The Shift of Wealth: U.S. Overtakes China in Millionaires and Billionaires

The Shift of Wealth: U.S. Overtakes China in Millionaires and Billionaires

The recent 2024 USA Wealth Report from Henley & Partners and New World Wealth has shown a significant shift in the distribution of millionaires and billionaires. It has been reported that the United States has rapidly surpassed China as the world’s top spot for high-net-worth individuals. The report indicates that there are now over 5.5 million Americans with liquid investible assets exceeding $1 million. This marks a 62% increase over the past decade, reflecting a growth rate well above the global average of 38%. Furthermore, in the last five years alone, the population of millionaires in the U.S. has expanded by 35%, almost double the rate of growth observed in China.

The U.S. now boasts a significant portion of the world’s millionaires, with 37% of the total population residing in the country. At the highest echelons of wealth, the divergence between the U.S. and China becomes even more pronounced. The U.S. is home to 9,850 centi-millionaires (individuals worth $100 million or more) compared to China’s 2,352. Moreover, the U.S. has approximately 788 billionaires, far surpassing China’s 305. According to the report, the U.S. remains the global leader in private wealth creation and accumulation.

The report attributes the U.S.’s dominance in wealth creation to various factors, including the strict Covid lockdowns in China and the increasing government intervention in the country’s private sector. Dominic Volek, the group head of private clients at Henley, stated that these elements have impeded wealth creation in China, thereby benefiting the U.S. This shift is further evidenced by the wealth migration patterns observed in recent years. In 2023, a record number of 13,500 Chinese millionaires left the country, while the U.S. experienced a net influx of 2,200 millionaires. The Henley report also projects a further increase to 3,500 millionaires entering the U.S. in 2024.

America’s leadership in wealth creation has not only impacted the distribution of millionaires and billionaires but has also spilled over into spending and investing. The U.S. leads the world in global art sales, accounting for 42% of sales by value. Additionally, the U.S. tops the charts in sales of the highest-priced art pieces. A report from UBS and Art Basel highlights America’s dominance in the luxury goods market as well, indicating that the U.S. outperforms China in luxury sales.

While China is expected to remain a major source of luxury and wealth growth in the future, the U.S. has solidified its position as the dominant market and source of growth for the high-net-worth economy. Analysts and economists predict that the wealth creation opportunities in the U.S. are unparalleled globally, positioning the country as a top destination for wealthy tech entrepreneurs and engineers from Asia, Europe, and the UK. As luxury sales in China lag behind pre-pandemic levels, the U.S. continues to thrive, with luxury sales reaching $80 billion compared to China’s $52 billion.

The shift of wealth from China to the U.S. marks a significant change in the global landscape of millionaires and billionaires. The U.S.’s leadership in private wealth creation, art sales, and luxury goods consumption highlights its growing influence on the high-net-worth economy. As the U.S. continues to attract affluent individuals from around the world, its position as a wealth hub is further solidified, promising continued growth and prosperity in the years to come.


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