How Many Millionaires Are There in the World? 26 Millionaire Statistics for 2021

ByG. Dautovic
October 01, 2021

Who wants to become a millionaire? The answer is - practically everybody. But, how many millionaires are there in the world already? The answers are a lot less clear on that one.

This is not at all surprising, as there are major discrepancies in how “millionaires” are categorized worldwide. Some studies count millionaires by individual net worth, while others take their households into account as well. Some only take investable assets into consideration, while other options include homes, art, and other valuables in the summary of a person’s wealth.

So, what do millionaire statistics say? Where will you have the highest chances of meeting a millionaire or becoming one? Let’s check it out.

Key Statistics About Millionaires – Editor’s Choice

  • There are 56.1 million millionaires worldwide at the moment. 
  • 88% of all millionaires are self-made, and 84% have a college degree.
  • The number of billionaires in 2021 reached a new, all-time high: 2,755 individuals.
  • One hundred billionaires live in Beijing, 99 in New York.
  • It takes the typical self-made millionaire at least 32 years to get rich.

How Many Millionaires Are There in the World? - General Estimates

The global number of millionaires reached 56.1 million in 2021.

(Credit Suisse)

There are currently 56.08 thousand adult millionaires in the world, with a total net worth of $191.6 trillion. They make for 1.1% of the population.

The top three countries that have the most millionaires are the US (39.1%), China (9.4%), and Japan (6.6%).

(Credit Suisse)

These three countries have the highest number of millionaires on a global scale. In fourth place, there is Germany (5.3%), and the UK shares fifth place with France, as they each house 4.4% of the world’s millionaires.

72.5% of all millionaires are self-made.

(Statista) 

Allegedly, only a small percentage of today’s millionaires inherited all their wealth - approximately 7.4%. Another 20.1% admitted the source of their wealth is a combination of inheritance and personal earnings, while the vast majority claim to have earned their wealth through income from work, real estate, investment, or by selling their business.

Brazil, India, and Russia had the biggest reduction in the number of millionaires in 2020.

(Credit Suisse)

These three countries lost the most millionaires in the world between 2019 and 2020. In addition, despite being second-best in terms of raw numbers, China has just one millionaire per 200 people, due to its high population density. The highest percentage of millionaires is in Switzerland (14.9%).

84% of millionaires have a college degree.

(Spectrem Group)

In terms of becoming a millionaire, having a college degree certainly pays off. However, pursuing further academic success doesn’t seem as prevalent: Only 30% of millionaires also have master’s degrees or PhDs.

Between 2020 and 2025, global wealth is projected to rise by 39%.

(Credit Suisse)

The percentage of millionaires in the world will also likely grow over the next five years, reaching 84 million people. Wealth per adult is also, in the same notion, projected to increase by 31%.

By 2025, the percentage of millionaires in China is expected to increase by 92.7%.

(Credit Suisse)

China is projected to have the highest growth in millionaire numbers in the next five years. Denmark is next in line for the highest projected growth, expected to rise by 82.4%. India is in third place in this category, with a projected rise of 81.8% by 2025.

The average age to make your first million is 50. It typically takes 32 years to get rich.

(Business Insider)

General wealth trends show that it took 38 years for more than 50% of millionaires to join this category. Only 4% of so-called self-made millionaires made this happen in less than 27 years. This means you can hardly expect to become a millionaire while you’re in your forties - 80% of millionaires didn’t become extremely wealthy before they turned 50.

5.2 million new millionaires appeared worldwide in 2020

(Credit Suisse)

The COVID-19 pandemic may have left millions of people jobless, but it made more millionaires, too. More than 1% of all adults worldwide became millionaires for the first time.

In 2019, 76% of all millionaires were married.

(Coldwell Banker Luxury)

While more than three-quarters of the top 1% are married, this ratio is lower for their younger subset. However, Millennials still fit the other markers of wealth pretty well: Just like most other millionaires, they typically have only one child, and the vast majority (80%) have single-family homes. Also, 93% of all millennial millionaires have an average net worth between $1 and $2.49 million, and they donate to charity more than millionaires of other ages.

The Number of Millionaires in the United States

Since most millionaires in the world currently call the US home, it might be interesting to look at what the stats say about American millionaires.

In 2019, 55% percent of American millionaires were men.

(The Quantum)

Against the boom of female-led businesses and similar initiatives, in 2019, the playing field wasn’t even. Still, it is a significant increase from 2014, when the men took about 87% percent of the millionaire space.

Only 11 out of the 56 richest women in America are self-made, according to millionaire statistics in 2020.

(Forbes)

The Forbes Billionaires List includes 56 women. However, most of their combined wealth of $452 billion is held by MacKenzie Scott and Alice Walton. Scott’s last name was Bezos prior to her divorce, whose settlement landed her on the list, and Walton is the heir to the Walmart fortune. The first ten all inherited their wealth from either their husband or family. Only two women on the Forbes list are women of color.

The average American feels that it takes $1.9 million to be considered wealthy in America.

(Schwab)

A thousand Americans gave their perspective on what it takes to be considered wealthy in 2021 in the US. They agreed that $624,000 is enough for comfortable living, $1.1 million is needed for financial happiness, and $1.9 million is needed to be considered wealthy. Unsurprisingly, these numbers are much smaller than the ones discovered in the same survey year before. In 2020, Americans said it takes $934,000 for comfort, and $1.75 million for financial happiness. The bar for “being wealthy” is also much lower in 2021 - in 2020, the desired amount was $2.6 million.

21.9 million individuals in the US were worth $1 million by the end of 2020.

