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The Margin: What recession? The number of millionaires will nearly double around the world by 2026


That’s rich. The number of global millionaires is set to nearly double by 2026, despite rising interest rates, looming recession fears and a recent plunge in net worth for some of the world’s wealthiest people.

As of 2021, there were 62.5 million millionaires in the world. But that number is expected to jump 40% and reach 87.5 million over the next five years, according to Credit Suisse Group AG’s Global Wealth Report 2022 released on Tuesday. And this would be driven by rapid gains expected in Asian countries, including China, Japan and Korea, as well as within European territories like the U.K. and France.

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In fact, China will add more millionaires than any other country between 2021 and 2026, according to the report. It will go from having 6.2 million to 12.2 million, while the U.S. is projected to go from 24.5 million to 27.7 million.

Still, as of 2021, the U.S. has the most people worth a million dollars by far, according to the Credit Suisse data. That’s nearly quadruple China, which has the second highest number. The U.S. is expected to gain 3.2 more millionaires between 2021 and 2026, but the percentage increase is much lower than what’s expected in other countries, because America already has so many people in the seven-figure club.

“Despite the inflation and Russia-Ukraine war setbacks, we believe that total global wealth will continue to grow,” the report said. “We expect household wealth in China to continue to catch up with the United States, advancing the equivalent of 14 U.S. years between 2021 and 2026.”

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The report also looked at people who qualify as “ultra-high-net-worth individuals” — like Amazon’s

Jeff Bezos and Facebook’s

Mark Zuckerberg, who have obtained a fortune north of $50 million in their lifetimes. The U.S. has 140,000 of these ultra-high-net-worth people, followed by China at 32,710 and Germany at 9,720. What’s more, the U.S. gained more of these ultra-high-net-worth individuals in the past year than any other country.

Here is a chart showing the total wealth ranges among millionaires in the world.

Total wealth ranges for global millionaires.

Source: James Davies, Rodrigo Lluberas and Anthony Shorrocks, Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2022

On the other end of the spectrum, there was some evidence to suggest that the wealth for the bottom 50%, at least for Americans, has seen a slight uptick recently too.

“Distribution financial accounts (DFA) in the United States suggest that the wealth share of the bottom 50% of households in the United States increased from 1.84% to 2.64%, mostly due to a rise in the value of real estate,” the report said.

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The report comes as U.S. stocks dropped on Tuesday as the Federal Reserve is to set to conduct its two-day interest-rate-setting meeting. As part of its plan to curb U.S. inflation, the Fed is expected to raise its benchmark interest rate by 0.75 percentage points.

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