The world’s ultra-wealthy population grew to 226,450 individuals last year, and their combined wealth expanded to $27 trillion, according to a new report by Wealth-X, a global wealth information and insight business.
Over the next five years, the report forecast, the number of people with a net worth of $30 million or more will increase to 299,000, with an additional $8.7 trillion of newly created wealth.
The elite group, which comprises a mere 0.003% of the world’s population, grew by 3.5% in 2016, a partial rebound from the previous year’s 7.1% decline. Their aggregate wealth grew by a modest 1.5%.
This report used Wealth-X’s proprietary Wealth and Investable Assets Model, which produces statistically significant estimates for total private wealth and estimates the size of the population by level of wealth and investable assets for the world and each of the top 70 economies that account for 97% of world GDP.
Wealth-X said its proprietary database of more than 100,000 dossiers on ultra-high-net-worth individuals across the globe, as well as further dossiers on individuals lower down the wealth pyramid, allowed it to construct wealth distribution patterns using real, rather than implied, wealth distributions, making the model more reliable.
The Wealth-X report noted sharp regional fluctuations in dollar-denominated wealth creation. North America and Asia recorded the only significant rises in wealth in 2016, up 5.1% and 3.5%, respectively.
Total wealth in Europe edged down 2.4%, and plummeted 10.2% in Latin America and the Caribbean. Fortunes remained largely unchanged in the Middle East and declined by 4.7% in Africa.
Buoyed by a stronger dollar, rising equity markets and a robust tech sector, the U.S. consolidated its dominant status as the world’s leading ultra-high-net-worth country, the number of rich individuals increasing by 6.7% and their wealth by 6% from the year before.
Japan, China, Germany and the U.K. rounded out the top five countries, which accounted for nearly 57% of the global ultra-wealthy population and just shy of 55% of their wealth in 2016.
The New York metropolitan area bolstered its position as the world’s biggest ultra-high-net-worth city in 2016, with a 9% increase in that population over the previous year.
Hong Kong and Tokyo maintained their top-three city status, the former growing by 4.1% and the latter by 17.5%.
London remained the largest city in Europe, despite a 14.6% decline in its ultra-wealthy population, just ahead of Paris, whose population rose by 4.6%.