Nearly a million joined millionaire club last year

Nearly a million joined millionaire club last year

Nearly a million joined millionaire club last year

AP Photo

The number of people worth $1 million or more rose by 920,000 last year, hitting a record 14.6 million. It was the sixth straight year-on-year increase as rising stock prices lifted the value of personal wealth in a few key countries, according to a report from consultant Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management.

The wealth held by millionaires globally also rose to a record $56 trillion, according to the report. 

The report said that while the vast majority of the millionaire population and wealth is relatively evenly distributed between North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific, the latter grew at the fastest rate and is now home to more millionaires than any other region.

While North America continues to rank first overall for millionaire wealth at $16.2 trillion versus the Asia-Pacific’s $15.8 trillion and Europe’s $13 trillion, the Asia-Pacific’s wealth growth is expected to continue. In fact, Asia-Pacific is expected to take top spot for millionaire wealth before the end of 2015.

From a country-level perspective, China and the United States drove more than half (52 percent) of global millionaire population growth. India led the world in growth for both millionaire population (26 percent) and wealth (28 percent) due to strong equity market performance and the reduced cost of its substantial oil imports. China followed, with population and wealth growth rates of 17 percent and 19 percent, respectively, driven by GDP growth, increased exports and moderate equity market performance.

The U.S. is home to 4.4 million millionaires, the most in the world. Japan ranks second with 2.5 million of them, followed by Germany, with 1.1 million. China, the world’s second-biggest economy, ranks fourth. It has 890,000 millionaires.

Looking ahead, global millionaire wealth is projected to grow by almost 8 percent annually from the end of 2014 through to 2017, to reach $70.5 trillion, led by the Asia-Pacific at an anticipated growth rate of 10.3 percent. In a shift from recent years, Europe is expected to act as a more prominent engine of millionaire wealth expansion at 8.4 percent annually, as a result of improved optimism for a more substantial recovery throughout the region, while the wealth of millionaires in North America is anticipated to grow by a more modest 7 percent.