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Millionaires now control almost two-fifths of all the world's wealth

Just 0.9 per cent of the globe’s population are millionaires but they hold 39 per cent of the money – even more than a year ago, a new study reveals.

File photo of a bank clerk counting US dollars
File photo of a bank clerk counting US dollars
Image: Meng Zhongde/AP/Press Association Images

THE WORLD’S MILLIONAIRES now hold 39 per cent of total global wealth despite making up less than one per cent of the population, according to a new study.

The Boston Consulting Group reports that there were 12.5million “millionaire households” globally in 2010 – up 12 per cent on 2009 despite the downturn. It defines a millionaire as having US$1million or more in assets excluding property and company ownership.

Wealth is becoming more concentrated in the hands of these 12.5million – who represent 0.9 per cent of the Earth’s population – with the proportion they hold growing from 37 per cent the previous year.

However, more than half of this is held by an even smaller minority. Those households with $5million or more, who are just 0.1 per cent of the population, control 22 per cent of the total wealth, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The US has by far the most millionaire households with 5.2million, ahead of Japan, China, the UK and Germany. However, the highest proportion of millionaires are found in Singapore, where a staggering 15.5 per cent of households qualify.

The report adds that despite the ongoing financial slump in many countries, total global wealth actually rose in 2010. It grew to a record high of $121.8trillion, up eight per cent on the year before.

About the author:

Michael Freeman

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