(Credit Suisse)

Despite the global pandemic - or rather, because of it - the number of millionaires in the US grew. Currently, around 9% of adults in the US are millionaires. Therefore, if you live in the US, chances are you know at least one millionaire.

85% of US millionaires in 2020 were white.

(Forbes, Statista)

It is an unfortunate increase within a decade, as stats show that in 2013, 76% of millionaires were white/Caucasian. At the time, there were 8% Asian and Black millionaires, and Latino millionaires accounted for 7%.

How Many People Are Billionaires Globally?

Where there is the first million, there is often another, and if your luck keeps, you might even get to travel into space. But how common is that, really? Let’s check what the statistics say on the topic of billionaires.

In 2020, the world got eight new billionaires each week.

(Business Standard)

Despite the pandemic, in 2020, the list of the world’s billionaires expanded by eight spots each week. In 2020 alone, billionaires added the equivalent of Germany's GDP to their wealth.

The number of billionaires exploded in 2021 to reach a new all-time high of 2,755.

(Forbes)

Forbes’ 35th Annual World’s Billionaires List of 2021 includes a record-high number of the world’s wealthiest people: 2,755. Altogether, these people are worth a staggering $13.1 trillion, which is $8 trillion more than the collective wealth of the previous year’s billionaires. One hundred and six members of the list are under 40 years of age, and two-thirds are self-made.

10% of the world’s billionaires live in just four Chinese cities.

(Forbes)

Beijing is currently lead in terms of the number of billionaires that call it home, while New York is in second place. Hong Kong, Moscow, and Shenzhen are next on the list. China has the most cities housing those with the top 1% net worth - Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Hangzhou.

Elon Musk overpowered Jeff Bezos for the title of the richest man in the world in 2021.

(Forbes)

Elon Musk currently has a net worth of $203.4 billion, which is quite the jump from 2020. As late as December 2020, he was in third place with an estimated $141.4 billion. Jeff Bezos, formerly the richest man in the world, is now behind Musk with “just” $197.7 billion.

The billionaires’ fortune rose by 27% in 2020.

(BBC)

As mentioned, the number of billionaires in the world has risen to an all-time high of 2,755. Among the billionaires, the biggest winners were industrialists, as their wealth rose by 44% just in Q2 2020.

New York is a millionaire’s home, Beijing is home to 100 billionaires.

(Forbes)

New York has been dethroned as a city with the most billionaires in 2021 by Beijing. The Chinese capital is currently just a single billionaire stronger than the Big Apple. Country-wide, the US is still topping the list of countries with the most millionaires, and still has the most billionaires, too - 724. However, China is slowly but surely closing the gap with 698.

Retail generated 10.3% of the total wealth for 2020.

(Hurun)

Retail was followed by consumer goods (9.6%), and the third was media and entertainment (8.2%). Surprisingly, tech came fourth, with software and services generating 7.9% of all the world’s wealth for 2020. Still, the primary sources of wealth for 17.4% of billionaires were healthcare and real estate.

What about Ultra-High-Net-Worth Individuals?

For someone to be considered an ultra-high-net-worth individual (UHNWI), they typically need at least $30 million in investable assets to their name. While this is hardly set in stone, it can still be used as a guideline to help us figure out how many rich people there are in the world. Let’s see what the statistics say on this group.

North America overtook the Asia-Pacific region after five years as the region with the highest HNWI population and wealth title.

(World Wealth Report)

The Asia-Pacific region took the title of the most HNWI-dense area in 2015 and held it for five years. In 2020, however, North America took back the title. The key reason for this shift was the soaring prices of tech stock in 2020. Namely, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft accounted for 53% of S&P 500 total returns that year. The prices and returns further escalated in 2020, creating many millionaires worldwide.

The number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals grew by 24% worldwide. 

(BBC)

In 2020, the growth of UHNI reached its fastest rate since 2003. China was home to most of this rapid increase, as its billionaires grew their wealth most significantly: It rose by 1,146% between 2009 and 2020.

In Europe, the fashion and retail industries were the biggest wealth drivers in 2020.

(World Wealth Report)

As mentioned before, retail, technology, and finance drove the wealth increase in the US in 2020. In the Asia Pacific region, real estate and technology were the main industries factoring into millionaire statistics.

209 billionaires donated a significant portion of their wealth to fight the COVID-19 crisis.

(BBC)

In 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic, billionaires weren’t shy to donate to any efforts helping the fight against the virus. Between March and June 2020, billionaires donated $7.2 billion to causes providing aid to those affected by the pandemic.

Q&As
How much of the world's population are millionaires? +

Just over 1% of all adults worldwide are millionaires, which makes for about 56.1 million individuals. However, the exact number mostly depends on who is keeping score and maintaining the millionaire list. Some metrics base their ratings on investable assets only, while others include household value, and even art.

How many millionaires are there in the US? +

There are multiple agencies tracking how many millionaires there are in the US, but the latest estimates put that number around 21.9 million Americans.

What qualifies as a millionaire? +

For someone to become a millionaire, they need to have a net worth of at least $1 million. Net worth is considered to be all that a person owns, minus what they owe. If the remaining amount is at or over $1 million, that person will be qualified as a millionaire.

About author

I have always thought of myself as a writer, but I began my career as a data operator with a large fintech firm. This position proved invaluable for learning how banks and other financial institutions operate. Daily correspondence with banking experts gave me insight into the systems and policies that power the economy. When I got the chance to translate my experience into words, I gladly joined the smart, enthusiastic Fortunly team.

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