The population of super-wealthy individuals, those with net worths of $100 million or more, has doubled in the last two decades due to surging asset prices across the globe, according to a recent report.
A fresh study by Henley & Partners, a wealth and migration advisory firm, utilizing data from New World Wealth, reveals that there are now 28,420 centi-millionaires worldwide. This marks a 12% increase from the previous year and more than twice the number in 2003.
The significant rise in centi-millionaires can be attributed to the rapid escalation in asset values, driven by low-interest rates. This has boosted the worth of assets such as real estate, land, stocks, private companies, and art. Furthermore, the growth of tech wealth, particularly in the United States, has also contributed to the expansion of this super-wealthy demographic. The number of billionaires worldwide has similarly surged, rising from less than 500 individuals in 2003 to over 2,600 today, according to Forbes and other wealth-tracking organizations.
The flood of money in the global economy following the 2008 financial crisis, driven by low-interest rates, has also effectively diminished the value of money. This, in turn, has fueled the increase in centi-millionaires concerning dollars.
Andrew Amoils, Head of Research at New World Wealth, noted, “The value of money has declined, so in dollar terms, you would expect more centi-millionaires. It has also been fueled by strong growth in the U.S. and Asia.”
Amoils emphasized that the majority of today’s centi-millionaires amassed their fortunes by either founding their companies or supporting startup ventures. The United States continues to be a hub for entrepreneurship and centi-millionaires, with 38% of the global population possessing $100 million or more, according to the report.
Top Countries with Centi-Millionaires:
- U.S.: 10,660
- China: 2,358
- Germany: 1,050
- India: 1,035
Top Cities with Centi-Millionaires:
- New York: 775
- San Francisco Bay Area: 692
- Los Angeles: 504
- London: 388
- Beijing: 365
As ultra-low interest rates are currently on the wane, the growth rate for centi-millionaires may decelerate. The report projects that the centi-millionaire population will increase by 38% over the next decade, growing from 28,420 individuals to approximately 39,000 by 2033.
Although the media tends to spotlight billionaires, the report underscores that centi-millionaires are a more accurate representation of the super-wealthy across the globe. The threshold for what defines someone as “super-wealthy” has significantly risen over time, with $100 million now considered the new benchmark.
Juerg Steffen, CEO of Henley & Partners, commented on this trend, saying, “Not long ago, in the late 1990s, $30 million was considered by most banks as the fortune that was needed to meet this status. However, asset prices have risen significantly since then, making $100 million the new benchmark.”
While many smaller and less-developed countries may have very few billionaires, they can boast dozens or even hundreds of centi-millionaires. Amoils pointed out that there’s often little discernible difference in lifestyle between someone with a net worth of $100 million and a billionaire, aside from perhaps their philanthropic activities.