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

The U.S. has rapidly taken over China as the top spot for millionaires and billionaires, according to a recent report. The report, known as the 2024 USA Wealth Report from Henley & Partners and New World Wealth, reveals that there are now more than 5.5 million Americans with liquid investible assets exceeding $1 million. This figure represents a 62% increase over the past decade, far surpassing the global growth rate of 38%.

In the past five years alone, the population of millionaires in the U.S. has grown by 35%, nearly double the rate of China’s millionaire growth. Currently, the U.S. is home to 37% of the world’s millionaires, up from 35% in 2018. The disparity between the U.S. and China becomes even more pronounced at the top of the wealth ladder. The U.S. boasts 9,850 centi-millionaires (individuals worth $100 million or more), in comparison to China’s 2,352. Additionally, the U.S. is home to approximately 788 billionaires, while China has 305 billionaires.

According to the report, the U.S. retains its position as the world’s leader in private wealth creation and accumulation. Dominic Volek, the group head of private clients at Henley, attributes the rapid growth of wealth in the U.S. to strict Covid lockdowns in China, paired with increased government intervention in the country’s private sector. These factors have significantly slowed the growth of wealth creation in China, subsequently benefiting the U.S. as a result.

The transition from China to the U.S. is not only evident in the growth of wealth but also in migration patterns. In 2023, a net 13,500 Chinese millionaires left China, setting a new record. Conversely, the U.S. experienced a net inflow of 2,200 millionaires in 2023, with a projected inflow of 3,500 millionaires in 2024. The report indicates that the U.S. continues to attract wealthy tech entrepreneurs and engineers, particularly from regions such as Asia, Europe, and the UK.

America’s Influence on Global Spending and Investing

America’s dominance in wealth creation is also reflected in global spending and investing. A report from UBS and Art Basel reveals that the U.S. leads in global art sales, accounting for 42% of sales by value. Furthermore, the U.S. is the top market for the sales of the highest-priced artworks. Analysts predict that by 2030, China will only make up 35% to 40% of global luxury goods consumption, a slight increase from current levels. Despite this, luxury spending in China remains approximately 40% below 2019 levels. In comparison, luxury sales in the U.S. totaled $80 billion last year, surpassing China’s $52 billion in luxury sales.

While economists acknowledge that China will continue to be a significant source of luxury and wealth growth, the U.S. has emerged as the dominant market and source of growth for the high-net-worth economy. According to Volek, the wealth creation opportunities in the U.S. are unparalleled on a global scale. Moving forward, it is clear that the U.S. remains at the forefront of wealth accumulation and investment, attracting high net-worth individuals from around the world.

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