33.3 trillion in 2005, an 8.5% increase over 2004, according to the 10th Anniversary Edition of the World Wealth Report, released today by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini. The Report found that the number of HNWIs grew by 6.5%  over 2004, to 8.7 million, and that the number of Ultra-HNWIs — those who have financial assets of more than $30 million — grew by 10.2 percent, to 85,400 in 2005.

Sources of HNWI Wealth, 2005

  • The HNWI population grew most dramatically in South Korea, rising 21.3%; India rising 19.3%; Russia, where it rose 17.4%, and South Africa, where it grew by 15.9%. 
  • Worldwide, the number of millionaires has nearly doubled since Merrill Lynch found 4.5 million of them in 1996. 
  • North America held a slight edge over Europe in the population of millionaires in 2005, with 2.9 million to Europe's 2.8 million. Asia counted 2.4 million, Latin America 300,000 and Africa 100,000.
  • HNWI financial wealth is expected to reach US$44.6 trillion by 2010, growing at an annual rate of 6.0%
  • Wealth generation was driven by real GDP gains and continued market capitalization growth

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