Countries with the most millionaires

The US has plenty of millionaires

KANSAS CITY, Missouri - US streets aren't lined in gold but it surely has plenty of millionaires.  According to BusinessWeek , America tops the list of countries with the most millionaires.

1. United States

2009 number of millionaire households: 4,715,000
Percentage increase: 15.1 percent
Share of country's wealth held by millionaire households: 56 percent

Even though the U.S. real estate market remained weak, the stock market rebound helped boost the number of millionaire households 15.1 percent in 2009. The U.S. had the most millionaires by far, leading second-in-line Japan by 3,485,000 households.

 

2. Japan

2009 number of millionaire households: 1,230,000
Percentage increase: 5.9 percent
Share of country's wealth held by millionaire households: 21 percent

The number of millionaire households in Japan grew by a 5.9 percent in 2009. Although No. 3 on the list China tightened the gap with a 30.7 percent increase, Japan still outpaced its developing neighbor by 560,000 households.

 

3. China

2009 number of millionaire households: 670,000
Percentage increase: 30.7 percent
Share of country's wealth held by millionaire households: 50 percent

While developed countries struggled through the recession, China's economy continued to boom, with gross domestic product growing 8.7 percent last year. The surge of commercial activity has created a growing nouveau riche population in China that includes entrepreneurs and investors, although they still represent a tiny fraction of the total population.

Seeing opportunities in the growing wealthy demographic, luxury retailers have set up operations in major cities, and high-end real estate is drawing interest -- for example, a $30 million house reportedly sold in Shanghai.

 

4. United Kingdom

2009 number of millionaire households: 485,000
Percentage increase: 11.5 percent
Share of country's wealth held by millionaire households: 23 percent

As the financial markets improved, the millionaire population is rebounding in the U.K. Their numbers fell by more than half in the recession, according to a 2009 BBC report. The British Chambers of Commerce said the economy was showing signs of leaving recession in 2009, and gross domestic product ticked up 0.3 percent in this year's first quarter over the previous quarter.

 

5. Germany

2009 number of millionaire households: 430,000
Percentage increase: 23.1 percent
Share of country's wealth held by millionaire households: 22 percent

Not only have Germany's rich increased in numbers, apparently some have also heightened their sense of public duty.

According to a report by CNBC, a group of German millionaires and billionaires founded a Club of the Wealthy and proposed to Chancellor Angela Merkel that they give 10 percent of their income as a "rich tax" for 10 years to address budget problems.

 

6. Italy

2009 number of millionaire households: 300,000
Percentage increase: 7.6 percent
Share of country's wealth held by millionaire households: 27 percent

Italy's economy contracted by 5 percent in 2009, but the number of millionaire households grew, and the rich increased their wealth, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study. The report shows that the increase in wealth was mostly a result of €85 billion that flowed into the country under an Italian tax amnesty on assets held in offshore accounts.

 

7. Switzerland

2009 number of millionaire households: 283,000
Percentage increase: 8.4 percent
Share of country's wealth held by millionaire households: 44 percent

Switzerland, one of the wealthiest nations by personal income, also has the third-highest concentration of millionaire households -- 8.4 percent of total households, according to the Boston Consulting Group.

In a sign of further strengthening, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economics recently raised its growth forecast for the economy in 2010 to 1.8 percent from 1.4 percent.

 

8. France

2009 number of millionaire households: 280,000
Percentage increase: 11.2 percent
Share of country's wealth held by millionaire households: 19 percent

The French may enjoy high quality of life, but France did not make it into the top five for its number of millionaire households. Its gross domestic product last year dropped 2.2 percent, but the government expects GDP to pick up by 1.4 percent in 2010.

 

9. Taiwan

2009 number of millionaire households: 230,000
Percentage increase: 21.1 percent
Share of country's wealth held by millionaire households: 37 percent

Home to manufacturers and such technology companies as Acer and Asus, Taiwan has a large number of millionaires, who represent 3 percent of total households, according to BCG. The wealthy in Taiwan enjoy a favorable tax regime. According to an article in Commonwealth Magazine on Chinapost.com, eight of Taiwan's 40 wealthiest people paid no taxes in 2005 and 17 paid just 1 percent of their income. The article adds that nearly 30 percent of households in Taiwan do not pay taxes, and many of them earn high incomes.

 

10. Hong Kong

2009 number of millionaire

households: 205,000
Percentage increase: 16.2 percent
Share of country's wealth held by millionaire households: 73 percent

In Hong Kong, 8.8 percent of households are millionaire households -- the second-highest concentration in the world after Singapore, according to data from the Boston Consulting Group. Media reports say the stock market recovery and rising property prices in Hong Kong and China helped the richest add billions to their wealth in 2009.
 

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