There are now 36 million millionaires in the world -- and they own nearly half the total wealth

  • A new Credit Suisse report finds there are 2.3 million new millionaires in the world, putting the total at 36 million.
  • Collectively, they make up less than 1% of the population but hold as much wealth as 46% of the world.
  • Forecasts indicate the world could soon see many more millionaires, and perhaps even the first trillionaire.

Since 2016, the world has seen a new crop of 2.3 million people reach a net worth with six zeroes.

According to Credit Suisse’s new Global Wealth Report 2017, there are now 36 million millionaires in the world — a 170% jump in total numbers from the year 2000. Together, these millionaires hold as much wealth as 46% of the population.

Wealth inequality has been growing for decades. The world’s eight richest people have as much wealth as half of the world’s population, and in the US, the proportion of people identifying as “have-nots” versus “haves” has more than doubled since 1988.

Credit Suisse’s report did show that people are generally getting wealthier overall. In 2017, global average wealth hit a new high of $US56,540, compared to $US52,074 in 2007.

The world’s ultra-wealthy are getting richer too, and to far greater degrees. In 2000, the top 1% held 45.5% of the world’s wealth. Today, they hold 50.1% — more than half of the rest of the world.

According to Credit Suisse’s past reports, becoming a millionaire might be more common over the coming decades.

In 2013, the bank published a report speculating that 20% of the world’s population could be millionaires within two generations. In other words, sometime before 2073 (as of the report’s writing) there could be a billion millionaires walking the Earth.

The rapid influx of new wealth could even create the first trillionaire within a couple decades, according to a recent Oxfam report. There were 793 billionaires worldwide in 2009. Added up, their net worths totaled $US2.4 trillion. By 2016, the richest 793 people maintained net worths of $US5 trillion — an annual growth of 11%.

“If these returns continue,” the report stated, “it is quite possible that we could see the world’s first trillionaire within 25 years.”

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